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Cunningham makes it easier to access senior property tax break

cunningham 111419SPRINGFIELD – A requirement forcing Cook County seniors to reapply annually for a tax break will soon be eliminated under a measure co-sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham.

House Bill 961, passed by the Illinois Senate Wednesday, would eliminate the need for residents of Cook County residents aged 65 or older to reapply annually to receive the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption, a property tax exemption designed to assist senior citizens financially.

Seniors would be required to reapply once more for the exemption in 2020, and would then be grandfathered into the program through 2024. Similar legislation, House Bill 833, was signed into law this summer, but required seniors to reapply in both 2020 and 2021.

“Seniors shouldn’t be forced reapply for the Homestead Exemption an extra time. It’s just common sense,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “You only turn 65 once, and there’s no reason to put seniors through a confusing reapplication process for this exemption when they’ve already proved that they qualify for it.”

Currently, every county in Illinois other than Cook may allow seniors to receive the exemption without reapplying.

The measure also requires Cook County agencies to record events that would end the exemption, such as property transfers, to ensure that ineligible property owners do not accidentally take advantage of the tax break.

House Bill 961 passed the Senate without opposition. It will now head to the governor’s desk.

Cunningham introduces new legislation to improve Metra access

cunningham 111319SPRINGFIELD – At a news conference Wednesday, State Senator Bill Cunningham announced the introduction of new legislation aimed at reducing costs and increasing access to public transportation for residents on Chicago’s south side and southwest suburbs.

“Residents on the south and southwest sides, as well as in the suburbs, are underserved when it comes to cheap, reliable methods of public transportation,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “We need to ensure everyone has affordable access to public transit and this legislation will provide another option to these communities.”

Governor signs Cunningham’s measure to deter school threats

Sen. Bill CunninghamSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham’s legislation to deter threats from being made against schools on social media was signed into law by Gov. Pritzker this summer.

“False threats are not only terrifying for students, parents and faculty, they also divert emergency response resources away from places where they’re really needed,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This legislation will provide us with a mechanism to impose consequences that will deter these threats from being made.”

Under Illinois law, a person commits the offense of disorderly conduct when he or she calls 911 for the purpose of making a false complaint or providing false information, including a threat against a school.

Cunningham’s measure to prevent noise and air pollution signed into law

cunningham 030719SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham’s legislation that would prohibit diesel trucks from idling excessively in residential areas was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker last week.

Senate Bill 1256 will prevent diesel trucks over 8,000 pounds from idling for more than a total of ten minutes in an hour if the vehicle is within 200 feet of a residential area in Cook County.

Cunningham credited Cook County residents living near a trucking yard for bringing the issue to his attention. The residents identified persistent noise and air quality issues with the trucking yard, located near the corner 119th St. and Central Park Ave. in Merrionette Park, that needed to be addressed. 

“People in my district are tired of dealing with endless noise and air pollution in their neighborhoods,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This legislation is a direct response to their concerns and I’m proud to have brought some relief on this issue to my constituents.”

The measure will take effect January 1, 2020.

Senator Bill Cunningham

 Cunningham2014

18th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Energy and Public Utilities (Chairperson); Executive Appointments; Higher Education; Insurance; State Government.

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.

Associated Representatives:
Kelly M. Burke
Frances Ann Hurley