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Cullerton law prohibits punishment of officers for seeking mental health care

police car lights 081718VILLA PARK —A new Illinois law championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will prevent the penalization of police officers for seeking mental health services.

Cullerton’s House Bill 5231, which removes possession of a FOID card as a condition for employment for officers, was signed into law Friday. This clears the way for officers to remain employed if they have been a patient in a mental health facility but not been determined to pose a danger to themselves or others

“This new law will allow officers who have endured traumatic experiences to seek medical assistance without fear of losing their jobs,” Cullerton said.

Although the law protects officers that seek mental health services, it does not prohibit an employer from determining an officer's fitness to serve.

“Our law enforcement officers keep us safe. In doing so, they experience disturbing situations that may warrant their use of mental health services. This makes them human,” Cullerton said. “We are all safer if we make sure these officers have access to the proper mental health services to deal with the traumas they routinely face.”

House Bill 5231 is an initiative of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, which said requiring a FOID card for law enforcement officers – many of whom are active service members and veterans of the armed forces – creates an unnecessary obstacle to receiving mental health treatment.

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S.

Cullerton, Chairman of the Illinois Senate Veterans Affairs Committee who served as an infantryman in the Army from 1990 to 1993, continues to work toward eliminating the veteran suicide epidemic in Illinois.

“Our nation’s heroes have fought to protect our freedoms and democracy.  This commonsense measure will look out for them,” Cullerton said. “It’s our duty to remove all obstacles to mental health treatment for our military veterans and public safety personnel.”

House Bill 5231 passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and will take effect immediately.

Tom Cullerton takes first step toward cutting school administration costs

tc 052918VILLA PARK — A measure championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will give DuPage County taxpayers easier access to records of school administration costs.

Cullerton’s Senate Bill 3236, which will require the Illinois State Board of Education to include a school district’s administrative costs in state school report cards, was signed into law last week.

“Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is spent,” Cullerton said. “The more access the public has to administrative costs, the more likely they are to hold school boards accountable.”

Between 1992 and 2009, the number of district administrators grew by 36 percent in Illinois. That is 2.5 times greater than the growth in student population, according to the nonprofit group Ed Choice.

This is despite the fact that nearly half of Illinois school districts manage one or two schools and more than one-third of all district offices serve fewer than 600 students.

One example is Lake Park Community High School District 108, which has five elementary school districts that feed into it. The high school district shares overlapping boundaries with those schools and serves the same population, yet each individual district has a superintendent and several administrators. 

Cullerton said Senate Bill 3236 will help give the legislature and residents a chance to examine how school districts spend their tax dollars.

“DuPage County residents pay their property taxes to give students the best educational opportunities, not to pay for executive salaries,” Cullerton said. “Finding savings and cutting administrative costs will help lower property taxes and this new law will help us know where to look to make these cuts.”

Illinois school report cards already include information on average class size, teaching experience, percentage of special education students, per-pupil operating expenditures and the per-pupil state pension contribution among other items.

Senate Bill 3236 passed the Senate and House without any opposition and goes into effect immediately.

Cullerton reduces the cost of small business ownership in Illinois

tc 052918VILLA PARK –A new Illinois law championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will spare small businesses from paying outrageous late penalties.

Cullerton’s House Bill 4578, which was signed into law Friday, will reduce late penalties from $300 to $100 for annual LLC report filings.

“This law will further the state’s commitment to energizing our economy,” Cullerton said. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues from both parties to eliminate this hurdle for small businesses.”

Last year, Cullerton passed Senate Bill 867 with bipartisan support to reduce a number of filing fees for LLCs to match those for corporations. This measure reduced the filing fees for the creation of an LLC from $500 to $150.

Cullerton also worked to lower the annual filing fee for LLCs from $250 to $75.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Cullerton said. “Local businesses play a huge role in our communities and economy. We need to do whatever we can to encourage businesses to make Illinois’ their home.”

Limited Liability Company or LLC is like a corporation, a limited liability company or "LLC,” a separate and distinct legal entity.

House Bill 4578 goes into effect immediately.

Tom Cullerton’s new law cuts red tape for veterans’ ID cards

flag on camoVILLA PARK —A new law championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will make it easier for veterans to obtain an official veteran designation on their state identification cards.

Cullerton’s House Bill 4332 was signed into law Sunday, allowing an identification card issued under the federal Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015 to be used as verification for a veteran’s designation on a state ID or license.

“This commonsense law will streamline the process for Illinois’ veterans,” Cullerton said. “Our veterans have already jumped through hoops and filled out various forms to receive a federal designation – they should not have to complete a redundant process to receive state approval.”

Cullerton served as an infantryman in the Army from 1990 to 1993. He continues to use his military experience to champion commonsense legislation to help military veterans, personnel and their families.

“Our returning heroes should not have to go through additional red tape when they return home,” Cullerton said. “It is our duty to ease their transition back to civilian life by utilizing practical procedures.”

This measure is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Illinois AMVETS Service Foundation.

House Bill 4332 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. It goes into effect on January 1, 2019.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor (Chairperson); State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Vice-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