Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB2657
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Full Text of HB2657  100th General Assembly




State of Illinois
2017 and 2018


Introduced , by Rep. Stephanie A. Kifowit


20 ILCS 2805/2h new

    Amends the Department of Veterans Affairs Act. Contains provisions concerning the establishment of various programs and services for the benefit of veterans including a proactive outreach program for veterans that served in high casualty units, in units that experienced high conflict areas, and in units where at least one service member committed suicide following his or her service; a public awareness campaign concerning the trauma and internal injuries suffered by veterans; and a licensing program for therapy dogs for veterans. Requires the Department of Veterans' Affairs to adopt any rules necessary to implement these provisions.

LRB100 08182 MJP 18278 b






HB2657LRB100 08182 MJP 18278 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 30, 2016. The Department shall adopt any
11rules necessary to implement this Section.
12        (1) The Department shall reach out to the United States
13    Department of Defense in order to identify veterans
14    returning from service in heavy casualty units, units that
15    experienced high conflict areas, or units where at least
16    one service member committed suicide following his or her
17    service. The Department shall establish a proactive
18    outreach program for veterans that served in high casualty
19    units, in units that experienced high conflict areas, and
20    in units where at least one service member committed
21    suicide following his or her service.
22        (2) The Department or the Department in collaboration
23    with not-for-profit organizations shall engage in a public



HB2657- 2 -LRB100 08182 MJP 18278 b

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 develop a licensing program
13    for therapy dogs, with a possible extension to other
14    therapy animals, for veterans. The Department shall
15    develop standards for the training and identification of
16    therapy dogs for veterans. The designation of therapy dog
17    under this paragraph shall not qualify the dog to be a
18    service animal as provided under any other Act in this
19    State.