VILLA PARK – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to ensure that veterans with disabilities can utilize accessible parking spaces across Illinois without facing unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles. The Governor was joined at today’s bill signing by Congresswoman and former Assistant Director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). Congresswoman Duckworth is a decorated Iraq War veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart for serious injuries sustained during combat. Today's action is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to honor and support the men and women who have served our nation.
“Our veterans with disabilities shouldn’t have to deal with unnecessary barriers to keep their parking privileges each year,” Governor Quinn said. “This law will help make daily life a little easier for those who have fought hard to protect our country. Illinois is the most veteran-friendly state in the nation and this new law will ensure we are doing everything we can for our brave men and women who have borne the battle.”
“I am proud that Illinois is the first state to pass legislation that will make it easier for veterans with permanent disabilities to renew their accessible parking placard each year,” U.S. Representative Duckworth said. “This bill is a great way to honor our returning veterans and all who have served.”
“All of us in the veteran community are grateful for Governor Quinn’s leadership in ensuring those who serve our country, and especially those whose service required great sacrifice, have all the support they need back here in Illinois,” Acting Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Rodrigo Garcia said.
Senate Bill 3255, sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) and State Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Aurora), exempts veterans with a permanent disability from the annual recertification requirement to retain their handicapped parking designation. Once a doctor has determined a veteran to have a permanent disability, the new law allows veterans to renew their placard or special license plate without submitting a doctor’s determination each year. The law is effective Jan. 1, 2015.
“It was a pleasure to work with my colleagues on behalf of our veterans who have given life and limb to pass Senate Bill 3255 and remove unnecessary roadblocks to the services they absolutely deserve,” Senator Cullerton said.
“I am honored to have passed Senate Bill 3255 which helps our veterans by alleviating an unnecessary burden to receiving services and shows our respect for the sacrifices they have made for our country,” Representative Kifowit said.
Governor Quinn has long been a leading advocate and supporter of Illinois veterans. His efforts include signing a law to create the Veterans Cash lottery ticket to be sold year round with 100 percent of proceeds supporting Illinois Veterans. In 2011, Governor Quinn launched the Welcome Home Heroes program to support Illinois servicemembers seeking homeownership. Since that time more than 1,500 Illinois veterans, active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members have accessed more than $170 million to buy their homes.
The Governor also championed the Military Family Relief Fund, which has provided more than $15.4 million in support of 28,840 families of deployed servicemembers since its inception in 2003. Governor Quinn also signed a law to make employment and job training organizations eligible to receive grants through the Veterans Assistance Fund.
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