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Bennett applauds funding for building safety, educational programs at University of Illinois

bennett 070319CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined Governor JB Pritzker at the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus today to talk about the urgently needed improvements to facilities the governor recently signed into law.

Dubbed “Rebuild Illinois,” the capital construction plan invests $2.9 billion to support Illinois’ nine universities and 50 community colleges, in addition to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

“A lack of investment and a two-year budget impasse were devastating to our public university and community college system in Illinois,” Bennett said, who sits on the Senate Higher Education Committee. “I’m glad to see that Gov. Pritzker is committed to making the University of Illinois and our state leaders in higher education.”


Bennett votes for Danville casino

casinoSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted today to approve a bipartisan capital improvement budget and legislation to bring a long-awaited casino to Danville.

The multibillion dollar investment will create jobs, modernize the state’s infrastructure and include funds for the 52nd District to finance needed construction projects. It allocates funding for transportation projects including roads and bridges, education infrastructure, state facilities, environmental conservation projects and mental health care and human services centers.

The comprehensive capital plan also includes a measure to expand gaming in Illinois. Senate Bill 690 would authorize the building of six new casinos throughout the state, including one in Danville.

“We’ve been trying to bring a casino to Danville for years, and I’m thrilled that we finally have that chance,” Bennett said. “This tremendous opportunity to create revenue, jobs and economic growth in Danville is a direct result of the tireless advocacy from a coalition of Vermilion County elected officials who fought for decades to include Danville in gaming expansion in our state.”

Sports betting would also be legalized under the bill. Existing casinos, races tracks and sports facilities would be allowed to apply for a license.

Bennett said a casino will help Danville and Illinois remain competitive with other states, bring both temporary and permanent jobs and create much-needed local revenue for the area.

“This will provide an economic spark for the economy in Danville,” Bennett said. “This is revenue that could be invested in schools, public health and social services or workforce training and job development that can help families and communities in the area.”

Having received the approval of the Illinois House and Senate, the capital plan and gaming expansion proposal now heads to the governor for consideration.  

Bennett supports budget plan to increase educational opportunities, strengthen social services

bennett 032318SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted for progress for the second year in a row Saturday, passing a balanced budget that invests in public education at all levels and supports our most vulnerable Illinoisans.

“I’m grateful for the hard work that’s gone into putting forth a State budget that focuses on the things that will keep Illinois moving forward,” Bennett said. “Under this budget, we are increasing educational opportunities and strengthening social infrastructure for families and communities throughout the state.”

The approved budget appropriates $375 million in additional funding for K-12 education, $25 million more than required by the evidence-based school funding formula. It also includes $50 million in new funding for early childhood education programs.

The plan also invests a five percent funding boost to higher education, including $35 million for the AIM High tuition grant program that provides additional assistance to Illinois students to remain in the state and attend public colleges and universities. MAP grants, upon which many college students also depend to fund their education, will also receive $451 million in funding.

“From pre-school through college, this budget reflects the importance of educating our children and supporting them on their way to bright futures and lasting careers,” Bennett said.

Bennett also voted to continue to rebuild the state’s critical human service network. Full funding for child care assistance program, homeless prevention services, autism program, addiction treatment and prevention services, the senior-based Community Care Program, youth employment services and several other necessary services are included. Additionally, a $12 million grant will also go to communities throughout the state for violence prevention programs.

“Over the past few years, Illinois has balanced its budget by cutting critical funding for social services and it’s had a detrimental impact on how human and health services are delivered in this state,” Bennett said. “With this plan, we are prioritizing the most vulnerable in our state: children, families, and individuals living with developmental disabilities or mental health issues and seniors.”

The budget will fund state government for Fiscal Year 2020, beginning July 1.

Bennett supports agricultural education teachers

bennett 030719SPRINGFIELD – A bill to create a hands-on agricultural teacher internship program in Illinois high schools is headed to the governor’s desk under a plan sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett.

Bennett (D-Champaign), who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Agriculture, passed Senate Bill 1498. It would require the Illinois State Board of Education to partner with the Illinois Board of Higher Education to develop an Agricultural Education Pre-Service Internship Program to prepare high school students for a college career aimed at becoming farm sciences teachers.

“Agriculture is the state’s leading industry and is vital to our economy and our way of life,” Bennett said. “This training program will give students interested in pursuing a career in agricultural education the tools and first-hand experience they need to succeed and help ensure the next generation of family farmers will keep the industry strong for years to come.”

The legislation would also provide grants teaching students who qualify and attend a university or community college that offer an agricultural education teacher course.

The pre-service teaching program would include an eight-week course that would provide hands-on experience through partnerships with Illinois agricultural companies, focusing on the five career clusters of agricultural education: agricultural business management, agricultural mechanics and technology, horticulture services, agricultural sciences and natural resources conservation management.

“The future of our state’s agricultural industry depends on energizing, supporting and educating the next generation of farmers, and this bill accomplishes that,” Bennett said. “I look forward to seeing this important legislation become law.”

Senate Bill 1498 now heads to the governor for approval.

Sen. Scott Bennett

Senator Scott Bennett

52nd Senate District

Years served: 2015 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Chairperson); Appropriations II; Criminal Law (Vice-Chairperson); Higher Education; Labor; State Government; Subcommittee on Capital.

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.

Associated Representatives:
Carol Ammons
Michael T. Marron