SPRINGFIELD – August 14, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to protect the funerals of those who have given their lives for our country. The new law expands Illinois’ Let Them Rest in Peace law to prohibit protests within 300 feet of a funeral site and ensure that no protest can take place within 30 minutes before and after a funeral or memorial service.
“Every family has a fundamental right to conduct a funeral with reverence and dignity,” said Governor Quinn. “This law ensures that the families of those who have given their lives for our country can grieve without harassment. It is our duty to honor their sacrifice by ensuring they are remembered with the respect and solemnity.”
House Bill 180, sponsored by Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi (D-Joliet) and Rep. Kay Hatcher (R-Yorkville), strengthens an existing law spearheaded by then-Lt. Governor Quinn in 2006 that prohibits protests within 30 minutes of a service and within 200 feet of a funeral site. The Governor signed the new law at Veterans’ Day at the Illinois State Fair and was joined by Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Acting Director Erica Borggren, Assistant Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard Major General Dennis L. Celletti.
Throughout his career, Governor Quinn has served as a strong advocate for Illinois’ Veterans and servicemembers. As state treasurer, he launched "Operation Home Front" during the Gulf War to inform National Guard members and reservists about their rights under the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act. As Lt. Governor, he championed the 2003 creation of the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund, which provides financial assistance to the families of Illinois National Guard members and reservists called to active duty.
As Governor, he has signed legislation to extend and increase tax credits for businesses that hire Veterans. Recently he signed legislation to ensure Veteran-owned businesses are able to compete for state contracts. The Governor has also led passage of and signed legislation to help the children of military families to easily transfer school credit following relocation. Children and grandparents of servicemembers are also now eligible for Family Military Leave.
Governor Quinn also created the Task Force on Veterans’ Jobs to help Veterans apply their military training to state professional licensure requirements. Colleges are now required to post all benefits available to Illinois Veterans and assign a staff member to serve as the point of contact for student-Veterans who need information and assistance. The Governor also laid the framework for construction of a new Veterans’ home in Chicago and established an Assistant Director for Women Veterans’ Affairs at IDVA, to create a new focus on the needs of Illinois women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
For more information about these and other programs for our Veterans, visit OperationHomefront.org or call the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs at 217-782-6641 or 312-814-2460.