Bennett

  • bennett 022620SPRINGFIELD – Alumni and students from the University of Illinois System rallied behind State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) in support of higher education in Springfield Wednesday.

    More than 200 alumni and students from the University of Illinois System traveled to the Capitol to participate in their annual advocacy day, which included a rally with University of Illinois caucus members.

    This event gives students and alumni the opportunity to show their support for higher education legislation and issues, as well as learn about the legislative process. 

     

  • bennett 022520SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced a measure through the Senate Education Committee Tuesday to allow a student’s parent to exempt them from school active shooter drills.

    The legislation is in response to recent news regarding the effects active shooter drills in schools have on young children. It seeks to reduce the associated psychological effects by granting parents the authority to exempt students from the drill.

    “While I support training for school staff and students, it’s critical that we take additional precautions for these drills, as fear of school shootings has intensified,” Bennett said. “These drills can sometimes be confusing for young students and psychologically distressing – if the circumstances permit, a parent should have the ability to opt their child out of a school shooter drill.”

  • Sen. Scott BennettSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett clarifying Illinois’ complex court fee system cleared the Senate State Government Committee Wednesday.

    The proposal, Senate Bill 2557, specifies funds collected by county clerks from fees, assessments and fines are to be transferred to the State Treasurer to be deposited into the appropriate fund.

    “The purpose of this legislation is to ensure court fines and fees are streamlined so that it’s easier for the clerks to administer,” Senator Bennett (D-Champaign) said. “This bill creates a more coherent system that will increase efficiency.”

  • bennett 020520SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) raised concerns following the transition of DCFS children with complex needs into the Medicaid managed care form Wednesday.

    Days after nearly 19,000 adopted children and former foster children transitioned to Medicaid managed care, an estimated 2,500 were affected by a glitch that has left them without insurance since Saturday.

    The Senate Human Services committee held a hearing Tuesday to address concerns with the oversight of Medicaid managed care agencies in hopes to find a solution.

    “There is a lack of communication with the agencies and it’s being taken out on the families,” Senator Bennett said. “We need to ensure these individuals have access to the health care they need and are kept informed – we have to stay aggressive to get this resolved.”

    For health care coverage inquiries and dispute resolution, Bennett urges residents to call the Illinois DCFS Advocacy Office for Children and Families at 800-232-3798 or 217-524-2029, fax 217-557-7278 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    To verify that your provider is part of the YouthCare network, call 844-289-2264 and ask for the Rapid Response Team or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    For general questions, contact YouthCare at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Illinois DCFS at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    For any additional questions, Bennett encourages residents to contact his office at 217-782-2507.

  • cashCHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is partnering with the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) and the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce to host a free workshop about the Minimum Wage Tax Credit on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce (303 W. Kirby Ave., Champaign). 

    On Jan. 1, the first phase of minimum wage increases took effect, raising the wage from $8.25 an hour to $9.25 an hour. Under the new law, small businesses are eligible for a tax credit, giving them a maximum credit of 25% of the difference between the new minimum wage and what each employee was paid previously.

    “We need to keep small businesses competitive during this transition period,” Bennett said. “This informative workshop will help connect small business owners with updated information on the Minimum Wage Tax Credit to help offset the state’s minimum wage rate and ease their transition.”

    Businesses and nonprofits with 50 full-time equivalent employees or less are eligible for the credit and can begin to claim on their quarterly Illinois Withholding Income Tax Returns.

    Nick Austin of the IDOR will present at the workshop and provide assistance. Bennett urges small businesses to take advantage of this tax credit and participate in the February workshop. 

    For more information or to RSVP, please contact Senator Bennett’s office at 217-355-5252 or SenatorBennett.com, or visit IDOR’s website tax.illinois.gov. 

  • bennett 050219CHAMPAIGN Shocked and angered by a possible sexual assault political cover-up, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is asking anyone with information to come forward.

    The request comes in response to a WBEZ article regarding a 2012 email to officials within then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration that references someone keeping quiet about “the rape in Champaign.”

    “This is frightening and disturbing. Sexual assault allegations need to be taken seriously. If anyone has any information about this crime, please get in touch with authorities. This needs to be investigated and prosecuted. The public needs answers, people need to be held accountable and somewhere there’s a victim who deserves justice. The conduct I read in that email is disgusting and will not be tolerated,” Senator Bennett said.

    If you have information please contact:

    • Champaign County State’s Attorney, 217-384-3733
    • Illinois State Police, 217-278-5000
    • Illinois Executive Inspector General, 312-814-5600
  • fire gear 110719THOMASBORO – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Thursday that the Thomasboro Fire Protection District is one of 23 communities to receive funds to purchase fire trucks that will allow first responders to better serve the area.

    “Fire departments consistently face financial burdens,” Bennett said. “This funding will allow the fire district to purchase the equipment they need, while also reducing the cost to local taxpayers.”

    The Thomasboro Fire Protection District, a volunteer department, is the recipient of $300,000, which has given it the opportunity to purchase new equipment it may not otherwise have been able to afford.

  • In this edition of the "Senate Showcase" podcast, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) previews the upcoming Fall Veto and Spring legislative sessions and highlights upcoming town hall events in his district.

  • Sen. Scott BennettCHAMPAIGN – A proposal by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) to provide Illinois communities the protection they need from toxic coal ash pollution was signed into law today.

    “This was about preventing coal ash waste from threatening our water and our communities throughout the state,” Bennet said. “I am relieved that we now have the protections, regulations and financial assurances in place that we need to prevent more coal ash crises from happening in Illinois."

    The new law addresses the closure of waste pits across the state filled with coal ash, a toxic byproduct of burning coal. There are approximately 25 known coal ash impoundments which are already closed in the state.

    Bennett’s measure would establish processes to address the other 50-plus impoundment sites which have yet to close.

  • Sen. Scott BennettSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined legislators, environmental groups and community leaders from across Illinois Tuesday to call on the General Assembly to be proactive about the hazardous coal ash pollution threatening Illinois lakes, rivers and streams.

    “Coal ash pollution is not a partisan issue,” Bennet said. “There are coal ash pits in essentially every legislative district, so it’s important to recognize that it’s not a problem for one part of the state or one political party. It’s a problem for the state of Illinois.”

    Bennett championed the Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act to address this issue. Senate Bill 9 would direct the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to begin a rule-making process to require power plant operators to safely dispose of coal ash or ensure that pits are properly enclosed, impose fees on coal ash pits to pay the costs of hiring IEPA staff to oversee enforcement, and require power plant operators to set aside money to pay for cleaning up pits in the event a plant is shut down or a company goes bankrupt.

  • bennett 030519SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) would require State agencies to purchase products that are made in Illinois. 

    “This is a great step forward and demonstrates our commitment to supporting Illinois businesses, driving job creation and ensuring our tax dollars stay here in Illinois and in America,” Bennett said. “I will continue my efforts to support our local businesses, manufacturers and contractors as we work together to level the playing field with foreign competitors.”

    The legislation would require State agencies to buy Illinois manufactured products when available. If Illinois made products are not available, they will then buy products made in the United States.

    House Bill 357 passed the Senate State Government Committee and will go before the full Senate for further consideration.

  • castro 050919SPRINGFIELD– State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) and State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined advocates from the Illinois Environmental Council, Illinois Sierra Club and Faith in Place at their annual lobby day and rally at the Capitol on Thursday.

    Castro and Bennett have both worked closely with these groups on legislation that would move Illinois toward a greener future.

    Castro is spearheading legislation that would create the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which would put goals in place for Illinois to work toward becoming 100 percent dependent on renewable energy by 2050. This measure would also promote jobs and economic opportunities for minority and disadvantaged communities.

  • bennett 050919Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act will protect land and water from coal ash pollution

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced legislation today to address the issue of severe groundwater contamination at Illinois coal ash dumpsites.

    Recently, several state environmental groups found unsafe levels of toxic pollutants at 22 of Illinois’ coal ash storage sites in the last year.

    Millions of tons of coal ash, generated by the state’s coal-fired power plants, have been stored in primarily unlined ponds and landfills near the plants for decades. This toxic byproduct of burning coal continues to flow into groundwater, lakes, rivers, and streams around the state, including the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, Illinois’ only National Scenic River.

  • bennett 050219SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced a plan through the Senate today to secure protections for the Mahomet Aquifer, the primary water source for 50,000 Central Illinois residents.

    Senate Bill 2027 would direct the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to prioritize landfills overlying the Mahomet Aquifer for inspection. The bill would encourage the IEPA to use existing information available from the State and federal agencies to identify unknown, unregulated, or under regulated waste disposal sites that overlie the Aquifer and may pose a threat to surface water or groundwater resources.  

    “If we don’t take action now to protect this resource, our future generations will not have clean drinking water,” Bennett said. “This bill will help complement our ongoing efforts to maintain the quality of the groundwater and help us ensure the long-term health and safety of these residents.”

    The bill also seeks to establish a pilot program at the Pekin Metro Landfill to identify potential and current threats to the water quality of the Aquifer from the landfill.

    The proposed legislation comes from the recommendations of the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force, a bipartisan coalition of central Illinois lawmakers from both chambers of the General Assembly, including Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) and Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). The task force, chaired by Champaign Mayor Deborah Feinen, also includes scientists from the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, Illinois State Geological Survey, the Illinois Water Survey and the IEPA.

    SB 2027 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

  • Solar PanelsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced a plan through the Senate this week to help facilitate solar projects statewide.

    Senate Bill 211 will allow a State purchasing officer or a State agency to enter in to an energy conversation program or energy savings contract or lease for up to 25 years. Currently, construction agencies can enter renewable energy resource contracts and leases that do not exceed 10 years.

    “Everybody shares the same goals of lower energy costs, reduced pollution and more jobs in Illinois, and this bill is a good first step in achieving that,” Bennett said. “Extending the time limit for these contracts will help the solar industry create jobs in Illinois, bring down energy costs and build a homegrown, renewable energy supply in our state.”

    The proposal was supported by the University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University and the Environmental Law & Policy Center. In the past, universities have found it difficult to explore solar energy contracts, which are typically longer than the current 10 year limit prescribed in the current law. Bennett’s bill would align with the solar module warranty length and make projects more appealing to universities.

    SB 211 passed out of the Senate and moves to the House for Consideration.

  • ag ed 032619SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed legislation this week to create a hands-on agriculture teacher training program in Illinois high schools.

    Senate Bill 1498 would require the Illinois State Board of Education to develop an Agricultural Education Pre-Service Training Program to prepare high school students for a college career aimed at becoming farm sciences teachers.

    “The importance of agricultural education spreads further than the classroom,” said Bennett, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This program would help students develop problem-solving skills and agricultural literacy they’ll need in order to teach the next generation of farmers how to produce the food we eat, the fuel we use and the fiber in our clothes.”

  • Clean waterSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced legislation this week to strengthen protections for the Mahomet Aquifer, the primary water source for Central Illinois.

    Bennett sponsored Senate Bill 2027, which would direct the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to identify potential hazards to groundwater and focus further study on those that pose a hazard to surface water and groundwater resources.

    It would also establish the Pekin Metro Landfill Pilot Project to allow for the identification of potential and current threats to the water quality of the Mahomet Aquifer from the landfill.
    “After the detrimental impacts of the Peoples Gas Leak, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect this vital resource,” Bennett said. “This bill will help us ensure that 500,000 people in Central Illinois know the water coming out of their faucets is clean and safe to drink.”

    This proposal comes from the legislative recommendations of the Mahomet Aquifer Task Force, established last year to help maintain clean water and determine any action to protect the natural resource.

    SB 2027 was approved by the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee and is scheduled for consideration in the Senate.

  • Senators welcome FFA Day visitors

    SPRINGFIELD – Members of the Illinois State Senate met with FFA students from around the state today to have conversations about the importance of agriculture and the need for quality agriculture education in Illinois.

    More than 1,000 FFA students and their vocational-agriculture teachers came to Springfield for the 49th annual Illinois Agriculture Legislative Day. Initiated in the 1920s, FFA's primary activities center on agriculture education including scholarships and leadership and personal development.

    “For decades, FFA has been fundamental to agricultural education in Illinois and across the country,” said State Senator Scott Bennett, the Senate’s Agriculture chairman. “Today’s FFA not only trains future farmers, it also helps prepare the next generation of scientists, veterinarians and businesses. It is always a pleasure to meet these bright and talented young men and women.”

    This annual advocacy day brings FFA students, farm, agricultural commodity organizations and other agricultural interest groups to Springfield to meet state lawmakers, share the agricultural community’s priorities for the year and offer feedback about policies concerning agriculture, business, conservation, education and more.

  • Senator BennettSPRINGFIELD – A plan by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) would protect the identifying information of a victim in the middle of a sexual assault investigation.

    “Privacy and confidentiality matter for victims of sexual assault,” Bennett said. “In this case, transparency can actually be a barrier to keep people from coming forward about sexual assault. This bill will help maintain confidentiality so that victims have peace of mind while they seek justice.”

    Senate Bill 2133 intends to change the definition of “private information” in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to include the name and any identifying information of a victim in a sexual assault investigation. Currently, the private information of a victim is not protected from private attorneys and media submitting FOIA requests.

    As a former prosecutor, Bennett has used his experiences to push for legislation to assist survivors of sexual assault. He is also the sponsor of a 2017 law that eliminated the statute of limitations on sexual crimes against children.

    SB 2133 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is scheduled for consideration in the Senate.

  • Sen. Bennett congratulates Schlarman Academy Basketball Team on state championshipSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) welcomed the players and coaching staff of the Schlarman Academy girls’ basketball team to the Illinois Capitol today to recognize their second consecutive state title.

    Bennett was joined on the Senate floor by the players and Head Coach Keith Peoples as he presented the team with a special tribute honoring their accomplishment.

    “Two consecutive championships is an outstanding achievement,” Bennett said. “I am honored to recognize these incredible young women who have put in a tremendous amount of hard work this season on and off the court. They have not only played hard, but they have represented Danville and Vermilion County with dignity and respect, and have raised the bar for future teams.”