Illinois Congresswoman spearheads legislative change, presents bill to local widow

Local News

In 2016 Kylie Riney was tasked with planning the funeral for her military husband, Douglas Riney. Douglas was overseas in Afghanistan fighting for the US when he was killed. The Rineys were from Central Illinois but lived in Fort Hood, TX since that’s where Douglas was based. After Douglas’ untimely death Kylie wanted to return to Illinois to be closer to family, but her landlord wouldn’t allow her to terminate her lease.

“They [the landlord] said I couldn’t get out of my lease,” said Kylie. “The only way I would’ve been able to get out of the lease was if I still had his deployment orders and came the day before his was killed to utilize them.”

Kylie was miles from her Illinois family and says she felt alone.

“Having to go through even more heartache and everything after the fact and the fact that someone would put a grieving spouse through that just doesnt make sense to me

Months after the issues were thrown at Kylie, Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos got wind of the story.

“She was telling me this story and I’m like that is not right,” said Bustos. “That is absolutely not right, and we have to do something about it.”

After hearing Kylie’s story Bustos pushed for change in the capitol.

“I talked to our legislative team out in Washington,” Bustos adds. “I said we have to write a bill to address this, this should not be legal.”

A year of work in DC ended in a bipartisan bill, The Veterans Benefits and Transition Act. The law requires landlords to allow Goldstar families to terminate their lease without penalty.

“By law what happened to Kylie cant happen to anyone else,” said Bustos.

Kiley says she misses the man who gave everything for his country, though he’s gone… She says this bill shows he continues to give back.

“Had it not been for him being killed, I wouldn’t have been able to go through all of this,” said Kiley. “I’m able to change the future for anybody else that happens to have to go through this tragedy.

President Trump signed this bill on December 31st, 2018.

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