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Rauner’s veto creates uncertainty for Will County schools

jbt 120817PLAINFIELD- In light of the most recent spate of chaos created by Gov. Bruce Rauner, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is calling for a pause on the award of tax credits to scholarship donors.

“If our schools are not receiving state funding, scholarship donors should not receive tax rebates on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Bertino-Tarrant, chairwoman of the Senate’s education committee.  “It is concerning that the tax program is up and running while our schools have not received funding or even been informed how many state dollars they can count on for the next school year.”

Funding clarity has been denied to public schools because Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 444, a technical piece of legislation previously requested by the governor’s administration to help clarify and quickly implement school funding reform. His veto of the measure will do just the opposite of that.

Bertino-Tarrant’s law to make addiction-fighting resources readily available takes effect in the new year

JBTAprilPLAINFIELD- Families across the 49th State Senate District will soon have more resources readily available to fight the opioid epidemic, thanks to State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

Bertino-Tarrant’s new law requires the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to create and maintain a website to educate people on heroin and prescription opioid abuse. The measure, enacted through House Bill 3161, found bipartisan support as it passed the General Assembly.

“Opioid addiction does not see age, socioeconomic class, race or religion,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is vital for our families, friends and neighbors to have resources readily available to help their loved ones kick this deadly habit.”

On Jan. 1, DHS will begin work on a website that will include the warning signs of heroin and opioid addiction, helpful tips for parents on how to discuss the dangers of addiction with their children, available treatment options and services and other related information.

“This website will help save lives,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is absolutely critical that we work together as a state to combat this epidemic. If we can save one life, it is worth it.”

Will County saw a record number of heroin-related deaths in 2016; this was an increase of more than 40 percent from 2015. According to the Will County coroner’s office, 77 people died in Will County due to opioid overdoses in 2016.

“This new resource will help equip Will County residents with essential information to save lives,” Dr. Kathleen Burke, Director of Substance Use Initiatives, Will County Executive’s Office said. “Education is a key element to end the opioid overdose epidemic in communities across Illinois. Our hope is providing parents and loved ones with the right tools will help individuals seek treatment sooner. We look forward to working with Senator Bertino-Tarrant to continue to fight this crisis and eliminate this problem from our communities once and for all.”

Bertino-Tarrant champions new law to spur economic development in Will County

jbt 120817PLAINFIELD- Starting a new business in Illinois will be much more affordable, due to a law championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

Bertino-Tarrant co-sponsored Senate Bill 867, which will reduce startup fees for businesses to register in Illinois and was signed into law today.

“This new law will assist economic development and job opportunities in our communities,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Cutting filing fees is a meaningful step in showing Illinois business owners that we want to be partners in growing our economy. Illinois businesses are investing in our communities; we must show them the state is investing in them.” 

This new law will adjust LLC fees across the board to update charges to bring them in line with what corporations pay in fees.  For example, the current filing fee to create a new LLC in Illinois is $500. SB 867 would fix it at $150. The current annual filing fee for LLCs is $250, and SB 867 would lower it to $75.

“Small businesses have always played a major role in the Joliet region’s economic growth,” Mary Jaworski, President of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. “The new law to lower the startup fees for small businesses is a great step in improving the perception of the business climate in the State of Illinois.  In addition, those who have thought of becoming entrepreneurs now have one more solid reason to consider this region as a place to start up and conduct business.”

This bipartisan legislation was supported by over 50 chambers and business development organizations throughout the state.

“Senator Bertino-Tarrant is a true advocate for our community,” Margaret Westlove, President of the Romeoville Area Chamber of Commerce said. “She understands that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and create new jobs every day in our communities. This new law is testament to the Senator’s hard work and dedication to supporting small businesses in Will County.”

Bertino-Tarrant states this new law will give small businesses in Will County a chance and serves as a symbol of the importance of businesses across the state.

"This new law will eliminate hurdles and make it more affordable for inspiring first time business owners to start their business in Will County,” Tasha Marsaglia, President of the Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce said.

The new law will go into effect immediately.

New public accountability measure goes into effect at start of the new year

jbt 120817PLAINFIELD- Illinois taxpayers will now have a new tool to see if state agencies pay their bills in a timely manner.

House Bill 3649, supported State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), which requires state agencies to provide a more accurate accounting of bills and late payment interest penalties accruing will go into effect on the first day of the New Year.

“Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is spent,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new law will lead to responsible accounting and a good step in building the taxpayer’s trust in state agencies and services.”

Currently, state law requires that on October 1 agencies report the annual total of bills that were unpaid as of June 30.” The comptroller’s office then publishes the outdated information on their website.

Bertino-Tarrant believes real-time reporting will allow state agencies, financial officers and the Illinois General Assembly to make better financial decisions. The state’s unprecedented fiscal challenges require a full weighing of outstanding vouchers and the ramifications of an increasing unpaid bill backlog.

Once in effect, House Bill 3649 will require state agencies to report the amount of unpaid bills, whether that amount was appropriated or not, and an estimate of interest penalties accumulated on a monthly basis.

“Open books will lead to accurate and transparent accounting,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The State of Illinois needs to promote the responsible use of public dollars to guarantee every cent is spent wisely and reliably.”

Senate and House worked in a bipartisan manner to override the governor’s veto during the fall veto session.

Sen. Bertino-Tarrant

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49th Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Associated Representatives: Mark Batinick; Natalie A. Manley

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Education (Chairperson); Labor; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Transportation.

Biography: Lifelong educator; former Will County superintendent and secretary of Will County Regional Board of School Trustees; B.A., Illinois State University; MS, University of St. Francis; EdD., Loyola.