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Senate passes McCann legislation to expand access to veterans courts

SPRINGFIELD – Veterans may soon have easier access to the extra services and support provided by veterans courts, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) that passed the Senate unanimously.

“Veterans courts are designed to enable judges to have more discretion and understanding of the complex and unique issues facing our veterans,” said Senator McCann. “These courts can be more sympathetic to challenges such as PTSD that can be a major part of how veterans ended up in court in the first place.”

Under current law, the Chief Justice of a judicial circuit has the discretion to allow one veterans court in that particular circuit. Illinois has just 24 circuits covering all 102 counties.

McCann’s Senate Bill 1238 changes the limit from one court per circuit to one court per county. The Chief Justices of the individual circuits would still have the power to determine how many counties they will allow to take part.

“These brave men and women have sacrificed so much for their country, I think it’s our duty to make sure we provide easy access to important services such as this,” said Senator McCann. “This doesn’t automatically create any new courts or programs, but it gives the chief justices another tool in their toolbox to ensure their court system is meeting the needs of all of their residents, including veterans.”

Senate Bill 1238 is now heading to the Illinois House for consideration in that chamber.

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