american flagVILLA PARK- Laws to better serve Illinois veterans will go into effect at the start of the New Year, thanks to Villa Park Democrat, Senator Tom Cullerton.

Cullerton passed a series of new laws to guarantee DuPage County veterans have better access to resources and services they qualify for.

“Our nation’s heroes have served our great country with honor, respect and made countless sacrifices to protect our freedoms,” Cullerton said. “These new laws are a small token of appreciation for all they do to keep us safe.”

Cullerton served as an infantryman in the Army from 1990 to 1993. He continues to use his military experience to champion common-sense legislation to help military veterans, personnel and their families.

This year, he passed Senate Bill 866, which will require the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to provide information and education on service animals to veterans.

“The DVA should serve as a one-stop shop for our veterans,” Cullerton said. “We haven’t been able to explore the effects of using service dogs as alternative treatments since there is a lack of awareness in the veterans’ community. Service dogs may be the missing link to stop save veterans lives across our nation.”

The Federal Department of Veterans Affairs and Army state that 10-18 percent of returning veterans are likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after they return. Some studies suggest that suicide risk is higher among those who experienced trauma due to the symptoms of PTSD.

To alleviate fees for active-duty military members deployed or relocated for military service, Cullerton advocated for a new law to allow service members to terminate or suspend contracts for internet services, television and cable services, athletic club or gym memberships and satellite radio services.

“Illinois’ heroes should not be penalized for serving our country,” Cullerton said. “This new law will help ease the stress of deployment and relocation by eliminating red tape and unnecessary costs associated with canceling and suspending cable, internet and phone contracts.”

Here is a list of laws to assist Illinois Veterans that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018:

HB 374: Allows veterans with specialty veterans’ plates to replace them with another type of plate without paying the fee.
HB 2449: Allows service members to terminate or suspend certain service contracts when they are relocated or are deployed.
HB 2595: Creates the US Coast Guard license plate.
HB 2897: Allows the Helping Paws Service Dog Program to also train service dogs for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression.
HB 3017: Establishes that, in addition to the Department of Veterans' Affairs, any other State or federal entity, agency, or person can notify the Governor of the death by hostile fire of an Illinois resident member of the United States Armed Forces.
HB 3701: Creates a system to award higher education credit to Illinois veterans to ensure they receive college credit for the on-the-job skills they acquired during their military service. 
SB 838: Requires the Department of Public Health to promote awareness and programs for cancer screening of veterans.
SB 866: Requires the Department of Veteran Affairs to provide returning veterans with informational resources on how to acquire service animals to help combat PTSD.
SB 1693: Adds veterans’ designation to death certificates to honor Illinois' veterans.

Cullerton urges DuPage County Veterans with questions or concerns to please call his Villa Park Office at (630) 903-6662.

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Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

Springfield Office
122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463