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Bennett protects college students

bennett-campus-rapeSPRINGFIELD - One in five undergraduate women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

To combat campus sexual violence State Senator Scott Bennett advanced House Bill 821 to increase protections for Illinois students.

“We send our children to college to better themselves and obtain the necessary skills to move on to future careers and be successful. The last thing they should have to worry about is sexual violence,” said Bennett.

HB 821 creates the Preventing Sexual Violence on Campus Act, which provides a roadmap to existing federal requirements and sets standards to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

This legislation requires all higher education institutions to do three things.

First, develop clear and comprehensive campus sexual violence plans to ensure there are guidelines to follow.

Second, notify student survivors about their rights and provide a confidential adviser to help them understand their options.

Lastly, colleges and universities are required to train students and employees and adopt a fair and balanced process to address allegations of sexual violence.

“Our number one goal is to end campus assault. However, if an attack occurs, clear and concise guidelines give victims a comprehensive path to report crimes and be notified of their rights,” said Bennett.      

House Bill 821 passed the Senate’s Committee on Criminal Justice and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Tom Cullerton: Let’s make Illinois more business friendly

TC-crowdfund51315SPRINGFIELD- Small businesses struggling to raise money to take their companies to the next level may soon have another method to find funding.  

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) advanced legislation to make Illinois more business friendly by instituting intrastate crowdfunding exemptions.

“Small businesses are the key to growing our economy and creating more jobs in Illinois. Intrastate crowdfunding gives businesses the resources to find funding without accumulating debt,” said Cullerton.

Crowdfunding is funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people. In exchange for funding, investors receive a small ownership interest in the enterprise.

House Bill 3429 creates an Illinois intrastate exemption, which allows Illinois residents to directly invest in Illinois small businesses online.  

Currently, 15 states have already passed similar legislation including neighboring states such as Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

“The Illinois Intrastate crowdfunding bill gives Illinois entrepreneurs and small business access to new sources of capital and incentivizes Illinois residents to invest locally,” said Anthony Zeoli, Chicago attorney and crowdfunding expert.

This legislation encourages local investment and would create new jobs in Illinois.

“Allowing companies to raise reasonable sums of money from a large pool of Illinois citizens, and providing investors with small ownership interests in the enterprises, will stimulate our economy and create jobs,” said Elliot Richardson the CEO of the Small Business Advocacy Council.

HB 3429 is expected to be heard today in the Senate’s Committee on Financial Institutions.

Tom Cullerton promotes good government

tc-civicsSPRINGFIELD- Do you know what the three branches of U.S. government are? If so, you are one of 36 percent who can answer correctly according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) advanced legislation that would require a semester of civics to graduate high school.

Currently, Illinois is one of only 10 states that doesn’t require at least one civics course.  Currently, Illinois high school graduates are required to complete two years of social studies courses. This legislation would simply require one of the two years to include a semester civics course.

“Our schools are training future leaders of Illinois,” said Cullerton. “Good government is a result of public officials and residents working together to make informed decisions. We need to ensure our young people know how government works to make sure government is working for them.”

The Illinois Task Force on Civic Education recommended that Illinois should require a civic education course for all high schools in Illinois. The class would focus on government institutions, current issues and discussions and simulations of the democratic process.

“Today, we move one step closer in equipping our students with the necessary skills to be informed and engaged participants in our democracy,” said Shawn Healy, Task Force Chair and Civic Learning Scholar at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in Chicago. “On behalf of the taskforce, we are grateful for the bi-partisan support of this transformational legislation.”

Support for the implementation of the civics courses, would be provided by private funding to cover the cost of professional development and other school district needs.

House Bill 4025 passed the Senate’s Committee on Education and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Senator Harris working to improve minority business contracts

harris-min-cntrctSpringfield, IL – Legislation sponsored by Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) that would raise the state's contract goal for minority and women-owned businesses from 10 percent to 20 percent passed out of committee today.  

Senate Bill 275 increases opportunity for minority and women owned businesses to win state construction contracts. It would require building construction contracts in excess of $250,000 be unbundled or subject to separate and independent bidding processes for each of the five required subdivisions of work. For instance, it would separate plumbing from general contract work.

“This legislation is vital to our communities,” Harris said. “I have been holding local meetings and Minority Business Summits to speak with individuals about legislation that would allow their businesses to thrive. Over and over again I have heard the stark reality of the struggles minority and women-owned businesses face when trying to secure construction contracts. My goal is to ease the burden on these business owners, and give them an equal chance when it comes to winning state contracts.”

Sen. Harris also passed Senate Bill 276 out of committee requiring state agencies to hold pre-bid conferences at a location in the area where the work will take place.

“This is common sense,” said Harris. “Why should individuals who are looking for business opportunities have to drive outside of the area where the proposed business is going to take place?”

Senate Bill 275 and Senate Bill 276 both passed the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee today and will be sent to the Senate floor for debate.

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