Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB3865
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Full Text of HB3865  102nd General Assembly

HB3865 102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  

 


 
102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2021 and 2022
HB3865

 

Introduced 2/22/2021, by Rep. Mark L. Walker

 

SYNOPSIS AS INTRODUCED:
 
20 ILCS 2805/2  from Ch. 126 1/2, par. 67
20 ILCS 2805/39 new

    Amends the Department of Veterans' Affairs Act. Provides that a person or company advertising veterans' benefits appeal services must conspicuously disclose in the advertisement that such services are also offered at no cost by county veterans service officers. Provides that a person who provides veterans' benefits services in exchange for compensation shall (i) provide a written disclosure statement to each client or prospective client and (ii) obtain the client's signature on a written disclosure statement containing an attestation by the client that the client has read and understands the written disclosure statement. Directs the Department of Veterans' Affairs to investigate alleged violations and to submit the results of any investigation to the Office of the Attorney General if the Department concludes that a violation has occurred. Provides that if, upon review, the Attorney General decides to file a complaint, the Attorney General must do so within 90 days of receiving the results of the Department's investigation. Imposes a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each violation of the amendatory Act.


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FISCAL NOTE ACT MAY APPLY

 

 

A BILL FOR

 

HB3865LRB102 17007 KTG 22429 b

1    AN ACT concerning veterans.
 
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 changing Section 2 and by adding Section 39 as
6follows:
 
7    (20 ILCS 2805/2)  (from Ch. 126 1/2, par. 67)
8    Sec. 2. Powers and duties. The Department shall have the
9following powers and duties:
10    To perform such acts at the request of any veteran, or his
11or her spouse, surviving spouse or dependents as shall be
12reasonably necessary or reasonably incident to obtaining or
13endeavoring to obtain for the requester any advantage, benefit
14or emolument accruing or due to such person under any law of
15the United States, the State of Illinois or any other state or
16governmental agency by reason of the service of such veteran,
17and in pursuance thereof shall:
18        (1) Contact veterans, their survivors and dependents
19    and advise them of the benefits of state and federal laws
20    and assist them in obtaining such benefits;
21        (2) Establish field offices and direct the activities
22    of the personnel assigned to such offices;
23        (3) Create and maintain a volunteer field force; the

 

 

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1    volunteer field force may include representatives from the
2    following without limitation: educational institutions,
3    labor organizations, veterans organizations, employers,
4    churches, and farm organizations; the volunteer field
5    force may not process federal veterans assistance claims;
6        (4) Conduct informational and training services;
7        (5) Conduct educational programs through newspapers,
8    periodicals, social media, television, and radio for the
9    specific purpose of disseminating information affecting
10    veterans and their dependents;
11        (6) Coordinate the services and activities of all
12    state departments having services and resources affecting
13    veterans and their dependents;
14        (7) Encourage and assist in the coordination of
15    agencies within counties giving service to veterans and
16    their dependents;
17        (8) Cooperate with veterans organizations and other
18    governmental agencies;
19        (9) Make, alter, amend and promulgate reasonable rules
20    and procedures for the administration of this Act;
21        (10) Make and publish annual reports to the Governor
22    regarding the administration and general operation of the
23    Department;
24        (11) (Blank);
25        (12) (Blank); and
26        (13) Provide informational resources and education to

 

 

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1    veterans returning from deployment regarding service
2    animals for individuals with disabilities, including, but
3    not limited to, resources and education on service animals
4    that guide people who are blind, pull a wheelchair, alert
5    a person with hearing loss, protect a person having a
6    seizure, assist a person with a traumatic brain injury,
7    and calm a person with post-traumatic stress disorder
8    during an anxiety attack or psychiatric episode; and .
9        (14) Conduct investigations as provided in subsection
10    (d) of Section 39.
11    The Department may accept and hold on behalf of the State,
12if for the public interest, a grant, gift, devise or bequest of
13money or property to the Department made for the general
14benefit of Illinois veterans, including the conduct of
15informational and training services by the Department and
16other authorized purposes of the Department. The Department
17shall cause each grant, gift, devise or bequest to be kept as a
18distinct fund and shall invest such funds in the manner
19provided by the Public Funds Investment Act, as now or
20hereafter amended, and shall make such reports as may be
21required by the Comptroller concerning what funds are so held
22and the manner in which such funds are invested. The
23Department may make grants from these funds for the general
24benefit of Illinois veterans. Grants from these funds, except
25for the funds established under Sections 2.01a and 2.03, shall
26be subject to appropriation.

 

 

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1    The Department has the power to make grants, from funds
2appropriated from the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund,
3for benefits authorized under the Survivors Compensation Act.
4(Source: P.A. 99-314, eff. 8-7-15; 99-576, eff. 7-15-16;
5100-84, eff. 1-1-18.)
 
6    (20 ILCS 2805/39 new)
7    Sec. 39. Private veterans benefits services disclosure.
8    (a) As used in this Section:
9    "Advertising" or "advertisement" means:
10        (i) any written or printed communication made for the
11    purpose of soliciting business for veterans' benefits
12    appeal services, including, but not limited to, a
13    brochure, letter, pamphlet, newspaper, telephone listing,
14    periodical, or other writing;
15        (ii) any directory listing caused or permitted by a
16    person or company and made available by that person or
17    company indicating that veterans' benefits appeal services
18    are being offered; or
19        (iii) any radio, television, computer network, or
20    similar airwave or electronic transmission that solicits
21    business for or promotes a person offering veterans'
22    benefits appeal services.
23    "Advertising" or "advertisement" does not include:
24        (A) any printing or writing used on buildings,
25    uniforms, or badges, where the purpose of the writing is

 

 

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1    for identification; or
2        (B) any printing or writing in a memorandum or other
3    communication used in the ordinary course of business,
4    where the sole purpose of the writing is other than
5    soliciting business for veterans' benefits appeal
6    services.
7    "Veterans' benefits appeal services" means services that a
8veteran might reasonably require in order to appeal a denial
9of federal or State veterans' benefits, including, but not
10limited to, denials of disability, limited income, home loans,
11insurance, education and training, burial and memorial, and
12dependent and survivor benefits.
13    "Veterans' benefits services" means services that a
14veteran or a family member of a veteran might reasonably use in
15order to obtain federal, State, or county veterans benefits.
16    "Written disclosure statement" means the written
17disclosure statement developed by the Illinois Department of
18Veterans' Affairs.
19    (b) A person or entity advertising veterans' benefits
20appeal services in exchange for compensation must
21conspicuously disclose in the advertisement, in similar type
22size or voice-over, that veterans' benefits appeal services
23are also offered at no cost by county veterans service
24officers and the Department.
25    (c) A person or entity that provides veterans' benefits
26services in exchange for compensation shall provide a written

 

 

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1disclosure statement to each client or prospective client.
2Before a person or entity enters into an agreement to provide
3veterans' benefits services or accepts money or any other
4thing of value for the provision of such services, the person
5or entity shall obtain the signature of the client on a written
6disclosure statement containing an attestation by the client
7that the client has read and understands the written
8disclosure statement.
9    (d) Within 60 days of knowledge of a possible violation of
10this Section, the Department, in its discretion, may
11investigate possible violations of this Section through its
12Field Services Division. The investigation shall be finalized
13within 90 days of the start of the investigation. The
14Department may extend the investigation for another 30 days if
15good cause exists that prevents the completion of the
16investigation within the 90-day time period. If, after an
17investigation the Department concludes that a violation more
18than likely occurred, the Department shall submit the results
19of its investigation to the Office of the Attorney General.
20If, upon review, the Attorney General decides to file a
21complaint, the Attorney General must do so within 90 days of
22receiving the results of the Department's investigation.
23    (e) A person or entity that fails to comply with this
24Section is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for
25each violation. Civil penalties shall be assessed by the
26circuit court in an action initiated by the Attorney General.

 

 

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1For the purposes of calculating the amount of each civil
2penalty, each day of a continuing violation constitutes a
3separate violation. The calculation of each civil penalty
4shall begin from the date upon which the Attorney General
5files the complaint and shall be imposed by the circuit court
6after a finding that a violation or violations occurred by a
7preponderance of the evidence. The Attorney General may settle
8violations of this Section within the penalty limits specified
9if an investigation substantiates a violation or violations by
10a preponderance of the evidence. Any civil penalty recovered
11shall be used, subject to appropriation, for the Department's
12operating expenses.
13    (f) This Section does not apply to the owner or personnel
14of any medium in which an advertisement appears or through
15which an advertisement is disseminated.