Gov. Pat Quinn used Independence Day as a backdrop for the signing of three bills designed to help servicemembers find jobs, including one bill sponsored by Rep. Jay Hoffman of Belleville.
The bill sponsored by Hoffman, a Democrat, is Senate Bill 204. It makes college degree requirement exemptions for certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces and the Illinois National Guard looking to become Illinois State Police officers.
Current law permitting the exemption already exists, but only lists two medals as requirements to qualify for exemption. The new law will expand the list of medals required, helping more servicemembers find employment.
"This legislation will create more opportunities for veterans to become Illinois State Police officers, and I'm pleased that the governor signed it into law," Hoffman said. "The skills our servicemen and women acquire in the armed forces make them a valuable asset in the law enforcement field."
Quinn signed the bills at a ceremony Thursday in Arlington Heights.
"Our servicemembers and veterans are some of the best-trained men and women in the world and are perfectly suited for a number of important jobs," Quinn said. "Anyone who has driven a military vehicle in Iraq should be qualified to drive a commercial vehicle in Illinois. Anyone who has treated shrapnel wounds from an IED in Afghanistan should be able to treat an accident victim here."
The two other bills signed by Quinn are:
* House Bill 2563, which allows servicemembers who have at least two years of experience operating a military vehicle to bypass the state skills test in applying for commercial driver's license.
* House Bill 3186, which recognizes the military training and clinical experience of members of the armed forces, reserves and Illinois National Guard when they apply to be an emergency medical technician. The bill also waives the application fee for all ISP troopers and members of the Illinois National Guard who volunteer as an EMT in a municipality with a population of 5,000 or fewer. The bill is designed to help create more EMTs in underserved areas.