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


Sen. Thomas Cullerton

Filed: 10/19/2021





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2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend House Bill 359 by replacing
3everything after the enacting clause with the following:
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.



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1    (c) The Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit
2shall ensure that the Unit maintains regular office hours and
3establishes both a toll-free helpline and a dedicated
4electronic mail address for the purpose of accepting
5complaints, information, and recommendations. The Director
6shall provide a reasonable means for receiving complaints
7outside of office hours.
8    (d) The Veterans' Accountability Unit shall function
9independently of the Department. The salary and benefits of
10the Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit and any
11other staff of the Unit, as deemed necessary by the Director,
12along with all other expenses of the Unit shall be paid from
13appropriations to the Department.
14    (e) The Director and staff of the Veterans' Accountability
15Unit shall have the authority to access the offices or
16facilities of the Department and the Veterans' Homes and shall
17have access to all information, documents, and personnel of
18the Department as needed to perform the duties of the
19Veterans' Accountability Unit. It is the duty of every
20employee of the Department to cooperate with the Veterans'
21Accountability Unit. The Department shall provide the staff of
22the Veterans' Accountability Unit with physical space in each
23Department office and in each Veterans' Home to conduct
24confidential business as needed to perform the work of the
25Veterans' Accountability Unit.
26    (f) The Veterans' Accountability Unit shall ensure all



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1complaints, allegations, or incidents of possible misconduct,
2misfeasance, malfeasance, or violations of rules, procedures,
3or laws by any employee, service provider, or contractor of
4the Department are reported to the Office of Executive
5Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor.
6    (g) The Office of Executive Inspector General for the
7Agencies of the Illinois Governor shall assess the complaints,
8allegations, and incidents and shall determine whether to (i)
9investigate, (ii) refer to the appropriate agency, (iii) refer
10to any appropriate law enforcement agency, (iv) request a
11response from the Department to the complaint, allegations, or
12incident, or (v) refer to the Veterans' Accountability Unit to
13conduct further inquiry or review if necessary.
14    (h) The Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit may
15recommend changes to the Director of Veterans' Affairs
16concerning Department policies or practices based upon
17information learned or observations made by the Veterans'
18Accountability Unit staff during the course of its duties. The
19Director of the Veterans' Accountability Unit shall meet
20regularly with the Office of Executive Inspector General for
21the Agencies of the Illinois Governor to report this
22information to allow the Office to determine whether further
23investigation is necessary.
24    (i) The Veterans' Accountability Unit shall create an
25annual report that includes a summary of the complaints
26received and actions taken in response. This report shall not



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1include any referrals to the Office of Executive Inspector
2General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor that result
3in an investigation. The summaries shall not contain any
4confidential or identifying information concerning the
5subjects or complainants of the reports and investigations.
6    (j) Nothing in this Section shall limit investigations by
7the Department of Veterans' Affairs that may otherwise be
8required by law or that may be necessary in that Department's
9capacity as the central administrative authority on matters
10concerning services to veterans, their survivors, and