- Busy weeks ahead
- Legislation for veteran death benefits passes
- Fire Protection District bills pass
- House honors Knox County Deputy Weist
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Four busy weeks of spring session remaining
The Illinois House came back into session this week after a two week recess for Easter. Both the House and Senate are scheduled to adjourn on May 19, leaving us with four weeks to complete our work. In that time we will need to pass a balanced budget and address the many other important issues facing the state.
Swanson legislation for veteran death benefits passes House
Legislation I sponsored to ensure that survivors of Illinois veterans receive the full benefits they deserve passed the House in March.
The idea for this legislation was presented to me by the family of a deceased veteran who was denied certain death benefits just because his death certificate did not include the full range of information about the conditions which led to his death. We need to change the way we record this information so that this does not happen again.
House Bill 2856 would add a “Yes, Likely or Unknown” requirement to veterans’ death certificates to clarify if a military service-related injury contributed to the cause of death.
This change would better reflect service-connected illnesses and injuries potentially caused by such factors as exposure to radiation or chemicals like Agent Orange. With this more accurate information, families of deceased veterans would be better able to claim benefits to which they are entitled under existing law.
A grieving family member of a veteran should not have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to get a death certificate changed in order to receive the benefits they deserve. This legislation spares them that additional trauma.
The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
Fire protection district legislation passes
Two bills I sponsored to help local fire protection districts passed the House this spring.
The first, House Bill 1625, would expand the types of appraisers who can determine the value of surplus real estate before it can be sold by fire protection districts. The change would bring the requirements on fire protection districts in line with those for park districts, road districts and municipalities and would save the fire protection districts both time and money.
Another bill, House Bill 1626, would raise the threshold for competitive bidding for fire protection district contracts from $20,000 to $30,000, the same as for townships and counties. The change would have the added benefit of helping the districts keep up with inflation.
These bills will help our local fire protection districts save money, run more efficiently and have more resources to focus on their primary mission of keeping our residents safe. I was glad to see the House pass both of these bills with large bipartisan majorities.
Both bills now move on to the Senate for further consideration.
House adopts resolution honoring Knox County Deputy Nick Weist
The House has adopted a resolution to designate a section of U.S. Route 150 from Galesburg to Alpha as the “Deputy Sheriff Nick Weist Memorial Highway.”
Knox County Deputy Weist gave his life on April 29, 2022, when he was struck by a vehicle driven by a fleeing suspect. Deputy Weist’s heroism and sacrifice likely saved the lives of children at the nearby AlWood Elementary School who were crossing the highway at the same time as the pursuit.
The resolution must now be approved by the Illinois Senate.