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Cunningham pushes law to curb squatters

Sen. Bill CunninghamSPRINGFIELD — Local communities will soon have new protections to stop squatters from legally taking possession of abandoned homes or businesses thanks to a measure signed into law this week.

The new law, sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham, was introduced when a squatter attempted to take control of an abandoned building in Beverly by utilizing a loophole in an obscure housing law.

"An individual moved into an abandoned storefront on a commercial street and attempted to claim ownership of the property under a law designed to improve dilapidated housing," Cunningham said. "If alert neighbors hadn't called the police, the scheme might have succeeded in civil court."

Measure to provide more resources to address mental health becomes law

FingerprintsSPRINGFIELD – Custody of defendants with mental health issues will become more streamlined due to legislation being signed into law.

“We need to make resources readily available to ensure the mental health of anyone determined to be unfit to stand trial are dealt with appropriately,” State Senator Bill Cunningham said.

The legislation, House Bill 649, would create a formal process for the county sheriff and the Department of Human Services to handle custody of defendants found unfit to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity. It provides requirements regarding the evaluation and transportation of the defendant to a secure facility.

Cunningham: MAP grants critical for local economy (VIDEO)

cunningham52617SPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham discusses the importance of MAP grants to Illinois colleges and students in a video released today.

“If we’re going to make our state a better place to live and make sure people are upwardly mobile from an economic standpoint, map grants are a very important part of that,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham’s comments are in response to a letter to alumni from Saint Xavier University, a private college in Chicago, explaining that it is owed $6.4 million by the state of Illinois for promised Monetary Award Program grants to students. This is money that is not going into the local economy, Cunningham said.

To view the video: click here

In May, the Illinois Senate passed a balanced budget that would properly fund MAP grants for local colleges and universities, including Saint Xavier.

Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

Cunningham: Time to deliver fair education funding

cunningham 031517SPRINGFIELD – School districts throughout the southwest suburbs and the state, ignored by Illinois’ worst-in-the nation education funding formula, could soon see an increase in state aid under a reform measure that passed the Illinois General Assembly last week.

“I was proud to stand in support of Senate Bill 1, a measure that will fix the worst funding formula in our country. We needed a real solution that not only properly funded our schools but also delivered property tax relief to high-tax districts—and we have done that with this legislation,” said State Senator Bill Cunningham.

Senate Bill 1 was vetted by multiple organizations throughout the state. It had the support of superintendents, school boards and teachers. If signed by the governor, it would be the first significant update to the funding formula in more than 20 years.

Earlier this week, the Illinois State Board of Education released estimates for each school district and showed that no school district in the state would see less state funding under Senate Bill 1 when compared to the current funding formula.

It also provided extra support for those in need and offered additional property tax relief.

The estimated overall gain that area school districts would experience under Senate Bill 1 based on the current-year funding levels:

  • Chicago Ridge School District 127-5 -- $880,000
  • Community High School District 218 -- $409,448
  • Cons High School District 230 -- $209,950
  • North Palos School District 117 -- $315,924
  • Oak Lawn Community HS District 229 -- $135,174
  • Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 -- $146,644
  • Worth School District 127 -- $193,129

In addition, Senate Bill 1, high-tax school districts would be eligible for property tax relief up to 1 percent of their EAV. Estimated relief for five area school districts:

  • Chicago Ridge School District 127-5 -- $573,844
  • Community High School District 218 -- $6.62 million
  • North Palos School District 117-- $4.01 million
  • Oak Lawn Community HS District 229 -- $2.51 million
  • Worth School District 127 -- $1.11 million

Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

Senator Bill Cunningham

 Cunningham2014

18th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations II; Gaming; Higher Education (Vice Chairperson); Labor; Telecommunications and Information Technology (Chairperson); Transportation.

Biography: Served in the House from 2011-13; full-time state legislator and lifelong resident of the southwest Chicago area; born July 21, 1967; graduate of Saint Barnabas Grammar School (1981), Mount Carmel High School (1985) and the University of Illinois Chicago (1990); former advisor to Cook CountySheriff Mike Sheahan and former chief of staff to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart; youth soccer coach; parent representative on the Sutherland Local School Council; lives in Beverly with wife, Juliana, and two daughters, Madeline and Olivia.