In honor of Veterans Day at the Illinois State Fair, Governor Pat Quinn today signed several new laws to support our service members across Illinois. The laws today are designed to address the unique needs of women veterans; increase opportunities for veteran-owned businesses; and protect military memorials. These actions are part of Governor Quinn's agenda to honor, protect and support the men and women who have served our nation.
"Our men and women in uniform deserve our gratitude, and these new laws are a way of saying thanks," Governor Quinn said. "Memorials to our heroes should be treated with dignity and honor, and Illinois must be a state that supports our women veterans and veteran business owners. These laws will strengthen our mission of making Illinois the best state in the nation for our veterans."
"It is very fitting that these bills become the law of the land on Veterans Day at our State Fair," Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Erica Borggren said. "We appreciate Governor Quinn's leadership on veteran issues and his support for this community of proven public servants. These bills will help our women veterans and will assist veteran entrepreneurs to access more business opportunities."
The new laws signed today by Governor Quinn include:
House Bill 3346, sponsored by State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) and State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), requires the Illinois Discharged Service Member Task Force to evaluate the needs of women veterans and, as part of its fiscal year 2014 report, make recommendations regarding how to meet those needs. The law goes into effect immediately.
House Bill 2408, sponsored by State Representative Jerry Costello II (D-Belleville) and State Senator Michael Hastings (D-Matteson), allows small businesses owned by veterans and service-disabled veterans to also register as minority, disabled and women owned businesses when applicable. This gives these businesses more opportunity to do business with the state of Illinois. The law goes into effect immediately.
Senate Bill 1824, sponsored by State Senator John M. Sullivan (D-Rushville) and State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), requires those who build veteran memorials on public property to raise enough funds to cover the maintenance and preservation of the memorial as well as its construction. The law goes into effect immediately.
Senate Bill 2231, sponsored by State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and State Senator Natalie Manley (D-Joliet), increases penalties for criminal damage and defacement of veteran and military memorials. The law goes into effect January 1, 2014.
House Bill 3112, sponsored by State Representative Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan) and State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan), allows the Learn Charter School in North Chicago to set aside 33 percent of its lottery seats for children of military personnel stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Station. This will help the Navy recruit more instructors for the base by offering enhanced educational opportunities for their children. The law goes into effect immediately.