Bertino-Tarrant

  • jbt050216SPRINGFIELD— 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.

  • jbt050216SPRINGFIELD— A proposal to take money from drug-related crimes and put it to good use in the community became law on Friday.

    State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

    Under the new law, money taken from drug-related crimes may be used for public education programs in schools and in the community. These programs will focus on preventing students and others from abusing drugs and alcohol.

  • jbt041415SPRINGFIELD— 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.

  • jbt041415PLAINFIELD — 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.

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  • jbt vetloanSPRINGFIELD— 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.”

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  • jbt041415PLAINFIELD — 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.

  • jbt lobby pensionSPRINGFIELD— Employees of lobbying entities would be ineligible for a taxpayer-funded pension under legislation recently passed out of the Illinois Senate by State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). 

    Under Bertino-Tarrant’s plan, employees of certain organizations would no longer be able to collect a pension through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), State Universities Retirement System (SURS) and the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).

    “These pension systems shouldn’t be serving lobbying groups,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This makes no sense. The taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay these pensions.”

    Bertino-Tarrant’s commonsense proposal corrects a loophole in existing law.

    Currently, employees of these associations are eligible for a pension through IMRF, SURS or TRS.

    Amedia investigation found that former Illinois Association of Park Districts Executive Director Ted Flickinger had the third highest annual pension in IMRF at more than $245,000 annually. His salary was also boosted before he retired, which increased his pension. 

    “Ted Flickinger’s case is one example of the type of excessiveness that needs to stop,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Expensive pension perks for lobbyists and lobbying groups must be eliminated.” 

    Employees with the Illinois Principals Association or the Illinois Association of School Administrators can also currently receive a SURS retirement. An employee of a school board association can get a TRS pension.

    The changes made in Bertino-Tarrant’s legislation would apply to individuals employed by an identified organization after the law becomes effective.

    House Bill 4259 has already passed the Illinois House. It will now go to the governor’s desk for approval.

  • jbt041415SPRINGFIELD— 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.

  • Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) argues in favor of an evidence-based school funding model to reform education funding in Illinois.


  • jbt signSPRINGFIELD— Legislation allowing roads to be named after fallen soldiers from Illinois was passed out of the Illinois Senate today by State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

    “Service members who give the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms are true heroes, and we should always find ways to recognize their contributions,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Having a road named in their honor is one way to ensure a fallen soldier will be remembered.” 

    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 and pay 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’s plan has been passed by the Illinois House and Senate, and it will go to the governor for final approval.

    The lead sponsor of the legislation in the House is State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield). Bertino-Tarrant and Batinick worked together in a bipartisan manner on House Bill 4344.

  • jbt041415SPRINGFIELD— A proposal to extend the timeframe when someone could be prosecuted for financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person was passed out of the Illinois Senate today by State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

    Under current law, prosecution for financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person must occur within three years of the offense being committed. Bertino-Tarrant’s plan would increase the statute of limitations for this type of offense to seven years.

    “Financial exploitation against someone who is disabled or a senior should not be tolerated,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “My initiative gives victims the time needed to recognize and report the crime so that the prosecutor can bring charges and hold perpetrators accountable.”   

    In general, most states allow individuals to be prosecuted for financial exploitation of a senior or disabled person longer than three years after the offense occurred.

    Bertino-Tarrant co-sponsored a similar measure that passed out of the Senate. However, when it became uncertain that the House would vote on it, Bertino-Tarrant moved forward with her own proposal.

    House Bill 5805 will now go to the governor for final approval.

  • jbt vetloanSPRINGFIELD— 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.

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  • jbt dementiacareSPRINGFIELD— Under current Illinois law, residential and community-based programs can advertise that they specialize in providing dementia care without being adequately trained in how to work with dementia patients.

    State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) wants that to change.

    “A person with dementia deserves the best care possible,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The plan I’m backing will protect health care consumers from false advertising claims and ensure that staff taking care of dementia patients have been trained.”

    Legislation the senator is co-sponsoring would create minimum training standards for all residential and community-based programs that offer dementia care. The measure is necessary because some places have advertised that they are experts in dementia care without having the training to back up their claims.

    The Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 210,000 Illinois residents are affected by dementia. It is anticipated that there will be a 25 percent increase in dementia patients in nine years due to the aging baby boomer population.

    Senate Bill 2301 recently passed out of the Illinois Senate. It now goes to the Illinois House for approval.

  • jbt signSPRINGFIELD— 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.

  • jbt041415SPRINGFIELD— 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.

  • Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) discusses the importance of mandatory child bereavement for employers.


  • Dennis Hastert

    “I don’t want taxpayers’ dollars providing a retirement to this predator.”

    PLAINFIELD— Illinois State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said Thursday that former U.S. House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert is a disgrace to teachers and lawmakers and should be stripped of all taxpayer-funded pensions from past jobs.

    “I don’t want taxpayers’ dollars providing a retirement to this predator,” Bertino-Tarrant said. She sent a letter Thursday to the General Assembly Retirement System asking that it immediately take steps to suspend and revoke Hastert’s public pension benefits.

    On Wednesday, Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison for bank fraud stemming from efforts to cover up sex abuse dating back to his time as a teacher in Yorkville. Hastert later went on to serve in the Illinois General Assembly before being elected to Congress and rising to become the powerful U.S. House Speaker. He had qualified for pension benefits for his tenure as a teacher, state lawmaker and congressman.

    Illinois’ Teachers Retirement System canceled Hastert’s pension on Wednesday. However, the General Assembly system has not. Media reports have put his state lawmaker pension at roughly $28,000 annually.

    Bertino-Tarrant said taxpayers have no duty to provide retirement benefits to someone who betrayed them and victimized children.

    “Knowing what we know now, he would have been fired and jailed decades ago and would have lost his teacher’s pension and never had the chance to be a lawmaker, let alone get a pension. We have a chance to set the record straight. We should do so immediately as part of the effort to restore the public’s trust,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

    Her letter to the General Assembly Retirement System is here.