Cunningham

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    SPRINGFIELD –Today the Illinois Senate voted 42-13 to protect workers’ rights and override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1905, sponsored by Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago). The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act blocks Gov. Rauner’s campaign to engage municipalities in creating right-to-work areas in support of moves to boost corporate profits at the expense of workers.

    Sen. Silverstein released the following statement: "Illinois’ future success depends on its support of the middle class. Workers and employers should not be restricted from bargaining collectively as they continue building our economy, and local governments have no place enforcing a rule that constrains this freedom.

    "The Collective Bargaining Freedom Act upholds the rights of hard working Illinoisans to expect good wages, benefits and working conditions in exchange for their labors. This veto rejects restrictions of those rights and rejects the governor’s continuing efforts to undermine organized labor in a state that relies on it to operate and extend our economy and our future. In spite of efforts by the governor and his pro-corporate profit supporters to squelch these rights, we will not grow our economy by taking part in a race to the bottom in wages earned by Illinois families."

    Senate Bill 1905 passed both houses initially in July with bipartisan support, and was vetoed by the governor on September 29. It now goes to the House for their consideration.

    Other Democratic senators spoke in support of the veto override:

    Senator Cristina Castro (Elgin): “I am happy to see that my colleagues helped protect the people of Illinois by working together to defeat Governor Rauner’s corporate agenda. We can’t let companies profit at the expense of our workers.”

    Senator Scott Bennett (Champaign): “Right-to-work is an inaccurate name for a policy designed to take away rights from hardworking families. This law will help tilt the balance away from big corporations and boardroom executives that work to rig the system at the expense of working families.”

    Senator Tom Cullerton (Villa Park): “Illinois businesses will only thrive if we treat workers with the dignity and respect they deserve. Governor Rauner’s harmful boardroom tactics benefit his friends at the expense of Illinois residents. Rauner’s extreme anti-worker agenda has no place in Illinois.”

    Senator Bill Haine (Alton): “The facts are clear: right-to-work policies do nothing but reduce workers’ wages and make workplaces more dangerous. The governor’s veto was yet another attempt to decrease wages for working families and ensure higher profits for his wealthy friends.”

    Senator Terry Link (Vernon Hills): “At a time when workers’ rights are under constant attack, it is important that we protect the rights of Illinoisans by ensuring that local governments can’t take away those rights. Dismantling collective bargaining rights would lead to lower wages and a loss of benefits for Illinois workers, and I refuse to let that happen.”

    Senator Laura Murphy (Des Plaines): "Since taking office, the governor has attempted to roll back employees’ rights and weaken the unions on the backs of which this state was built. All employees benefit from collective bargaining, even those that do not participate in organized labor. I hope this vote sends a strong message to the governor that I will not support his attack on the middle class.”

    Senator Iris Y. Martinez (Chicago): “Once again, the governor showed that he cares more about big businesses than the citizens of Illinois. Right-to-work laws lower wages, something that would disproportionately harm lower-income Illinoisans. I am glad the Senate stood up to the governor today and protected the hard-working men and women of our state.”

    Senator Bill Cunningham (Chicago): “Right-to-work is wrong for Illinois. Right-to-work and other anti-union measures are designed to do nothing more than lower workers’ wages to pad corporate profits.”

    Senator Don Harmon (Oak Park): “This issue has been litigated several times already, and we have our answer – only the state, not local governments, can create right-to-work laws. The governor’s veto was nothing more than a continuation of his radical anti-union agenda. Today’s override will ensure that workers across the state retain the fair representation they deserve.”

    Senator Kwame Raoul (Chicago): “The governor likes to claim that he’s pro-business, but he supports measures that are anything but. Everyone loses when right-to-work laws are in place. We cannot improve the business climate of Illinois if we implement laws that lower wages and strip away workers’ rights.”

     

     

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  • cunningham 022817SPRINGFIELD – A bipartisan measure to close a conflict of interest loophole in Illinois statute became law on Tuesday.

    “Good government should apply to everyone throughout the state,” said State Senator Bill Cunningham. “This new law will help ensure grant awards aren’t compromised by conflicts of interest.”

    The new law bans members of the Illinois Energy Conservation Advisory Council from receiving any state grants for teaching continuing education regarding any rule proposed by the council. The measure received unanimous support in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.

    “This is not the end of our work. We need to continue as a state to close these loopholes and this law is just a step in the right direction,” Cunningham said.

    The new law is effective immediately.

  • Sen. Bill CunninghamSPRINGFIELD — Local communities will soon have new protections to stop squatters from legally taking possession of abandoned homes or businesses thanks to a measure signed into law this week.

    The new law, sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham, was introduced when a squatter attempted to take control of an abandoned building in Beverly by utilizing a loophole in an obscure housing law.

    "An individual moved into an abandoned storefront on a commercial street and attempted to claim ownership of the property under a law designed to improve dilapidated housing," Cunningham said. "If alert neighbors hadn't called the police, the scheme might have succeeded in civil court."

  • FingerprintsSPRINGFIELD – Custody of defendants with mental health issues will become more streamlined due to legislation being signed into law.

    “We need to make resources readily available to ensure the mental health of anyone determined to be unfit to stand trial are dealt with appropriately,” State Senator Bill Cunningham said.

    The legislation, House Bill 649, would create a formal process for the county sheriff and the Department of Human Services to handle custody of defendants found unfit to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity. It provides requirements regarding the evaluation and transportation of the defendant to a secure facility.

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  • cunningham52617SPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham discusses the importance of MAP grants to Illinois colleges and students in a video released today.

    “If we’re going to make our state a better place to live and make sure people are upwardly mobile from an economic standpoint, map grants are a very important part of that,” Cunningham said.

    Cunningham’s comments are in response to a letter to alumni from Saint Xavier University, a private college in Chicago, explaining that it is owed $6.4 million by the state of Illinois for promised Monetary Award Program grants to students. This is money that is not going into the local economy, Cunningham said.

    To view the video: click here

    In May, the Illinois Senate passed a balanced budget that would properly fund MAP grants for local colleges and universities, including Saint Xavier.

    Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

  • cunningham 031517SPRINGFIELD – School districts throughout the southwest suburbs and the state, ignored by Illinois’ worst-in-the nation education funding formula, could soon see an increase in state aid under a reform measure that passed the Illinois General Assembly last week.

    “I was proud to stand in support of Senate Bill 1, a measure that will fix the worst funding formula in our country. We needed a real solution that not only properly funded our schools but also delivered property tax relief to high-tax districts—and we have done that with this legislation,” said State Senator Bill Cunningham.

    Senate Bill 1 was vetted by multiple organizations throughout the state. It had the support of superintendents, school boards and teachers. If signed by the governor, it would be the first significant update to the funding formula in more than 20 years.

    Earlier this week, the Illinois State Board of Education released estimates for each school district and showed that no school district in the state would see less state funding under Senate Bill 1 when compared to the current funding formula.

    It also provided extra support for those in need and offered additional property tax relief.

    The estimated overall gain that area school districts would experience under Senate Bill 1 based on the current-year funding levels:

    • Chicago Ridge School District 127-5 -- $880,000
    • Community High School District 218 -- $409,448
    • Cons High School District 230 -- $209,950
    • North Palos School District 117 -- $315,924
    • Oak Lawn Community HS District 229 -- $135,174
    • Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 -- $146,644
    • Worth School District 127 -- $193,129

    In addition, Senate Bill 1, high-tax school districts would be eligible for property tax relief up to 1 percent of their EAV. Estimated relief for five area school districts:

    • Chicago Ridge School District 127-5 -- $573,844
    • Community High School District 218 -- $6.62 million
    • North Palos School District 117-- $4.01 million
    • Oak Lawn Community HS District 229 -- $2.51 million
    • Worth School District 127 -- $1.11 million

    Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

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  • DefendantSPRINGFIELD – Custody of defendants with mental health issues could become more streamlined and appropriate due to legislation that passed the Illinois Senate on Monday.

    “We need to provide the necessary resources to ensure the mental health of those determined to be unfit to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity be dealt with appropriately,” said State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago). “It will only help to keep our communities safer in the long run.”

    The legislation, House Bill 649, would create a formal process for the county sheriff and the Department of Human Services to handle custody of defendants found unfit to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity. It provides requirements regarding the evaluation and transportation of the defendant to a secure facility.

    The legislation now moves to the governor’s desk for approval.

  • cunningham 050217SPRINGFIELD – Families in Mount Greenwood, Beverly and Morgan Park could soon see increased enrollment opportunities to the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHAS) because of legislation passed by the Illinois Senate on Wednesday.

    Senate Bill 447, sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago), would allow for 40 more seats to be opened up to local families and would statutorily authorize the special education cluster that currently exists at the school

    “The Ag School is a top-tier school, and anytime it is possible we should be increasing access to schools like these,” Cunningham said. “By doing this we allow more families to have an opportunity to keep their kids closer to home.”

    CHAS was created by state law more than 20 years ago. Though the school has provided special education services for years, those programs were not recognized by state law until the introduction of Senate Bill 447.

    “Special education services should be guaranteed at schools, like the Ag School, that offer students unique education experiences,” Cunningham said. “This measure helps accomplish that and provides some stability for families in our community.”

    The legislation now moves to the House for further consideration.

  • cunningham 031517SPRINGFIELD – College students needing to buy a new computer for school use or who utilize special needs services could soon be able to use their Illinois’ College Savings Plan to do so due to a measure passed by the Illinois Senate on Thursday.

    “Today, computers are just as necessary as textbooks,” Cunningham said. “If you don’t have easy access to a computer your chances of succeeding plummet.”

    Senate Bill 1758 would add computers and other technology based expenses to the definition of qualified expenses for the purposes of one’s Illinois’ College Savings Plan. Expenses from special needs services connected with enrollment or attendance would also be defined as qualified expenses.

    “The state restricting a student with special needs from using their college savings accounts to pay for required expenses related to successfully attend college is ridiculous,” Cunningham said. “By passing this legislation, we can put every student closer to succeeding in their post-secondary goals.”

    The measure passed the full Senate unanimously. It moves to the House for further consideration.

  • Sen. Bill CunninghamSPRINGFIELD – Chicago teachers and retirees could see their livelihoods be slashed due to inaction from the governor’s office.

    “Chicago teachers and retirees are on the front lines every day trying to educate our next generation as best they can with what little resources they have,” Senator Bill Cunningham said. “The state should be doing more to support all teachers including those in Chicago.”

    Legislation has been passed multiple times to ensure that Chicago teachers would receive the proper pension that they were promised when they took the job. But each time, the governor has continued to attack their ability to do their job.

  • cunningham 022817SPRINGFIELD – On Thursday, Senator Bill Cunningham and officials from the University of Illinois announced a new financial aid program that will be a part of the larger University of Illinois “Investment, Performance, and Accountability Commitment.” The goal of the commitment is to set a tuition cap and increase access to the University of Illinois for Illinois students.

    “This new program continues to drive home the fact that universities like the U of I system should be finding ways to bring real results for Illinois taxpayers,” Cunningham said. “This legislation is a step in the right direction to ensure taxpayer money being spent is doing what it is supposed to be doing, helping Illinois.”

    The legislation, Senate Bill 222, would guarantee a minimum level of funding for the University of Illinois system in return for the system meeting certain benchmarks including a tuition cap and increased access for Illinois students. The forthcoming amendment looks to help U of I achieve the goals set. If the university system were to fail their expectations the state could withhold a portion of the guaranteed funding.

    “This legislation could be a template for other universities throughout the state,” Cunningham said. “It provides stability in university planning and gives the Illinois taxpayers tangible results on how that money is being spent.”

    Senate Bill 222 is currently under consideration by the Senate’s Higher Education committee.

  • cunningham 031517SPRINGFIELD – College students needing to buy a new computer for school use or who utilize special needs services could soon be able use their Illinois’ College Savings Plan to do so due to a measure being pushed by State Senator Bill Cunningham and State Treasurer Michael Frerichs.

    “In today’s society every college student needs a computer to even think about succeeding in college,” Cunningham said. “It is just as necessary as textbooks.”

    The measure, Senate Bill 1758, would add computers and other technology based expenses to the definition of qualified expenses for the purposes of one’s Illinois’ College Savings Plan. Expenses from special needs services connected with enrollment or attendance would also be defined as qualified expenses.

    “It is unfair for a college or university to put extra cost requirements on a student with special needs to successfully attend and then the state rejects the student’s ability to use their Bright Start Account to pay for those required expenses,” Cunningham said.

    The measure was passed out of the Senate’s State Government committee on Wednesday and moves to the full Senate for final passage.

  • devel dis 030717Stories pop up every day all across Illinois about the effects of the budget impasse. Those stories range from facility closures to students who may be on the hook for thousands of dollars for their education. One story in the 18th District shows that the developmentally disabled are especially at risk during the budget impasse.

    “Sertoma Centre is just one example of the crisis that the state is facing,” Senator Bill Cunningham said. “We need real governing to ensure that we can end this fiscal crisis that is doing real harm to our community.”

  • cunningham 022817SPRINGFIELD – On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate pushed through legislation that would finish funding state services through the end of the current fiscal year. The legislative package included legislation that would send promised MAP grant money to students for the current fiscal year.

    “The state of Illinois committed to assisting students in bettering themselves by attending a university or community colleges,” Cunningham said. “We need to send the money we promised these students so that they aren’t left hanging with the bill.”

    The legislation also would fund critical human service programs who saw what little funding was available from the stopgap proposal end on December 31.

    “Groups like Sertoma, Park Lawn and Sandbox Learning Center have gone for far too long with no certainty that funding is coming,” Cunningham said. “Today, we were able to give them some hope by starting to pass this compromise.”

  • hustlehancockCHICAGO – The story of a young Ian Piet and his family recently has caused two Illinois legislators to join his fight against lung cancer. State Senator Bill Cunningham and Representative Kelly Burke have signed up to Hustle Up the Hancock on February 26, 2017.

    “I met Ian at the State Capitol and listened to his story about how his dad struggled with lung cancer,” Cunningham said. “When he asked if I could join his team to find a cure for respiratory diseases like lung cancer I was ready.”