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Bennett defends Champaign-Urbana from Rauner’s attacks

bennett 040218CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is condemning Governor Bruce Rauner’s baseless remarks against Champaign-Urbana.

During a radio interview in Chicago last Friday, Rauner criticized Champaign-Urbana’s workers and transportation systems.

“Champaign-Urbana is wonderful,” Rauner told WGN AM-720. “But it’s very hard to keep a company of more than six people there. There’s no convenient transportation, not much of a workforce, and it’s very hard.”

Bennett is surprised and disappointed in Governor Rauner’s claims against the workforce.

Bennett passes legislation to honor fallen officers involved in gunfight

bennett 053018SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to honor two officers and a civilian killed in a gunfight in 1979, along with another officer wounded in the battle, was adopted by the General Assembly this week.  

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) sponsored House Joint Resolution 21, which designates the overpass where Ford County Road 200 North crosses Interstate 57 South of Paxton as the McCarter-Caisse-Vice-Hale Memorial Overpass.

“I am very proud to sponsor this legislation,” Bennett said. “Even though their service and sacrifice occurred years ago, time should not diminish the impact of their deaths and the importance of their lives.”

On April 7, 1979, the three officers and one civilian were involved in a gunfight with members of a Michigan family after a traffic stop on I-57 south of Paxton.

Illinois State Police Trooper Michael McCarter, Paxton Police Department Patrolman William Caisse and civilian, Donald Vice, were shot and killed. Larry C. Hale of the Paxton Police Department was wounded.

“I am very glad that there is now a memorial to honor these brave men who gave their lives protecting our community,” Bennett said. “My hope is that this memorial will inspire future generations of dedicated public servants as they serve and sacrifice.”

Bennett announces $1.6 million grant for bicycle and pedestrian path in Danville

bennett 032318DANVILLE – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is excited to announce that families in Danville will soon be able to enjoy a new bicycle and pedestrian trail.

The City of Danville was awarded $1.6 million through the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program forthe Denmark Road bicycle and pedestrian path.

“This is a great opportunity to expand recreational offerings in Danville,” Bennett said. “Not only do shared-use trails enhance the quality-of-life in our communities, bicycle-friendly and walkable cities often create positive economic impact as well.”

The $1.6 million investment will be used to construct sidewalks, add bicycle lanes and improve lighting along Denmark Road coinciding with the sanitary improvements there and on Old Ottawa Road.

Bennett passes legislation to support local tourism

bennett 040318SPRINGFIELD – Local tourism groups will get some state funding to help cover overhead under a plan by State Senator Scott Bennett that passed the Illinois Senate this week.

Senate Bill 2899 would reduce the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities (DCEO) ability to reserve and use 10 percent of the local tourism funds for administrative costs to three percent.

“We all know how valuable our local tourism programs are, especially in Illinois’ bicentennial year,” said Bennett (D-Champaign). “This bill is a great opportunity to get some more funds into local tourism groups to help better promote our communities as destinations and bring money back to Illinois.”

Under current law, DCEO uses 10 percent of the revenue from the Hotel Operators Occupation Tax for the operational costs of local tourism programs. However, due to state’s backlog of unpaid bills, the Comptroller has not been sending out the full payments, causing local tourism groups to make cuts in their budget. 

Bennett said that this has harmed local tourism groups such as Visit Champaign County and others, which have been forced to cancel events, cut advertisements, leave positions unfilled and send fewer people out on the road to promote their cities.  

“These are small things that add up over the course of a fiscal year that impede our ability to showcase Illinois as a true tourist destination,” Bennett said. “We have so much to offer and right now, we need to focus on getting that money out of Springfield and into local offices where they can do the most good.”

SB 2899 passed with bipartisan support and will now move to the House for consideration.

Sen. Scott Bennett

Senator Scott Bennett

52nd Senate District

Years served: 2015 - Present

Associated Representatives: Carol Ammons; Chad Hays

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations II; Criminal Law; Gaming; Higher Education; Labor.

Biography: Bennett grew up in Gibson City, where four generations of his family worked on their family farm. He moved to Champaign-Urbana to attend law school at the University of Illinois after graduating from Illinois State University.