Senator Cullerton 4 22SPRINGFIELD – In response to the preventable deaths in Illinois veterans’ homes from COVID-19 and legionella over the past several years, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D- Villa Park) sponsored a measure to create the Veterans’ Accountability Unit, which passed the Senate Wednesday.

“After the tragic COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home last year, it is imperative that the agencies charged with helping our veterans have proper oversight,” said Cullerton, chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs committee. “The Veterans Accountability Unit provides an extra layer of transparency that can help prevent future issues.”

The legislation, House Bill 359, creates the unit, with offices to be housed in Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs buildings and veterans’ homes. The unit will be tasked with reporting complaints and recommendations from veterans, IDVA employees and other Illinois residents to the Office of the Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor.

Additionally, the unit will establish a toll-free helpline and email, maintain regular office hours and create an annual report that includes a summary of complaints and actions taken in response to them.

“The Veterans’ Accountability Unit will make sure our veterans have even more seats the table when it comes to their care in Illinois,” Cullerton said. “We must continue to do what we can to make sure the veterans who have sacrificed so much are properly supported.”

HB 359 passed the Senate Wednesday and will now move to the House for further consideration.