Bill requires veterans home administrators to report donations

Sen. Sue Rezin proposed bill after recent donation concerns at Veterans Home in La Salle

State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) advanced legislation that would require the Illinois Veterans Home administrators to report donations made to locally held member-benefit funds.

“This legislation provides transparency and security to those who graciously choose to make donations to our state’s Veterans’ Homes,” Rezin said. “During December, there were concerns about how donated items were being distributed at one of the homes. This bill will help alleviate those concerns by ensuring that everyone can easily access donation information.”

In December 2020, the Illinois Veterans Home in La Salle changed its policy to distribute donated items.

The superintendent at the La Salle County Veterans Assistance Commission wrote a letter saying that donations from a recent drive for residents were not being made “readily available,” noting the facility’s practices often took a week before items were distributed.

A new process was set up to distribute donations through the registered nurses on each wing.

Senate Bill 2250 requires the administrator of an Illinois Veterans’ Home to provide a monthly report to the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs regarding its established locally-held member benefits fund. The report must include: monetary donation amounts; non-monetary (goods) such as clothing and toiletries; and the end of month balance of the fund.

The IDVA is then required to deliver a quarterly report concerning locally-held member benefit funds for all Illinois State Veterans’ Homes to the General Assembly and governor. The Department must also post the reports on their website. IDVA’s quarterly report shall include: amount of donations received including monetary and non-monetary items; expenditures from the funds and items disbursed; and the end of quarter balance of the locally-held funds.

“I feel this is common-sense legislation that helps to promote transparency and understanding of the use of the generous donations within the communities surrounding our State Veterans Homes,” said La Salle County Veterans Assistance Commission Superintendent Steven Kreitzer. “To ask for transparency is to ask for understanding and to remove any inclination of wrongdoing.”

Senate Bill 2250 received unanimous support in the Senate and is now pending in the Illinois House.