Thursday, June 24, 2004


As it should be.
A movement to get all 50 states to enact financial aid measures for Guardsmen and reservists called to active duty got a boost Wednesday when one of its key proponents testified before Congress.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn was among the first to propose a “Military Family Relief Trust Fund” which was signed into law in February 2003...

With more than 150,000 Guard and Reserve members activated in the war on terrorism, the House Committee on Veterans held the hearing to examine federal laws protecting those servicemembers’ legal, financial and job rights while they are away and when they return...

Quinn and others want laws such as those that would prevent schools from charging out-of-district rates for children who have moved in with caregivers when a parent, perhaps a single parent, is called up.

He also is pursuing a public education campaign, citing abuses by employers who are unaware of the law, or unwilling to follow it.

“We want to make sure shop foremen, line supervisors and others understand that when one of their employees is called up, when they come back, they have a job” or are not otherwise penalized, Quinn said...

But the focus is on the trust funds, Quinn said.

“You’re always going to have a situation where [a deploying reservist’s] pay is reduced. Our concept in Illinois is that this is a token of appreciation,” he said. “Anyone can apply for a $500 grant, and if there’s a hardship — your gas is turned off, you’re defaulting on the mortgage — then we can give you as much as $2,000.”

Quinn quotes Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address when pushing legislation: “[L]et us strive on … to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan.”

Servicemembers and concerned citizens can go to for more information.

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