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Tom Cullerton’s good government measure signed into law

tc civics 53015SPRINGFIELD-  Illinois high school graduates will now have a better understanding of state government.
 
State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) initiative that would require a semester of civics to graduate high school was signed into law today.
 
Illinois has joined 40 other states in requiring at least one civics course as a graduation requirement for high school graduates. Illinois high school students are already required to complete two years of social studies. The high school curriculum will change starting with the freshman class of 2016-2017 to simply require one semester of the existing two year requirement to include a civics course.
 
“This is a big step toward engaging more people in the democratic process. Our goal is to give our young people the tools to make informed decisions and take an active role in government at all levels,” said Cullerton.  
 
The Illinois Task Force on Civic Education recommended that Illinois should require a civic education course for all high schools in Illinois. The class would focus on government institutions, current issues and discussions and simulations of the democratic process.
 
Private funding will be provided to cover the costs associated with the implementation of the civics courses, such as professional development and other school needs.
 
“We need to give our young people the tools to be civically responsible,” said Cullerton. “Our children are the future of our state and nation, we need them make sure they are involved in order to ensure this world a better place.”
 
House Bill 4025 was signed into law on August 21 and goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

Tom Cullerton pushes for solution to heroin epidemic

heroinVILLA PARK - DuPage County’s Narcan program has trained more than 2,200 police officers to administer naloxone, saving over 66 individuals from overdosing on heroin.

As the growing heroin epidemic spreads throughout the state and nation, we are still waiting for the governor to sign State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) initiative, House Bill 1, to spread the success with battling the drug in DuPage County to communities across Illinois.

“We have the tools to save lives,” Cullerton said. “Every day, the governor waits, we are risking the chance another young person becomes addicted to heroin or worse yet, overdoses because they cannot afford treatment.”

House Bill 1 is a comprehensive package designed to address heroin and opioid abuse and addiction in Illinois. The legislation addresses heroin abuse on a variety of different levels. Three major points of the initiative include the following:

The legislation, which is modeled off of DuPage County’s efforts, creates a program for state and local police officers, fire protection personnel, firefighters and school nurses, to be trained in administering Narcan.

Narcan reverses the effects of an overdose for heroin, cocaine, Vicodin, OxyContin and Morphine. The drug can be administered either by injection or nasal spray.

Secondly, the initiative requires Medicaid to cover costs for addiction treatments and prescriptions. Currently, the second most common reason for Illinoisans to seek treatment is heroin, yet the state has the lowest rate of state-funded treatment compared to other Midwestern states, such as Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Expanding the scope of Medicaid to include some of these expenses will make treatment more readily available and bring Illinois up to speed with neighboring states.

Thirdly, requires the Illinois Department of Human Services and State Board of Education to develop a three-year heroin and opioid drug prevention program to address the heroin stronghold in Illinois. School districts will be given the option to adopt the program and DHS will work with the school districts to reimburse the costs.

Cullerton asserts the legislation was worked on with legislators from both sides of the aisle because everyone recognizes drug overdoses and addiction can happen to people regardless of their age, socioeconomic background or ethnicity.

“This measure is a great example of legislators working together in a bipartisan effort to address this problem and work to save lives,” Cullerton said.  “I hope the governor will work with us and move quickly to address this growing epidemic.”

Tom Cullerton’s PANDAS initiative signed into law

Tom Cullerton's PANDAS initiative signed into lawSPRINGFIELD - Vital legislation to raise awareness on Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) was signed into law today.

PANDAS is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome and other tics after a child has had a strep infection. Symptoms range from severe separation anxiety to motor tics that appear similar to seizures and hallucinations. The symptoms are severe enough to prevent children from attending school.

To raise awareness and educate medical professionals, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed a measure to create an advisory council to make recommendations to the Illinois Department of Public Health on awareness and education among doctors, school-based health centers and mental health providers.

Tom Cullerton’s initiative to create new jobs signed into law

tc crowdfundSPRINGFIELD- New businesses struggling to raise money to take their companies to the next level will soon have another method to find funding.  

State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) initiative to make Illinois more business-friendly by instituting intrastate crowdfunding exemptions was signed into law today.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. If we want to continue to grow as a state, we need to continue to give small businesses the tools to succeed,” said Cullerton. “This initiative will create a vital partnership between investors and small businesses to spur economic development in our communities.”

Crowdfunding is funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people. In exchange for funding, investors receive a small ownership interest in the enterprise.

Cullerton hopes this measure will further encourage local investment and economic development opportunities.

“We need to continue to embrace innovative and fresh business practices to promote job creation in Illinois,” said Cullerton.  “Intrastate crowdfunding gives businesses the resources to find financial support without accumulating loads of debt, while giving the average person an opportunity to invest in companies they support.”

House Bill 3429 creates an Illinois intrastate exemption, which allows Illinois residents to directly invest in Illinois small businesses online.  Currently, 15 states have already passed similar legislation, including neighboring states such as Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

House Bill 3429 was signed into law on July 29 and goes into effect on January 1, 2016

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

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