Illinois has three new laws designed to help veterans. One is a convenience: It allows veterans to put their status on their driver’s license, so they won’t have to show their discharge papers when applying for any state benefit that veterans get, such as education assistance, job placement or health care. This measure was sponsored by State Sen. Pam Althoff (R-Crystal Lake) and State Rep. Mike Forntern (R-West Chicago). The secretary of state offices will start doing this on Jan. 1, 2015.
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Another new law will make unemployed veterans and National Guard members under 25 are eligible for year-round employment in the Illinois Conservation Corps, working at state parks and local park districts. This law, sponsored by State Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood) and State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton), takes effect immediately. The third law makes job training organizations eligible for grants from the Veterans Cash lottery ticket proceeds. This measure, sponsored by State Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville) and State Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills), is designed to address unemployment among veterans. It takes effect immediately. “These are three bills that come from the heart of the people of Illinois. They passed by overwhelming majorities in the General Assembly, and as governor, it’s an honor to sign any law, but these are very, very important laws for our veterans and our service members,” said Gov. Pat Quinn, who signed the bills into law at a ceremony in Des Plaines.