Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB0359
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Full Text of HB0359  102nd General Assembly



HB0359 EnrolledLRB102 11611 KTG 16945 b

1    AN ACT concerning military service.
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 39 as follows:
6    (20 ILCS 2805/39 new)
7    Sec. 39. Veterans' Accountability Unit.
8    (a) The Department shall create a Veterans' Accountability
9Unit which shall receive complaints and recommendations from:
10(i) veterans and other Illinois residents who seek services
11from the Department; (ii) residents of Veterans' Homes, their
12families, and visitors; (iii) vendors and contractors of the
13Department; and (iv) staff of the Department.
14    (b) The Governor shall appoint, and the Senate shall
15confirm, the Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit.
16The Director shall be appointed for a term of 4 years.
17    (c) The Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit
18shall ensure that the Unit maintains regular office hours and
19establishes both a toll-free helpline and a dedicated
20electronic mail address for the purpose of accepting
21complaints, information, and recommendations. The Director
22shall provide a reasonable means for receiving complaints
23outside of office hours.



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1    (d) The Veterans' Accountability Unit shall function
2independently of the Department. The salary and benefits of
3the Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit and any
4other staff of the Unit, as deemed necessary by the Director,
5along with all other expenses of the Unit shall be paid from
6appropriations to the Department.
7    (e) The Director and staff of the Veterans' Accountability
8Unit shall have the authority to access the offices or
9facilities of the Department and the Veterans' Homes and shall
10have access to all information, documents, and personnel of
11the Department as needed to perform the duties of the
12Veterans' Accountability Unit. It is the duty of every
13employee of the Department to cooperate with the Veterans'
14Accountability Unit. The Department shall provide the staff of
15the Veterans' Accountability Unit with physical space in each
16Department office and in each Veterans' Home to conduct
17confidential business as needed to perform the work of the
18Veterans' Accountability Unit.
19    (f) The Veterans' Accountability Unit shall ensure all
20complaints, allegations, or incidents of possible misconduct,
21misfeasance, malfeasance, or violations of rules, procedures,
22or laws by any employee, service provider, or contractor of
23the Department are reported to the Office of Executive
24Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor.
25    (g) The Office of Executive Inspector General for the
26Agencies of the Illinois Governor shall assess the complaints,



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1allegations, and incidents and shall determine whether to (i)
2investigate, (ii) refer to the appropriate agency, (iii) refer
3to any appropriate law enforcement agency, (iv) request a
4response from the Department to the complaint, allegations, or
5incident, or (v) refer to the Veterans' Accountability Unit to
6conduct further inquiry or review if necessary.
7    (h) The Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit may
8recommend changes to the Director of Veterans' Affairs
9concerning Department policies or practices based upon
10information learned or observations made by the Veterans'
11Accountability Unit staff during the course of its duties. The
12Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit shall meet
13regularly with the Office of Executive Inspector General for
14the Agencies of the Illinois Governor to report this
15information to allow the Office to determine whether further
16investigation is necessary.
17    (i) The Veterans' Accountability Unit shall create an
18annual report that includes a summary of the complaints
19received and actions taken in response. This report shall not
20include any referrals to the Office of Executive Inspector
21General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor that result
22in an investigation. The summaries shall not contain any
23confidential or identifying information concerning the
24subjects or complainants of the reports and investigations.
25    (j) Nothing in this Section shall limit investigations by
26the Department of Veterans' Affairs that may otherwise be



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1required by law or that may be necessary in that Department's
2capacity as the central administrative authority on matters
3concerning services to veterans, their survivors, and