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  • Senate Latino Caucus meets with immigration advocates

    SPRINGFIELD – Senate Latino Caucus members joined Senate President John Cullerton, President Pro Tempore Don Harmon and immigrant and refugee rights advocates this week to discuss the Senate’s recent actions taken to protect immigrant communities.

    “I’m the son of hard-working immigrants, and as an elected official it is my honor and duty to support policies that continue to give the immigrant community the opportunities my family has had in the United States of America,” Latino Caucus Co-Chair Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) said. “Donald Trump is trying to take away these opportunities in the land that I love, but policies like these give hope to our people and show we are a force that can use our sacred legislative process to fight back against bigotry.”

  •  Loyola Ramblers

    On March 24, 2018, the Loyola Ramblers defeated Kansas State 78-62 to advance to play in their second Final Four in school history. On May 9, they came to the Illinois Senate at the Capitol in Springfield.

    Loyola alum and Senate President John Cullerton welcomed Coach Porter Moser, MVC Coach of the Year, and his team to celebrate the exciting 2017-18 season that culminated in a journey to the NCAA Final Four.

    The woman at the Ramblers’ side for their wild March Madness ride, 98-year-old Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, who has served as team chaplain since 1996, accompanied them again today to Springfield. Sister Jean became a media sensation and a top-selling bobble head at the Loyola bookstore. She also threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Cubs’ season opener this spring.

    The Senate approved a resolution, SR1703, sponsored by President Cullerton. It congratulates the team on their magnificent season in the Missouri Valley Conference and NCAA Tournament. The resolution also points out the many individual honors earned by team members and the inspirational role of Sister Jean.

    The 2018 Ramblers set numerous records this year; the university and its basketball team have a history of breaking records, most notably in 1963 when they won the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament national championship under the leadership of All-American Jerry Harkness. That year, Loyola also spurred a national conversation on race with their integrated team, in one instance holding a game in secret to circumvent segregation laws.

    Here is our look back at that season from a visit by the 1963 team to the Illinois Senate in 2013, on the occasion of their induction to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

     

     

     

  • Sen. President John J. Cullerton

    SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate will return to a regular session at 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 13 with the intention of acting on school funding legislation. The governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1, the historic overhaul of Illinois’ much-maligned school funding system, awaits Senate action. Meanwhile, there are ongoing efforts to try to reach a reasonable compromise on the issue.

    Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton issued the following statement:

    “The Illinois Senate will return to session on Sunday to take action on education funding. This is a priority Senate Democrats have been working on for the better part of four years. I remain optimistic that there is a path to a reasonable compromise on a fair school funding system that improves public education across all of Illinois. That has been our goal from day one.

    “One way or another, we are going to get a fair funding system that improves education in all public schools in Illinois for the long term.”

  • Senate President John J. Cullerton

    The state’s lingering budget stalemate could end quickly if Republican lawmakers would prioritize a balanced budget deal over their political allegiance to Governor Bruce Rauner, Senate President John J. Cullerton told reporters on Friday.

    “This could all be over if the will is there,” Cullerton said at a Capitol news conference. His comments come as the state creeps ever closer to a third year without a budget under Rauner, who the Wall Street Journal recently dubbed ‘Governor Junk.’

    “The pressure is really on the Republicans in the House, and I think they really want to get this done as well,” said Cullerton.

    The Illinois Senate approved a balanced budget and reform plans last month, but the Illinois House has not yet reached agreement on the budget plan. With the initial May 31 deadline past, it now requires 71 votes in the 118-member House to approve a budget deal. That gives the political minority Republicans a share of the driver’s seat.

    If Republicans could reach a bipartisan deal with Democrats in the House, that deal could be added onto the framework the Senate already passed and quickly approved, perhaps even in a day. Instead of negotiating a deal, Rauner and his Republican allies have focused on a new series of proposals that not only require far longer to get approved but are also inherently out of balance since they forgot to file any proposal to pay for the spending.

    Cullerton called for “an intervention” among Republicans in the House to work on a balanced budget and get it approved before the state’s budget year runs out next week.

    The Senate President also derided as a “political stunt” a series of Special Sessions the governor ordered to force lawmakers back to the Capitol, even though the Senate already addressed all the issues he listed.

    “Everything the special session would do, we have done in the Senate,” Cullerton said. “I think they were unfortunately designed to be a political stunt to give the governor cover.”

    Cullerton also criticized the governor for again intervening and pulling Republicans out of a planned meeting of legislative leaders. The Senate President said these meetings are key because the four leaders have a history of being able to work together to get results.

  • Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton is often invited to speak to groups and organizations about the fiscal realities Illinois faces with its budget. This presentation was put together to help illustrate the real pressures from both the budget and the growing backlog of unpaid bills.

    The following slides walk through where the state of Illinois gets its funding, where that funding goes, the true pressures facing the state budget and the devastating trajectory of the backlog of unpaid bills.

    The Senate President has been working on what’s been called a “Grand Bargain” to try to stabilize the state’s finances and enact key economic reforms.

     

  • Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) shares his thoughts on the passage of SB2047, a stopgap budget measure.


  • Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) holds a press conference in Chicago to discuss the progress of a negotiated budget.


  • Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) holds a media availability late in the evening on May 31, 2016.


  • Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) addresses the media following a leader's meeting the morning of May 31, 2016.


  • Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) speaks to his experience as a veteran as well as the importance of Memorial Day in America.


  • Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) spoke at an AFSCME Rally at the capitol on May 18, 2016.


  • Senate President John J. Cullerton takes questions from reporters following the Leaders' Meeting on May 17, 2016.


  • Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago) defends his vote to override the governor's veto of MAP grant funding on March 2, 2016.


  • Senate President John J. Cullerton shares remarks and a brief Q&A following the governor's budget address on February 17, 2016 in the State Capitol.


  • Senate President John Cullerton appeared on IL Lawmakers following the governor’s budget address on February 17, 2016.


  • Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton delivers his annual speech at the City Club Chicago luncheon on January 25, 2016.


  • Cullerton to City Club: School funding reform the defining crisis of our timeSenate President John Cullerton on Monday called Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula the defining crisis of our time and challenged Gov. Bruce Rauner to turn around Illinois by making fair funding for schools his top priority.

    Cullerton outlined the problems with Illinois’ school-funding formula during a sold-out speech at the City Club of Chicago, whose members include prominent civic, business and government leaders.

    “Our students, parents, teachers and taxpayers are tired of the bickering, tired of the impasse,” Cullerton said. “They’re looking for leaders with the courage to step beyond the status quo and do what’s right. Today I’m asking my colleagues to take that step.”

    Illinois has not updated its school funding formula since 1997. The system has resulted in striking inequities across Illinois’ school districts, rewarding wealthier communities and penalizing impoverished communities where students need more resources to succeed.

    In addition, Illinois covers barely a third of the total cost of public education, while most states cover half.

    As a result, the performance gap that divides rich and poor students, as well as students of color, ranks among the worst in the nation. Illinois is 42nd in terms of the gap in reading scores among these students, and it falls among the bottom 10 in the achievement gap between black and white students.

    Cullerton said Illinois leaders must ask themselves two questions: How much are we going to spend on education, and how are we going to spend it?

    “If the money isn’t going to help students in need, it doesn’t really matter how much we spend,” he said. “That’s why our funding formula needs to be overhauled.”

    To level the playing field among schools, Cullerton said a new funding approach must include some key principles:

    • State resources should go to school districts based on the needs of students, with more funds to support children who need extra support – those who live in poverty, have special learning needs and who are English language learners.
    • There should be a single, straightforward funding model and no more special deals for some districts.
    • The formula must account for a district’s ability to support local schools with local dollars, and accountability must follow those dollars.

    Cullerton noted that no one wants any school district to lose money. But in Illinois’ system of winning and losing school districts, there are far too many losers.

    “There’s a reason why the current school funding formula has been in place for two decades. It’s hard to change an entrenched status quo. It requires true, dedicated leadership,” Cullerton said. “The question is whether today’s leaders are up to the task.”

    Download the Senate President's City Club remarks
    Download the slides from the Senate President's presentation

     

     

  • Chief Justice Thomas R. FitzgeraldSPRINGFIELD - The following statement was released by Senate President John J. Cullerton on the passing of the Honorable Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald:

    “I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the family of Justice Fitzgerald as we all mourn the loss of an exceptional state leader and jurist. Justice Fitzgerald’s contribution to the Illinois Supreme Court and our state’s history is unquestionable. As a jurist with an unwavering commitment to the law and equity, he distinguished himself with great discernment and wisdom during some of Illinois’ most historic moments. I will always remember the leadership and dignity he embodied while serving as the first Chief Justice to preside over an impeachment trial conducted by the Illinois Senate.”

  • Illinois Senate President Applauds Mayor Emanuel’s Leadership on City FinancesCHICAGO – Senate President John J. Cullerton released the following statement regarding Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2016 budget address.

    “I join Mayor Emanuel in his efforts to both celebrate and protect our world-class city. We simply cannot ignore the painful reality that the city’s looming pension debt is threatening the financial stability of Chicago.  In the coming days, city and state leaders will be calling on Chicagoans to accept the challenges and financial obligations that come with maintaining the progress of the city that is the economic engine of Illinois.

  • BudgetCuts