latimes.com/topic/chi-house-says-happy-memorial-day-by-passing-bill-to-help-veterans-20120528,0,1353676.story

latimes.com

House says 'Happy Memorial Day' by passing bill to help veterans

By Alissa Groeninger

Tribune reporter

11:55 AM PDT, May 28, 2012

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SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois House took steps on Memorial Day to make things a bit easier for the state's veterans.

Currently, veterans have to show their discharge papers or other proof of service to establish their credentials when accessing state-offered programs for former military personnel, said sponsoring Rep. Mike Fortner, R-West Chicago. Under this measure, veterans would be able to have their status marked on a state ID, including a driver's license.

The House voted 112-0 to send the bill to the Senate, where supporters hope the bill can be approved before the legislature is set to adjourn by the Thursday midnight deadline.

Fortner said some veterans, including his late father, have papers that are more than 50 years old. This legislation would simplify the process and make sure no one is using someone else's papers.

"I can at least tell you from my own father's papers. You get one set of papers. They're issued when you're discharged. They're never updated," Fortner said. "We offer these services, and those services do the veteran no good if they're discouraged because they couldn't find their papers.

"I just think it's wonderful we had a chance to vote on this on Memorial Day, of all special days."

@groeninger@tribune.com

Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking