Senate Advances Legislation Ahead of Deadline
Friday, March 30, 2012
Hundreds of bills were approved by Senate lawmakers this week, as Friday marked the deadline for most Senate measures to be sent to the Illinois House. When the Senate returns, they will concentrate on proposals that originated in the House, while the House focuses on the measures the Senate sent to them.
Among the bills that advanced to the house was Senate Bill 2822, sponsored by Senator LaHood. This legislation allowed the Illinois Department of Transportation to sell parcels of land in certain counties. The profits from the sale of these parcels of land are deposited into the road fund and used to make improvements to Illinois’ transportation infrastructure.
Several bipartisan measures seeking to help Illinois veterans were among the bills approved in the Senate. Illinois veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will have greater access and ability to utilize service dogs in public places as part of Senate Bill 3687, which enables service men and women living with PTSD to take their service dog into all public places and buildings designated by the state.
On a related note, following a recommendation by the Illinois Discharged Service Members Task Force, under Senate Bill 2837citizens who have served in the military could request that a “Veteran” designation be placed on their state-issued ID cards. The measure would allow the “Veteran” designation to be placed on drivers’ licenses, state ID cards, and disabled ID cards, as is allowed in 14 other states. This will help veterans, who often qualify discounts and other benefits upon providing proof of their service.
And in an effort to reduce the high rate of unemployment among returning service men and women, Senate Bill 3241 would offer Illinois employers a tax incentive for hiring a qualified unemployed veteran.
In order to encourage employers to hire members of the Armed Forces, Senate Bill 3241 will offer a tax credit of up to $5000 to employers who hire a qualified veteran who had been unemployed for an aggregate of four weeks or more during the year prior to their date of hire. The tax credit will be equivalent to 20 percent of the veteran’s gross wages during the tax year, not to exceed $5000. As a continuation of current law, employers who continue to employ a veteran can collect a credit equal to 10 percent of the gross wages paid to the veteran, not to exceed $1200.
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