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May 21, 2024

Gov. Pritzker Signs Bill Amending Military Veterans Assistance Act –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On February 12, 2023

Springfield, IL. (ECWd) –

Governor Pritzker has signed HB2369, or Public Act 102-1132, which amends the Military Veterans Assistance Act (“MVAA”). It became effective upon the Governor’s signature.

This Legislative action would never have happened without the outstanding work of the members and employees of the Will County Veterans Assistance Commission, of our investigative reporting and bringing certain issues to light, and of the persistence of the Illinois Attorney General’s Veterans Rights Bureau.

This Bill, sponsored by Senator Wilcox and Representative Kifowit among others, amends the MVAA with much-needed changes and clarifies some of which was already law.

From among Public Act:

  • Defines a Veteran Service Organization (“VSO”) as one that is a congressionally or state chartered (Illinois currently has no state-chartered VSOs) organization “that is formed by and for veterans, AND has a paid membership of at least 15 individuals, AND provides responsible aid, assistance, or services to the veteran community.
  • Delegates and Alternates must be submitted by March 1 of each year
  • Delegates and Alternates have full voting rights
  • BINDS the Delegates and Alternates to the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act
  • Weighted representation for Veteran Service Organizations who wish to combine representation
  • ALL undertakings or actions shall require a vote from the majority of the full commission membership
  • NO committee or subgroup of the commission may be granted any power or authority to act in place of the full commission membership
  • NO superintendent or employee of the commission may be a delegate or alternate, nor shall they have any voting rights
  • NO committee or subgroup of the commission may bar any delegate or alternate from attending or otherwise being present during any closed meetings or sessions of that committee or subgroup
  • The county may appoint a representative to the commission, who shall be a veteran, who shall have no voting rights, nor the right to attend certain closed sessions
  • SUPERINTENDENT is an at-will employee and shall be answerable to, and report to, the full commission
  • SUPERINTENDENT shall have an annual evaluation
  • SUPERINTENDENT may be removed from office by majority of a vote of the full commission, and on written request and motion of at least three delegates or alternates from three different VSOs
  • EACH Commission shall establish by-laws which conform to state law
  • EACH Commission shall adopt all of their respective county’s applicable policies already established and in place in its respective county, including but not limited to employment, purchasing, ethics, budget, etc
  • NO warrant may be paid without approval of superintendent nor until it is reported to the full Commission membership
  • ANNUAL audit required
  • Attorney General granted powers to investigate and prosecute violations of the MVAA, including through civil action
  • Increases funding and county’s responsibilities to the Commission and its employees
  • Employees are at-will employees of the Commission
  • Restricts Home Rule powers

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5 Comments
  • Jannie
    Posted at 11:11h, 12 February

    thank you for providing this info. Very interesting.

  • Cindy
    Posted at 15:59h, 12 February

    Does this mean that anyone that has applied for benefits through the VSO recently will not ever hear back from them?

    • John Kraft & Kirk Allen
      Posted at 20:11h, 12 February

      this has nothing to do with that, it only concerns how a county veterans assistance commission operates.

  • Steve verr
    Posted at 10:13h, 15 February

    What was this supposed to remedy?

    • John Kraft & Kirk Allen
      Posted at 11:50h, 15 February

      All the issues uncovered in our investigation of the Will County Veterans Assistance Commission, which included a $500,000 no-bid contract, all paid in full up-front, to a newly formed company who did not complete the work (according to the legal investigation) – 9 out of 10 executive board members ineligible to hold the office, conflict of interest with a board member also being on the county board, small group of members unlawfully granting themselves powers only granted to the entire commission, and many more…

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