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Judicial, government and civic leaders have announced the launch of the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN), the first-ever statewide hotline and network of legal support services for veterans, active-duty military, National Guard, reservists and their dependents. Through the IL-AFLAN, veterans and military personnel can obtain free legal help for urgent family, housing and consumer problems, as well as issues such as discharge upgrades and benefit appeals.

The free hotline can be accessed at 1-855-452-3526 (1-855-ILAFLAN) and is staffed by attorneys Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:30 PM. Serving as the entry point to the IL-AFLAN, the hotline will offer legal advice and brief services and then connect veterans and military personnel to legal aid providers near their community. Nine organizations, spanning every major area of the state, have received grants to provide legal aid services as part of the IL-AFLAN. To be eligible for services through this new program, veterans and active duty military members need to have an income less than 80 percent of the Chicago area median income. For a family of four, this translates into $63,000 annually.
State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) has been named Legislator of the Year by the Illinois chapters of the National Emergency Number Association (INENA) and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. He received the award at the Illinois Public Safety Telecommunications Association’s annual conference dinner in Springfield on November 7.

This year Hays championed HB 1811, which amended the Emergency Telephone System Act as it relates to

9-1-1 service in Illinois. As the lead Republican on the bill, he garnered Republican support for the measure when it initially came before the House of Representatives and then again when a three-fifths majority became necessary to override a gubernatorial veto of the bill.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for my efforts that relate to ensuring reliable 9-1-1 service for Illinoisans,” said Hays. “That legislation was critical not only to my constituents in the 104th District, but all over the state. Public safety and reliable emergency response is a basic right for every Illinoisan, and I believe it is critical that when people dial 9-1-1 they should have full confidence that they’ll be immediately connected to emergency personnel and first responders that can provide the assistance they need.”

Sandy Beitel, President of the Illinois Chapter of INENA, said Hays has been a true champion when it comes to safety issues. "Representative Hays has been a strong advocate for public safety and emergency services for the people of Illinois," said Beitel. "He was instrumental in passing legislation this year that ensures reliable 9-1-1 service across the State of Illinois, and also worked hard to secure the votes necessary to override a gubernatorial veto that threatened to derail the legislation."

In addition to the Legislator of the Year honor, Hays was also recently appointed to serve as a voting member of a statewide 9-1-1 Advisory Board.
Former members of the Guard and Reserve who do not have any periods of active duty other than their initial active duty for training and annual training are now eligible to receive “Veteran” on their driver’s licenses. "This bill ensures that every man and woman who has served this state and nation is recognized,” said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries. "Our veterans have given so much for us, and I am glad Illinois is taking this step to expand designations."

Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2173 to allow National Guard members and reservists to obtain the veteran identifier on their Illinois driver's license.

In order to receive that designation, veterans of the Guard and Reserve are required to present a copy of their certificate of release or discharge from initial active duty, certified and stamped by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), to the Secretary of State.

Prior to receiving this stamp they must provide documentation of satisfactorily completing the time for which they were contracted to attend monthly drills and annual training. Presentation of one of the following documents will be accepted as proof of service:

1. Army or Air National Guard NGB 22 Report of Separation and Record of Service

2. Army Reserve DARP FM 249-2E Chronological Statement of
Retirement Points.

3. Navy Reserve NRPC 1070-124 Annual Retirement Point Record

4. Air Force Reserve AF 526 Point Summary Sheet

5. USMC Reserve NAVMC 798 Reserve Retirement Credit Report

6. Coast Guard CG 4175 Coast Guard Reserve Annual or Terminal
Statement of Retirement Points.

Veterans are encouraged to contact or visit a local IDVA office for assistance obtaining any of the above documents. To find the closest Veteran Service Officer (VSO) go to www.illinois.gov/veterans or call 800-437-9824.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is seeking input on the state's rest areas.

To enhance traveler safety and comfort, IDOT maintains a system of 30 rest areas and 11 welcome centers on highways throughout the state, which serve more than 36 million visitors annually. IDOT wants to make sure these service centers are kept clean, safe, and updated with travel-related amenities to enhance the travel experience for Illinois residents and visitors.

Illinois' rest areas and welcome centers are open 24 hours a day and feature restroom facilities, picnic areas, lighted walkways, maps, security cameras, parking for recreational vehicles, and commercial trucks, among other services.

Help shape the future planning of rest areas by completing IDOT's Illinois Rest Area Survey.

For a paper copy of the survey please call 402-399-1405.
Unneeded or expired prescription drugs are often hoarded, sent to an insecure landfill, or flushed down the toilet to potentially contaminate local water supplies. These substances should be placed in secure, monitored landfill storage sites that do not leach into groundwater. Access to these sites is expensive, but law enforcement is taking steps to ensure that owners of unwanted prescription drugs will have free access to safe, secure disposal. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is co-sponsoring the 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to be held on Saturday, October 28. Click here and use the “Locate a Collection Site Near You” link to find a convenient drop-off location.
After championing legislation this year to ensure reliable 9-1-1 service throughout Illinois, State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) has been chosen to serve on a statewide 9-1-1 Advisory Board.

Hays will serve as one of 11 voting members who will join other non-voting members on the board, which will fall under the guidance of the Illinois State Police. As a group, the board members will advise the Department of State Police and the Statewide 9-1-1 Administrator on the oversight of 9-1-1 systems and the development and implementation of a uniform statewide 9-1-1 system, and make recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding improvements to 9-1-1 services throughout the State. The board must also submit to the General Assembly a report by March 1 of each year which provides an update on the transition to a statewide 9-1-1 system and recommends any legislative action to assist with the transition.

“When an Illinoisan dials 9-1-1 they deserve to know for a fact that their call will be connected immediately to a call center that can send appropriate emergency personnel to their location,” said Hays. “It’s a matter of public health and safety, and I take my service on this board very seriously.”

According to Hays, land line telephone bills include a line item that used to fully cover the costs associated with community 9-1-1 service, but with the transition to cell phones, many communities have been forced to dip into their own budgets to supplement costs for 9-1-1 service. “The legislation we passed in the General Assembly this year begins the process of making sure there are no gaps in 9-1-1 service across the state,” Hays said. “With only 8% of Illinois households still relying solely on land line telephone service, these updates are necessary and I look forward to having a voice in the conversation for how we can improve reliability and access.”
On Monday, State Representative Chad Hays spoke to a full room of constituents at a Town Hall Meeting held in the Community Room at the Savoy Village Administration Building. Hays provided a review of the 2017 legislative session and the June/July special session, and spoke at length about the recently approved budget and his decision to retire at the end of his current term in the General Assembly. He then opened the floor up for questions from residents.