SPRINGFIELD -- Two Republican state senators have introduced bills that would give National Guard and Army Reserve veterans access to driver’s licenses and state IDs with a veteran designation, regardless of whether they served on active duty.
The Illinois secretary of state’s office began issuing licenses with the designation July 1, but the current state law only allows them to be given to veterans who have served on active duty.
State Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington, who was an infantry soldier in the Illinois Army National Guard from 1992 to 1998, is sponsoring a measure that would allow them to be issued to those who have served in the Guard or Reserve but whose units weren’t activated.
“Those who’ve served our country, whether they’ve been activated or not, deserve recognition from our government,” Barickman said.
Regardless of whether their unit has been deployed, every member of the military has to meet certain obligations, such as completing basic training and learning how to properly handle firearms, he said.
Barickman noted that many business offer discounts and other promotions for veterans.
“This makes it very simple for those who have served to provide the proof of that by a recognition on their ID card,” he said.
People are also reading…
State Sen. Pamela Althoff of McHenry is sponsoring similar legislation. Her version would also require the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to advise the secretary of state’s office on what forms of proof of service, other than the Department of Defense Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, would be acceptable.
Both bills have been assigned to the Senate State Government and Veterans Affairs Committee.
Dave Druker, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jesse White, said the office strongly supports the idea.
“We don’t see an extra cost being involved,” Druker said. “It looks like a win-win.”