Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB2647
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Full Text of HB2647  100th General Assembly




HB2647 EnrolledLRB100 08180 MJP 18276 b

1    AN ACT concerning State government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Department of Veterans Affairs Act is
5amended by adding Section 2h as follows:
6    (20 ILCS 2805/2h new)
7    Sec. 2h. Task Force on Veterans' Suicide recommendations.
8The provisions of this Section are based on the recommendations
9in the final report of the Task Force on Veterans' Suicide,
10published on December 1, 2016. The Department shall adopt any
11rules necessary to implement this Section. The Department shall
12seek available federal funding, grants, or private funding to
13help fund the requirements of this Section; or the Department
14shall collaborate with other departments, existing veterans'
15organizations, nonprofit organizations, or private
16organizations to implement the requirements of this Section.
17        (1) The Department shall reach out and coordinate with
18    the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs in order
19    to identify veterans returning from service in combat
20    units. The Department shall establish a proactive outreach
21    program for veterans that served in combat units.
22        (2) The Department or the Department in collaboration
23    with not-for-profit organizations shall engage in a public



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1    awareness campaign concerning the trauma and internal
2    injuries suffered by veterans in order to promote
3    understanding and acceptance from the general public. The
4    public awareness campaign shall work to dispel the myths
5    associated with grieving, suicide, and mental health
6    healing. The Department shall evaluate existing programs,
7    including, but not limited to, the Suicide Prevention
8    Alliance under the Suicide Prevention, Education, and
9    Treatment Act, and coordinate messaging using messaging
10    guidelines that existing programs have found to be
11    successful.
12        (3) The Department shall provide training to frontline
13    employees at veterans service organizations established
14    under this Act on mental health services to identify
15    veterans who might be at risk of suicidal thoughts. This
16    training may include, but not be limited to, mental health
17    first aid training and amplified suicide advanced training
18    programs. The Department shall provide assistance to
19    Veterans Assistance Commissions established under Section
20    9 of the Military Veterans Assistance Act and veterans'
21    service associations, including, but not limited to, the
22    American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and AMVETS, in
23    providing the training under this paragraph to the
24    employees of the Veterans Assistance Commissions and
25    veterans' service associations that seek participation in
26    the Department's training events.



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1        The Department shall have priority for hiring combat
2    veterans to serve as veteran service officers at veterans
3    service organizations established under this Act for the
4    purpose of having veteran services officers who are able to
5    properly relate to fellow combat veterans.
6        (4) The Department shall collaborate with institutions
7    of higher education to address environmental factors that
8    could negatively impact a veteran's ability to learn in a
9    traditional classroom setting. The Department, in
10    coordination with institutions of higher education, shall
11    provide proactive outreach as part of an educational
12    success program for veterans experiencing difficulties in
13    higher education.
14        (5) The Department shall coordinate with existing
15    veterans' associations and military organizations to
16    provide a family preparation course concerning the
17    emotional cycle of deployment that is designed to help a
18    family unit adjust to changes in discharged and returning
19    veterans and inform the family members of where to go to
20    seek assistance. This course shall be made available to the
21    family of a veteran prior to the discharge and homecoming
22    of the veteran.
23        (6) The Department shall reach out to the United States
24    Department of Veterans' Affairs to obtain information on
25    returning veterans and develop a transition program for
26    returning veterans that reside in the State including



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1    information on local organizations that provide resources
2    or services for veterans that a veteran can access.
3        (7) The Department shall collaborate with non-profits,
4    businesses, and employers in the State that focus on the
5    needs of employees who are veterans seeking employment and
6    that support employees who are veterans.
7        (8) The Department, in collaboration with veterans'
8    organizations in the State, shall coordinate with the
9    United States Department of Veterans' Affairs to promote
10    their peer specialist program and collaborate with outside
11    programs to establish a peer-to-peer program.