Public Act 095-0576
SB0008 Enrolled LRB095 07336 DRJ 27477 b

    AN ACT concerning veterans.
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
Veterans' Home Nurses' Loan Repayment Act.
    Section 5. Nurse Loan Repayment Program. There is created,
beginning July 1, 2007, the Nurse Loan Repayment Program to be
administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission in
consultation with the Department of Veterans' Affairs. The
program shall provide assistance, subject to appropriation, to
eligible nurses.
    Section 10. Award; maximum time period; maximum amount.
Subject to appropriation, the Commission shall award a grant to
each applicant who qualifies under this Act. An individual may
receive a grant under this Act each year for up to 4 years. The
amount of this grant may not exceed $5,000 per recipient per
year. The Commission shall require the recipient of a grant
awarded under the program to use the grant award for payment of
the recipient's educational loan.
    Section 15. Application. All applications for grant
assistance under the program must be made to the Commission in
a form and manner prescribed by the Commission. Applicants
shall also submit any supporting documents deemed necessary by
the Commission at the time of application.
    Section 20. Eligibility.
    (a) The Commission shall, on an annual basis, receive and
consider applications for grant assistance under the program.
An applicant is eligible for a grant under the program if the
Commission finds that the applicant:
        (1) is a United States citizen or permanent resident;
        (2) is a resident of Illinois;
        (3) is working as a registered professional nurse or
    licensed practical nurse in a State veterans' home;
        (4) is a borrower with an outstanding balance due on an
    educational loan; and
        (5) has not defaulted on an educational loan.
    (b) Preference may be given to previous recipients of a
grant under the program, provided that the recipient continues
to meet the eligibility requirements set forth in this Section.
    (c) For each year during which an individual receives a
grant under this program, he or she must fulfill a separate
12-month period as a registered professional nurse or licensed
practical nurse in a State veterans' home.
    Section 900. The Department of Veterans Affairs Act is
amended by adding Sections 8 and 9 as follows:
    (20 ILCS 2805/8 new)
    Sec. 8. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Outpatient
Counseling Program. Subject to appropriations for that
purpose, the Department, in consultation with the Department of
Human Services, shall contract with professional counseling
specialists to provide a range of confidential counseling and
direct treatment services to war-affected Southwest Asia
combat veterans and their family members, and to provide
additional treatment services to Viet Nam War veterans for
post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly those Viet Nam
veterans whose post-traumatic stress disorder has intensified
or initially emerged due to the war in the Middle East. Any
such contracts entered into by the Department must be with
individuals and entities pre-approved by the U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs and must be for the provision of services
pre-approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In
consultation with the Department of Human Services, the
Department shall:
        (1) develop an educational program designed to inform
    and train primary health care professionals, including
    mental health professionals, about the effects of
    war-related stress and trauma;
        (2) provide informational and counseling services for
    the purpose of establishing and fostering peer-support
    networks throughout the State for families of deployed
    members of the reserves and the Illinois National Guard;
        (3) provide for veterans' families a referral network
    of mental health providers who are skilled in treating
    deployment stress, combat stress, and post-traumatic
    As used in this Section, "Southwest Asia combat veteran"
means an Illinois resident who is, or who was honorably
discharged as, a member of the Armed Forces of the United
States, a member of the Illinois National Guard, or a member of
any reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States
and who served on active duty in connection with Operation
Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, or Operation Iraqi
    (20 ILCS 2805/9 new)
    Sec. 9. Veterans Conservation Corps. Subject to
appropriations for that purpose, the Department shall create a
list of honorably discharged veterans, particularly those with
post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions, who are
interested in working on a volunteer basis on projects that
restore Illinois' natural habitat. The list is referred to as
the Veterans Conservation Corps. The Department shall promote
the opportunity to volunteer for the Veterans Conservation
Corps through its field offices and through cooperating
veterans organizations. Only veterans who grant their approval
may be included on the list. The Department shall consult with
the Department of Natural Resources to determine the most
effective way to market the Veterans Conservation Corps to
State agencies and local governmental or not-for-profit
sponsors of habitat restoration projects.
    Section 999. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.