Springfield, IL… A newly signed bipartisan bill, sponsored by State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago), will assist veterans in their effort to receive help for mental health issues. Senate Bill 3401 amends the Veterans and Servicemembers Court Treatment Act to allow Veteran’s Assistance Commissions (VAC) to provide assessments, mentoring, and treatment programs to veterans.
“By expanding treatment options available to veterans we can ensure that veterans are getting the help they need,” Rep. McAuliffe said. “Our veterans deserve the best and quickest treatment possible and this added flexibility will help to increase their access to these important services.”
Under current law, veterans can only receive addiction treatment and other mental health services at a federal Veteran’s Affairs (VA) or the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs (IDVA) office. VACs are units of local government created by the Illinois Military Veterans Assistance Act to provide additional assistance to veterans.
“The Veterans and Servicemembers Court Treatment Act was passed because too often veterans unfairly encounter the criminal justice system as a result of invisible injuries or mental health problems stemming from their service to our country,” Rep. McAuliffe continued. “This new addition to the law will help to meet the specialized problems of veterans who are charged with crimes by providing more alternatives to criminal punishment through mental health treatment.”
Governor Rauner signed the bill over the weekend on Veterans Day at the Illinois State Fair. It is effective immediately.