SPRINGFIELD— State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) has received an award from the Illinois School Psychologists Association in appreciation of her sponsoring legislation that supports schools and schoolchildren in Illinois.
Bertino-Tarrant worked with the Illinois School Psychologists Association in 2014 to get a law approved that makes it easier for school psychologists and other school support personnel to become principals.
“I was proud to work with the Illinois School Psychologists Association to make it easier for school psychologists to serve as principals,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I am grateful to receive this award, and I look forward to continued collaborations with the association on issues that will help our students and schools.”
House Bill 5286, which Bertino-Tarrant sponsored, allows school psychologists who have four or more years’ experience to become principals. They would also still have to complete a principal preparation program and have a master’s degree or higher.
PLAINFIELD — State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) issued the following statement after being appointed to the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission.
Modernizing our state’s outdated education funding system must be a priority. Every student should be given the chance to receive a quality education and fulfill their potential. We need to do what is right for our students and fairly fund our schools. The Governor’s creation of this commission demonstrates the seriousness of this issue. I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner with members of the commission to find solutions which will put needed resources into classrooms throughout my district and across Illinois.
Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the creation of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission this week. The commission will be comprised of five legislators from each caucus and five educational experts.
Bertino-Tarrant is a life-long educator who served as the regional school superintendent for Will County prior to being elected to the Illinois Senate.
It is anticipated that the commission will start meeting this summer.
State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a project that will bring businesses and jobs to Shorewood.
The plan, which Bertino-Tarrant pushed for, will allow for land at the northwest corner of the intersection of Routes 59 and 52 in Shorewood to be redeveloped.
“More businesses and jobs will be coming to Shorewood,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This initiative is good for the community, and I look forward to continuing to support projects that will enhance economic development throughout my district.”
SPRINGFIELD— The fight to strip former U.S. House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert of his taxpayer funded pensions was continued today by State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).
“Legislation was filed to strip Hastert of his General Assembly Retirement System pension,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The taxpayers shouldn’t be paying retirement benefits for a child predator who has abused the public trust.”
Hastert was recently sentenced to 15 months in prison for bank fraud stemming from efforts to cover up child sex abuse dating back to his time as a teacher in Yorkville. He had qualified for pension benefits for his tenure as a teacher, state lawmaker and congressman.
Illinois’ Teachers Retirement System has canceled Hastert’s pension.
However, the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) has failed to get rid of Hastert’s state lawmaker pension. The agency has suggested reducing it from $28,000 to $9,000, but Bertino-Tarrant says that’s not enough.
“I am going to continue to pursue the removal of Hastert’s GARS pension- any amount is too much,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “He confessed to molesting children. His pensions need to be eliminated. Period.”
Under legislation Bertino-Tarrant has introduced, Senate Bill 442, a member could lose their pension at any time if they commit a felony against a student or other victim.
This plan would allow Hastert’s pension to be revoked.
Last month, Bertino-Tarrant sent a letter to GARS requesting that Hastert’s pension be immediately revoked. The senator also sent a letter to Attorney General Lisa Madigan requesting that she provide a legal argument to the board in support of Hastert no longer receiving a pension.
SPRINGFIELD— Legislation extending the statute of limitation when someone financially exploits an elderly or disabled person was signed into law by the governor today.
“Financial exploitation against a disabled person or a senior is a terrible crime that should never be tolerated,” said Bertino-Tarrant. “Victims will now have more time to recognize and report crimes so that the prosecutor can bring charges and hold perpetrators accountable.”
Bertino-Tarrant sponsored the law in the Senate.
Prior to the law, prosecution for financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person had to occur within three years of the offense being committed. The statute of limitations for this type of offense is now extended to seven years.
House Bill 5805 takes effect immediately.
State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) recently held a Veterans’ Breakfast.
At the Veterans’ Breakfast, an estimated 60 veterans learned about programs and services offered by Homes for Heroes, Kendall County Veterans Assistance Commission, Military Mama Network and Will County Veterans Assistance Commission.
“I’m honored to provide a small thank you and opportunity for area veterans to meet with representatives from different organizations who could help them access the benefits and services they’ve rightfully earned from their service to our nation,” Bertino-Tarrant said.
Bertino-Tarrant spoke to attendees briefly about a new law she sponsored which creates a program at the Illinois Finance Authority allowing veterans to apply for and receive a loan to start a business.
Attendees also heard from guest speaker Grant Swinger of the Illinois Attorney General’s Military and Veterans Rights Bureau. He provided an overview of the bureau, which is dedicated to ensuring veterans and active duty military service members receive the benefits they have earned.
Some veterans expressed concerns about the problems they face in trying to get assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Bertino-Tarrant and Swinger sympathized with these concerns and let them know that the Illinois Attorney General’s Military and Veterans Rights Bureau can be a good resource for help when they run into difficulties.
SPRINGFIELD— State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) has introduced legislation that would close a loophole in the state’s Sex Offender Registry Act.
Bertino-Tarrant’s proposal will allow the courts to require sex offender registration for a person convicted of battery in cases where the battery is sexually motivated.
“A perpetrator who commits a sexual offense should be held accountable and have to register as a sex offender,” Bertino-Tarrant said.
The senator’s legislation was filed in response to a case in her district.
Stephanie of Plainfield was 15 when a neighbor sexually abused her in his basement. Her mother, Tina Estopare, has been a strong advocate of the legislation, reaching out to legislators across the state.
The neighbor was convicted on two counts of misdemeanor battery and sentenced to 364 days in the Will County jail. However, he was released four months later before serving two years of supervised probation. He also did not have to register as a sex offender because battery is not an offense subject to sex offender registration.
Bertino-Tarrant’s initiative, Senate Bill 2201, was heard by the Criminal Law Committee today.
SPRINGFIELD— Legislation that would guarantee parents time off work to mourn the loss of a child was signed into law by the governor today.
“Today Illinois took an important step forward in helping parents who go through the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child,” Senator Bertino-Tarrant said. “The last thing any parent who loses a child needs to worry about is getting approved for time off work to grieve and plan a funeral.”
Prior to the law, a parent whose child had a serious medical condition could receive time off from work under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, that same parent would not be allowed under FMLA to take time off for the death of a child.
Bertino-Tarrant’s initiative, Senate Bill 2613, expands FMLA coverage by ensuring that employees who lose a child will be provided with two weeks of unpaid bereavement leave. This time can be used to make arrangements, attend the funeral and grieve their child’s death.
Illinois now joins Oregon as the only states to mandate that employers provide leave to employees who request it after the death of a child.
FMLA applies to all state, local and federal employers as well as schools and private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in a year.
Senate Bill 2613 becomes effective immediately.
SPRINGFIELD— Legislation that would help veterans become business owners was passed out of the Illinois Senate today by State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).
“There are many veterans who heroically serve our nation, gain valuable leadership and management skills yet can have a hard time starting a new career when they come home,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “My plan would help our veterans get the start-up capital they need to start their own businesses and create jobs for others.”
Bertino-Tarrant is working on her proposal with Lynn Lowder, a former Marine officer and advocate for veterans becoming small-business owners.
“In the nine years following World War II, 50 percent of veterans ended up in business for themselves,” Lowder said. “Unfortunately, fewer veterans now are able to start a business. This initiative is the key missing piece that would give our veterans the tools they need to become entrepreneurs.”
Today, less than seven percent of returning veterans own their own businesses.
Nearly 550 service members transition from military to civilian life each day, and an estimated 1 million veterans will settle into communities across our country within the next three to five years.
“When our veterans come home, we need to make sure our veterans have the full support of our state as their service deserves,” Bertino-Tarrant said.
Bertino-Tarrant is sponsoring Senate Bill 324 that would create a program at the Illinois Finance Authority that would allow veterans to apply and receive a business loan. The program would be similar to agribusiness and farming programs administered by the State Treasurer.
Bertino-Tarrant advanced Senate Bill 324 out of the Illinois Senate today. It will now go to the Illinois House for approval.
SPRINGFIELD— A plan that would end deadlines for when someone could be prosecuted for sexual abuse against a minor has been approved by a Senate committee. State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is the chief co-sponsor of the measure.
“There should not be a deadline on when victims can receive justice,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Minors who are sexually abused deserve time to come forward and report the abuse. Children are vulnerable, scared, and often take years to have the courage to confront their abuser.”
SPRINGFIELD - Last year, in Georgia, an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s slipped away from his home in the middle of the night and wandered into a nearby neighborhood in the cold only to be shot dead when mistaken for an intruder.And this year in Texas, an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s wandered away from his family’s home in the middle of the night in the midst of freezing temperatures. He was later found dead.These are the tragic stories state Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) worked to prevent through legislation she helped pass out of the Illinois Senate this year. Her plan, which was signed into law today, allows law enforcement, Department on Aging and local law enforcement agencies to create a statewide awareness program to help locate individuals with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases who go missing.
SPRINGFIELD— State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is sponsoring legislation that would allow roads to be named after fallen soldiers from Illinois.
“Service members who give the ultimate sacrifice for our state and nation must never be forgotten,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Having a road named after a fallen Illinois soldier is one way we can pay tribute to their service and heroic contributions.”
Bertino-Tarrant’s proposal, House Bill 4344, would create the Heroes Way Designation Program. The program will allow family members of fallen Illinois soldiers to apply for an honorary road designation as a tribute to their deceased loved one.
The applicant has to be a family member who is related to the solider by blood, marriage or adoption.
Eligible roads include interstates, state-numbered highway interchanges and bridge segments within Illinois’ highway system.
A family member seeking to have a road named after a fallen soldier would have to submit an application to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Bertino-Tarrant advanced House Bill 4344 out of the Senate Transportation Committee yesterday. The senator’s plan will now go before the full Illinois Senate for approval.
The lead sponsor of the legislation in the House is State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield). Bertino-Tarrant and Batinick are working together in a bipartisan manner on House Bill 4344.
PHOTO: This sign in Vermillion County is an example of an honorary road designation as promoted in HB4344.
SPRINGFIELD— A parent whose child has a serious medical condition can receive time off from work under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, that same parent would not be allowed under FMLA to take time off for the death of a child.
In fact, the average bereavement leave for a person who loses a child is three days according to a researcher at Arizona State University.
Today, State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed legislation out of the Illinois Senate guaranteeing parents who lose a child time off work to grieve.
SPRINGFIELD— Legislation that will help veterans become business owners was signed into law Friday by the governor.
Senate Bill 324, sponsored by Bertino-Tarrant, will create a program at the Illinois Finance Authority that would allow veterans to apply and receive a business loan. The program will be similar to agribusiness and farming programs administered by the State Treasurer.
“Despite having leadership abilities and valuable skills from their time in the service, fewer and fewer veterans have the opportunity to go into business for themselves,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to have programs in place that help veterans become business owners. This initiative is a key part of giving our veterans the resources they need to own a business, create jobs for others and fulfill their potential.”
PLAINFIELD — State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) issued the following statement in response to the Illinois House voting to release $3.1 billion in spending that has been held up by the budget impasse in Springfield.
“Yesterday’s action was a step in the right direction. This authorization will ensure local governments receive funding needed to pay for emergency services, road projects and other essential programs. I pledge to vote for it when it comes before the Senate.”
The Senate must pass the legislation, House Amendment 4 to Senate Bill 2039, so that it can be sent to the governor for final approval. A vote on the authorization is scheduled to take place Monday, Dec. 7. Bertino-Tarrant is a Chief Co-Sponsor of the legislation.
The legislation includes the following components. • $582.5 million to IDOT for local governments share of motor fuel gas tax revenues.• $77 million for 911-related costs.• $1 billion to the Lottery for prizes.• $43 million to the Community College Board for career and technical education activities.• $45 million to the Dept of Revenue so local governments can receive their share of video gaming proceeds.• $3.1 million to the Illinois Math and Science Academy to allow them to access their income funds and pay operating costs.• $31 million to IDOT to purchase road salt.• $2.5 million for breast cancer services and research.• $28 million for nursing home licensing and inspections.• $165 million for home heating bill assistance.• $3.1 million to the Illinois Department of Public Health for the Tobacco Quitline.
PLAINFIELD — State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) issued the following statement after the governor vetoed Senate Bill 2046, a budget bill designed to get needed money to public universities and community colleges, human service agencies and other vital programs:I am disappointed that the governor vetoed a plan that would invest in our students, protect our seniors and help the addicted and homeless. When he ran for governor, he called for a more compassionate and competitive Illinois. This is a good goal to have, but he won’t make Illinois a better place by cutting off aid to students and closing the doors at human services agencies.Despite this veto, I remain committed to continuing to vote for budget proposals that will keep education, social services and other core services operating.
PLAINFIELD— State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) issued the following statement after today’s meeting between the governor and legislative leaders on the budget impasse:
“Today’s meeting was an important step. We’re not going to be able to compromise on tough issues and have a budget in place if the governor and leaders aren’t talking. I hope more meetings occur in the future. Concrete steps need to be taken to end this impasse as quickly as possible.”
State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is working to make it mandatory that parents who lose a child can be eligible to get time off work to grieve.
“Losing a child is one of the most horrific tragedies that could happen to any parent, and the last thing he or she needs to worry about is being approved for time off work to mourn,” Bertino-Tarrant said.
Under FMLA, employees are entitled to up to three months a year of unpaid leave for the birth of the child, adoption or to care for themselves or a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition.
Bertino-Tarrant’s proposal, Senate Bill 2613, expands FMLA coverage by ensuring that employees who lose a child will be provided with four weeks of unpaid bereavement leave. This time can be used to make arrangements, attend the funeral and grieve their child’s death.
If signed into law, Illinois would join Oregon as the only states to mandate that employers are required to provide leave to employees who request it after the death of a child.
To qualify for FMLA leave, an employee must have worked for their employer for one year and worked at least 1,250 hours.
Bertino-Tarrant’s proposal passed out of the Labor Committee today.
PLAINFIELD— In the wake of Scott Cross’ testimony regarding sexual abuse by former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, State. Sen Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) is renewing her call for changing state laws so justice can be served.
“Child predators like Hastert shouldn’t get away with sexual abuse just because no one caught them before some arbitrary deadline,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “When we know of an injustice, we should have the opportunity to set things right. We owe it to the victims and we owe it to the taxpayers.”
Bertino-Tarrant is the lead Senate sponsor of HB 1127, which would remove legal deadlines for prosecuting criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse of a child. She’s also been outspoken in calling for state pension officials to rescind the taxpayer-funded pension Hastert receives from his time as an Illinois lawmaker.
“As I sat there and listened to Mr. Cross summon the courage to talk to the committee about his abuse, it was unbelievable to think he was going to get away with it, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “That’s unacceptable.”
Hastert is currently in prison after pleading guilty to financial fraud. He cannot face charges for the sexual abuse he admitted to because the statute of limitations for those offenses had expired. Following his conviction, the state’s Teachers Retirement System rescinded Hastert’s pension from his teaching days. The state’s General Assembly Retirement System, however, has only moved to reduce his pension.
“The General Assembly Retirement System needs to do the right thing and end Hastert’s pension,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Families throughout my district work hard, and their taxes should not be paying for a child predator’s retirement.”
The senator sent a letter requesting Hastert’s pension be immediately revoked. She also has filed legislation that would have allowed for Hastert’s General Assembly Retirement System pension to be taken away.
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