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Tom Cullerton works to add greater protections in Illinois’ stalking law

gps stalkingSPRINGFIELD- In 2016, roughly 6.6 million people were stalking in the United States according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is pushing for Senate Bill 623 which would expand Illinois’ stalking laws to include stalkers who use technological means such as phone tracking applications to pursue their victims.

“Your phone should be a tool to help you feel safe, not make you more vulnerable to potential stalkers,” Cullerton said. “We live in an age where we take our phones everywhere. If a stalker has access to tracking applications on a victim’s cellphone it will accelerate dangerous behavior.”

The Department of Justice reports that 1 in 13 victims were stalked through the use of GPS technology and other forms of electronic monitoring.  With the advancement of technology there is a potential for this figure to dramatically increase.

“It’s important for us to put protections in place to protect victims from technological advances,” Cullerton said.

Senate Bill 623 will declare the use of technology as placing a person under surveillance for the purpose of stalking which is a criminal offense.

Senate Bill 623 is currently in the Senate’s Committee on Criminal Law.  Cullerton is also the sponsor of House Bill 3251 which is similar to his initiative.

Tom Cullerton works to add greater protections in Illinois’ stalking law

Sen. Tom CullertonSPRINGFIELD - In 2016, roughly 6.6 million people were stalking in the United States according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is pushing for Senate Bill 623 which would expand Illinois’ stalking laws to include stalkers who use technological means such as phone tracking applications to pursue their victims.

“Your phone should be a tool to help you feel safe, not make you more vulnerable to potential stalkers,” Cullerton said. “We live in an age where we take our phones everywhere. If a stalker has access to tracking applications on a victim’s cellphone it will accelerate dangerous behavior.”

Tom Cullerton advances measures to combat veterans’ suicide epidemic

Senator Tom Cullerton
SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) has started tackling obstacles found during the Veterans Suicide Taskforce hearings.

Cullerton advanced Senate Bill 1693 to allow deceased veterans with military service to include their veteran status, branch of military and the period of time served in the military on their death certificate.

“We need to get to the cause of veteran suicide,” Cullerton said. “The only way to tackle the problem is to have a complete picture. This is a simple way to collect statistics and honor Illinois’ veterans.”

The idea was suggested by DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgenson, who indicated that veteran suicide was under reported since Illinois death certificates do not include information on the history of U.S. military service.

“These are our nation’s heroes. They took care of us, now it is our time to take care of them,” Cullerton said. “Every life we save is priceless.”

Cullerton also advanced Senate Bill 866 to require the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to provide information and education on service animals to veterans.

Under current law, the DVA isn’t required to provide information or resources on how a veteran might obtain a service animal.

“The DVA should be a one-stop shop for our veterans,” Cullerton said. “There is a stigma within the veterans’ community on receiving traditional treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  We haven’t been able to explore the effects of using service dogs as alternative treatments since there is a lack of awareness in the veterans’ community.”

Cullerton hopes this small step will help make service dogs readily available to veterans to cope with PTSD. There is a high demand from returning veterans for service dogs as alternative treatment. However, trained dogs can be difficult to find.

“Using service dogs as treatment for PTSD could one of the keys to ending the veteran suicide epidemic,” Cullerton said.

Senate Bill 866 and Senate Bill 1693 passed the Senate’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs with bipartisan support.

Tom Cullerton passes monumental government consolidation legislation

tcullerton crwdfndSPRINGFIELD-  DuPage County’s successful government consolidation model is expected to save taxpayers more than $100 million over the next 20 years.

To take local government consolidation to the next level in Illinois, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 3, which will spread DuPage County’s bipartisan government consolidation model statewide.

“It’s important that we continue to explore different methods to make sure government is working for Illinois residents,” Cullerton said. “The best way to lower property taxes is to empower voters to get rid duplicate forms of government. This is one small step we can take to lower property taxes without sacrificing the quality of government service.”

Senate Bill 3 allows counties to dissolve certain units of local government through a voter referendum. Cullerton knows these savings allow for lower property tax rates and provide residents with necessary services.

Cullerton passed Senate Bill 494 in 2013, which created the DuPage County government consolidation model used in Senate Bill 3. County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and Cullerton worked to create an innovative government consolidation model that can be adapted to work throughout the state.

The head of the Illinois Municipal League (IML) applauded Cullerton’s efforts.

"It's encouraging whenever the General Assembly considers legislation intended to consolidate government services and reduce areas where local services needlessly overlap," Brad Cole, Executive Director of IML said.

“We ran a tight ship for taxpayers when I was Villa Park Village President. I’m taking the lessons I learned to the state level,” Cullerton said. “My goal is to save money, reduce taxes and make sure government is working for the people. This legislation accomplishes just that.”

Senate Bill 3 passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

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23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor; State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Chairperson); Sub. on Utility Rate Regulations (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas