T.Cullerton

  • Distracted driver

    Distracted driving and driver safety are issues that always need attention. As more young people drive and technology gets faster, the need to remind people of the perils of distracted driving increases exponentially.

    Senate Democrats approached road safety with an even greater sense of urgency following a tragically dangerous year for Illinois State Troopers on the road. In total, 15 state police cruisers were struck while on the side of the road. Three of those accidents resulted in fatalities in what was described as an unprecedented spike in collisions.

    State Senator Steve Stadelman passed Senate Bill 86, which clarifies that drivers may not use electronic devices to stream videos while they are driving, including tablets, laptops and video game controllers.

  • Senator Tom CullertonSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Tom Cullerton is taking action to help eliminate the backlog of evidence sitting unchecked at state forensic labs.

    Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed House Joint Resolution 7, which directs the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit of the Illinois State Police Division of Forensic Sciences.

    “Forensic evidence can make or break the outcome of a case,” Cullerton said. “These scientific procedures are increasingly important in solving crimes. It is imperative that we speed up this process to ensure that justice is delivered swiftly.”

    The resolution directs the Auditor General to examine crime labs’ equipment, procedures, and staffing levels with the goal of identifying and reporting to the General Assembly on factors preventing them from compliance with federal rules on swiftly processing evidence.

    The current backlog of biological evidence includes numerous cases of violent crimes, including murders, shootings, and criminal sexual assaults, that end up being delayed for long periods of time. It typically takes at least one year for biological evidence to be processed by the state crime labs.

    In today's climate where police and prosecutors are increasingly scrutinized about their procedures, DNA evidence is crucial to the successful prosecution of criminal cases.

    “One of the most important players in any type of testimony often isn't a person but the forensic evidence,” Cullerton said. “Our hope is this report will provide the General Assembly with the knowledge to help give the Illinois State Police the necessary tools to drastically improve turnaround and ensure they are in compliance with federal protocols.”

    This bipartisan initiative is sponsored by State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in the House.

    House Joint Resolution 7 passed the Senate’s State Government Committee with bipartisan support and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

  • tc 050719SPRINGFIELD – Companies that profit off the use of their customers’ data would need to disclose precisely how they’re using it under new legislation by State Senator Tom Cullerton.

    Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed the Data Transparency and Privacy Act, which requires companies that collect personal information about consumers to identify what type of information is being collected and to what third parties the company is disclosing the consumer's personal information.

    “Illinois residents deserve to know what personal information companies are storing and sharing,” Cullerton said. “It’s plain and simple: This is your personal information, and you have the right to know who has access to it.”

    The proposed law requires companies that share personal information to a third party to make that information available to consumers, free of charge.  

    “Our entire financial livelihoods occur online now, from paying our electric bills to buying our groceries,” Cullerton said. “Using the internet should not require you to sacrifice privacy and personal security.”

    The Illinois Attorney General’s Office would have the authority to enforce the law.

    “It’s vital, as we embrace new technology in our business practices, that state laws evolve with the needs of the people of Illinois,” Cullerton said. “This change will help protect residents’ privacy and security.”

    The legislation is House Bill 3358. It passed the Senate’s Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.  

  • Illinois State TrooperVILLA PARK – In light of the last couple of deadly months on the highway for the Illinois State Troopers, Senator Tom Cullerton is pushing for greater awareness of existing laws that require Illinois drivers to slow down and give officers a wide berth.

    Cullerton (D-Villa Park) championed Senate Bill 947, which would require the Secretary of State to include information about Scott’s Law in every vehicle registration notice it sends to motorists. Scott’s Law requires that drivers must move over, if possible, and slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle.

    “Every day, State Troopers put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” said Cullerton. “In turn, we must do whatever we can to put a stop to these preventable, senseless accidents. It is plain and simple – when you see an emergency vehicle pulled over on the side of the road, you need to move over.”

  • tc 042419SPRINGFIELD – To help eliminate redundant bureaucracy, State Senator Tom Cullerton passed a measure to prohibit the State of Illinois from creating new units of local government. 

    Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 1215, which would prohibit the General Assembly from creating any new unit of local government until Jan. 1, 2022.

    “As a state with nearly 7,000 units of government, we need to take proactive steps to reduce and eliminate unnecessary layers bureaucracy,” Cullerton said. “This measure will put a stop to the overzealous creation of government entities while our municipalities evaluate and consolidate services to promote the efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”

  • tc 031919VILLA PARK – Medical professionals may soon have access to training to help ensure individuals with developmental disabilities are as comfortable as possible, thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton.

    Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 1214 last week, which requires the Department of Public Health to ensure that those who draw blood employ the most current methods available when treating individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    “Medical visits can be stressful for all of us, but especially for people with developmental disabilities,” Cullerton said. “We need to ensure that communication and sensory issues are taken into account when medical professionals complete procedures such as blood draws.”

    Senate Bill 1214 was an initiative of Michael Baker, the parent of a young adult son with autism.

    “I would like to thank Senator Tom Cullerton for taking up this legislation in the Senate and listening to the healthcare needs of my son with autism,” Baker said. “I hope that this legislation to improve training and equipping of healthcare professionals on how to draw blood from all children and adults with developmental disabilities in a safe and comfortable manner, will lead to more progress in the quality of healthcare for people like my son.”

    Senate Bill 1214 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and will move to the House for consideration.

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  • Pediatric NurseSPRINGFIELD – Having blood drawn can be a very anxious thing for a child with autism. Thanks to Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), medical professionals may soon have access to training to help ensure individuals and developmental disabilities are as comfortable as possible.

    Cullerton advanced Senate Bill 1214 on Tuesday, which requires the Department of Public Health to ensure that those who draw blood have the most current method of drawing blood from individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities available.

    “Health care professionals strive to provide the best possible care to all patients,” Cullerton said. “This measure ensures that they receive training on the best practices to draw blood from patients that are living with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as Autism and Down’s syndrome have a good medical experience.”

    The Department of Public Health will be required to compile current methods of drawing blood from children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Senate Bill 1214 was an initiative of Michael Baker, a parent advocate of a young adult son with a developmental disability.

    “Medical visits can be stressful for all of us, but especially for individuals who can often face extra challenges,” Cullerton said. “We need to ensure that communication and sensory issues are taken into account when medical professionals perform procedures such as blood draws.”

    Senate Bill 1214 passed the Senate’s Committee on Public Health with bipartisan support and will move to the full Senate for consideration.

  • tcullerton 031319SPRINGFIELD – State Senators Tom Cullerton and Suzy Glowiak, joined DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and representatives of the Transform Illinois coalition on Wednesday to highlight and support proposed legislation limiting the size, scope and cost of local government.

    “Government consolidation is one powerful tool we can use to find efficiencies,” Cullerton said. “Transform Illinois continues to be vital in helping lawmakers reduce the government’s footprint without sacrificing services for local residents. I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure government evolves with the needs of the people of Illinois.”

  • GreenhouseSPRINGFIELD – An Elmhurst family may soon be able to extend their backyard gardening season, thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

    The Senate’s Local Government Committee heard testimony on Wednesday in support of Cullerton’s measure, Senate Bill 1675, which would stop municipalities from banning the construction of a season extension or crop protection device such as a hoop house from October 1 to April 15 every year.

    “Hoop houses allow residents to extend growing season to grow fresh produce all year round,” Cullerton said. “It’s a shame that the state needed to get involved to allow local residents to take advantage of countless health benefits throughout our winter months. My hope is the City of Elmhurst reaches a swift and responsible decision in the next week to avoid the state’s involvement.”

    The issue began in 2015, when city officials told Nicole Virgil and her husband, Dan, that their hoop house violated city rules and directed them to take it down. The Virgils had designed and built a hoop house, which is a series of large hoops or bows—made of metal, plastic pipe or wood—covered with a layer of heavy greenhouse plastic. The plastic is stretched tight and fastened to baseboards with strips of wood, metal or wire. Hoop houses can be used to grow some crops year-round.

    Since then, the Virgils have been battling zoning restrictions to get the city’s permission to extend their backyard gardening season. The Elmhurst City Council voted on the matter again in February, blocking the hoop house with the mayor casting a rare tie-breaker vote.

    “Local and state government exists to preserve the rights of the people,” Nicole Virgil said. “I would like units of local government to respect and support the benign backyard activities of residents.”

    The initiative is supported by the Illinois Environmental Council, Sustain DuPage, Urban Canopy, DuPage County Farm Bureau, DuPage NAACP, Eco-Justice Collaborative, Sierra Club and Elmhurst Hoop House. Nearly 1,500 supporters have expressed their support for the measure.

    Cullerton hopes the City of Elmhurst will enact policies that will allow residents like Virgil to keep backyard gardens year round. The matter remains under discussion in the Senate’s Local Government Committee.

  • pow mia flag 030719SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ lost heroes may soon be recognized at local airports, thanks to Senator Tom Cullerton.

    Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 1127 on Thursday to require the Division of Aeronautics under the Department of Transportation fly the Veteran Missing in Action flag at all of the airports in their jurisdiction.

    “Our lost heroes should never be forgotten,” Cullerton said. “This small gesture helps keep our missing heroes from all wars in our hearts and minds.”

  • tc 052918MANTENO— State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is praising Gov. JB Pritzker’s move to protect Illinois’ veterans.

    On Friday, Pritzker issued an executive order to examine and get to the bottom of the Legionnaires’ crisis in the state’s veterans’ homes.

    Pritzker’s administration is directing the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to issue a report 120 days that will provide a comprehensive review of weaknesses, strengths and opportunities for improvement of policies, protocols and procedures related to ensuring the health and safety of residents and employees at Illinois veterans’ homes.

  • tc 042018VILLA PARK— Starting Jan. 1, 2019, Illinois residents will have a faster method to speed up the government consolidation process, thanks to Villa Park Democrat State Senator Tom Cullerton.

    The new law will accomplish this by decreasing the waiting period from 150 to 60 days after the first mandated county audit is performed.

    “Consolidating government the right way will help lower property taxes for DuPage County residents,” Cullerton said. “Speeding up the process will help residents experience government savings sooner rather than later.”

    Previously, it could take over two and a half years for some Illinois counties to consolidate local government entities.

    In 2013, Cullerton worked with DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin to implement an effective government consolidation model to eliminate redundant forms of government. Last year, Cullerton continued to advance his mission of making sure government is working in tune with the needs of Illinois’ residents.

    “Government should change to fit the needs of the people,” Cullerton said. “Outdated and ineffective government entities are a blatant disservice to the public. This commonsense change will ensure government works more efficiently and effectively to serve the citizens of Illinois.”

    When the original DuPage pilot program was created in 2013, Cullerton agreed to a number of provisions, including a 150-day waiting period after the first audit was performed. House Bill 5777 reduces that waiting period from 150 to 60 days to speed up the process and help counties receive results more promptly.

    “DuPage County is proof government consolidation works,” Cullerton said. “Saving vital taxpayer money while working toward effective government is a win for everyone involved.”

  • tc 050918VILLA PARK – Starting Jan. 1, 2019, Illinois will have a new law on the books to fight the misuse of taxpayer dollars.

    The law sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will eliminate severance packages for employees that have been fired for misconduct and limit government-paid severance packages to an amount no greater than 20 weeks of compensation.

    “This commonsense law will protect Illinois taxpayers from being on the hook for the actions of discredited public officials,” Cullerton said. “This will help put a stop to the state handing out blank checks to those who fail to do their jobs.”

    The law was brought forward by Cullerton in partnership with the Better Government Association.

    The Daily Herald reported that suburban taxpayers are often hit the hardest by this practice. Government administrators are frequently advised to grant rich severances in an attempt to head off employment litigation, so the law is aimed at counteracting these actions.

    Some of the employees who were fired for misconduct have received severance pay packages.

    Cullerton’s new law will be known as the Government Severance Pay Act and is expected to save taxpayers millions of dollars over the next decade.

    “The days of handing out bloated severance packages to disgraced public officials are coming to an end,” Cullerton said. “Our state cannot afford to waste a single penny, especially to help folks who treat taxpayers like their own personal piggy bank.”

    Senate Bill 3604 passed the Senate and House with unanimous support. Cullerton will continue to work to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the 101st General Assembly which is scheduled to start at the beginning of the new year.

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  • Sen. Tom Cullerton Certificate of RecognitionWASHINGTON, DC – The United States Department of Defense recently recognized State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) for his leadership in shaping policies that positively impact the lives of service members and families in Illinois.

    “I’m honored to receive this prestigious designation for my efforts to better the lives of our military personnel, veterans and their families,” Cullerton said. “Our nation’s heroes have served our great country with honor and respect and have made countless sacrifices to protect our freedoms. The new laws we passed this year serve as a small token of appreciation for all they do to keep us safe.”

    Cullerton served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman. He continues to use his military experience to implement commonsense legislation that makes resources easily accessible for Illinois’ veterans.

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  • Sen. Tom CullertonNew law will create alert system for missing veterans

    VILLA PARK – A new law to alert police and emergency professionals of missing veterans will take effect Jan. 1, thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

    Cullerton’s House Bill 4212 expands the use of the Endangered Missing Person Advisory system known as the Silver Alert to veterans who are believed to have physical or mental conditions related to their service. It was signed into law on Friday.

    Per the new law, the public would be notified when a high-risk veteran goes missing. The alert would be similar to Amber Alerts, which are already used by the state to locate missing children.

    “Our veterans have put their lives in harm’s way to protect us. When our heroes return home, we need to find ways to look out for them,” Cullerton said. “This new law will help us save lives.”

    The effort is the latest in a long line of veteran protections put in place by Cullerton.

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  • 04262018CM0104RVILLA PARK – On Sept. 7, 2017, Equifax announced that a security breach compromised the personal information of 143 million U.S. residents, including more than 5.4 million Illinois residents.

    There will now be protections against the consequences of such breaches thanks to a measure championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), which will allow consumers to protect themselves in a cost-effective and timely manner.

    “This new law will ensure people are not penalized for making responsible financial decisions,” Cullerton said. “Every day Illinois residents use online services that require them to share personal information. This makes all of us susceptible to security breaches similar to the 2017 Equifax breach. When misfortune strikes, it’s vital that the State of Illinois ensure DuPage County residents have the tools available to protect themselves.”