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Stadelman renews push for Rockford casino

casinoROCKFORD – Following outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s call for a Chicago-based casino, State Senator and Illinois Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), announced his commitment to ensuring a state gaming expansion includes a facility in Rockford.

“Additional gaming is an opportunity to create jobs and fund improvements to schools and our crumbling infrastructure,” Stadelman said. “The General Assembly needs to consider what’s best for the whole state, not just Chicago.”

In a recent speech to the Chicago City Council, Mayor Emanuel revealed he has been negotiating a plan to include a casino in Chicago with legislative leaders. Under Emanuel’s proposal, the revenue generated from the facility would be used to pay off the city’s pension debt.

Stadelman also encouraged lawmakers to act quickly due to a casino potentially being built in nearby Beloit, Wisconsin.

“For years the Rockford community has lost out on the jobs and revenue created by a casino,” Stadelman said. “It’s time to build a diverse coalition of interests to ensure these resources benefit our community – not Wisconsin.”

New law by Stadelman protects students from lunch shaming

school lunchSPRINGFIELD – In many school districts, students who are unable to pay for lunch can be stigmatized with a special wristband or handstamp, and in some cases even denied lunch.

To stop this practice known as “lunch shaming” in Illinois, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) sponsored and passed Senate Bill 2428 through the Illinois General Assembly. Yesterday, the governor signed the proposal into law.  

“This is a cruel practice that blames kids for mistakes made by their parents,” Stadelman said. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that all students, no matter their background or parents’ income level, have an opportunity to eat.”

Stadelman proposal to crack down on mugshot websites signed into law

internet 082018SPRINGFIELD – Earlier this spring, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) passed Senate Bill 2560 through the Illinois General Assembly to prevent privately owned websites from charging a fee to remove mugshots and other criminal information. Friday, the governor signed the bill into law.

These websites, which claim to operate as background checks, frequently charge thousands of dollars to remove the information, even if the record has been expunged, sealed or dismissed. In some cases, the website refused to remove the information even after the individual was acquitted.

“These are private websites forcing individuals to pay thousands of dollars to remove incorrect information about their past,” Stadelman said. “In many cases, these people had their records sealed or expunged, or even had the case dismissed. It’s time to put an end to this unethical practice.”

In many cases, individuals weren’t even aware their information was listed on the website until they were denied a job opportunity.

This new law will become effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Stadelman proposal to educate students on college debt signed into law

stadelman 041918SPRINGFIELD – College students would be able to make more informed financial decisions about their education under a measure passed this spring by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) and signed into law today.

Stadelman’s proposal, Senate Bill 2559, creates a three-year pilot program that requires each public university and community college to send an annual letter detailing the current loan and annual repayment amounts to all students with college loans.

“Thousands of Illinois students graduate from college each year and face the reality that they owe tens-of-thousands of dollars in student loans. For many of these students, it’s the first time they fully realize the expense of their education,” Stadelman said. “This new law will ensure students know up-front about the cost of their education and can make better financial decisions to save them money later on.”

Student loan debt in the United States skyrocketed from $833 billion to an all-time high of $1.4 trillion according to recent students. On average, college students graduate with over $34,000 in debt, up 62 percent in the last decade.

In 2012, Indiana University began sending new and returning students a letter projecting the amount of debt they were expected to graduate with, along with what their monthly payments would be. After implementing this system, the university saw a decline in the amount of education loans taken out by students. The state of Indiana passed a similar law to cover all state universities and community colleges in 2015.

Senate Bill 2559 will take effect Jan 1, 2019.

Sen. Steve Stadelman

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34th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Education; Transportation (Vice-Chairperson); Committee of the Whole; Higher Education; Appropriations I; Commerce and Economic Development.

Biography: Earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Worked as a news anchor/reporter for WTVO-Channel 17 for 25 years, In 2003, his coverage of the state's death penalty earned him an Associated Press award for Best Documentary.