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Tom Cullerton fights to save funding for local communities

Tom Cullerton fights to save funding for local communitiesSPRINGFIELD - State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) voted today to protect the municipalities in the 23rd Senate District from deep cuts in state funding.

Governor Rauner proposed a devastating 50 percent reduction to country and city governments’ funding. Cullerton helped defeat this proposal.

“Our local units of government rely on this funding,” said Cullerton. “They are expected to provide services ranging from police and fire to keep our neighborhoods safe to fixing the pothole down the street. I understand as the former Villa Park mayor that cuts to funding either means mass layoffs of police and fire or drastic hikes in property taxes in our communities.”

Tom Cullerton reunites dogs and cats with owners

tc-catsdogsSPRINGFIELD - Willow the cat disappeared from her home. Jamie and Chris Squires thought they would never see her again. Little did they know that five years later, thanks to a microchip they installed, she would be found about 1,800 miles away.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is working to ensure dog and cat owners are reunited with faster by passing House Bill 4029.

This initiative requires animal shelters to scan a dog or cat within 24 hours of being taken into a shelter.

“My dog Brenna is like a member of my family. If something happened to her, like most pet owners we would want to find her as soon as possible,” said Cullerton. “This legislation puts protections in place for cat or dog owners to find lost animals quickly and efficiently.”

Currently, under the Animal Control Act, public animal shelters are not required to scan for microchips. Dogs and cats can be adopted and euthanized from shelters without scanning for a microchip first.

“This is common-sense legislation that will save the lives of dogs and cats as well as save shelters money by only having to take care of pets who don’t have owners,” said Cullerton.
 
HB 4029 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.

Tom Cullerton passes measure to make college affordable

tc-collegeSPRINGFIELD-Illinois may soon join 14 other states in making college more affordable for students.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed an initiative that requires public universities and community colleges to give students who score a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement (AP) exams college credit.

“The cost of tuition continues to grow, and when we add the cost of housing, textbooks and living expenses, students either end up with years of debt or lost opportunities. This is one small step we can take to make college more affordable,” said Cullerton. “No one should be discouraged from attending one of our state’s public universities or community colleges due to financial need.”

AP classes improve access, affordability and on-time graduations. If high school students take enough advanced courses they can possibly graduate a semester or year earlier which results in thousands of dollars in savings and less student debt.

This legislation will clear up any inconsistent policies at public universities and community colleges, as well as make Illinois competitive with neighboring states that already accept a score of 3 or higher.    

“We can’t blame students who go out of state to schools in Indiana, Wisconsin and Kentucky who have this policy. However, we can’t afford to lose our best and brightest to these schools,” said Cullerton. “This legislation will allow us to compete to keep these students home.”

House Bill 3428 passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Tom Cullerton designates PANDAS Awareness Day

tc-panda-finalSPRINGFIELD-  Eighth birthdays are extremely important to children. It’s supposed to be a day full of cake, presents and friends. However, this wasn’t the case for Charlie on his eighth birthday.

Charlie woke up on his birthday with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS). The little boy who once loved performing in talent shows and putting on skits was now scared of crowds and talking to his friends. There was an immediate change in his personality.

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.

After two months of looking for answers, a doctor diagnosed Charlie with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

Early detection is key. After observing Charlie, his mother Kate Drury was quickly able to diagnosis her younger son with PANDAS when he displayed early symptoms.

To raise awareness and educate medical professionals, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Resolution 237 to designate October 9 of 2015 and 2016 as PANS, PANDAS, and PITAND Awareness Day in the State of Illinois.

“Education is essential to early detection. I have three young children at home, stories similar to Charlie’s display the immediate need to educate medical professionals and the general public on the PANDAS symptoms,” said Cullerton. “No one wants to see children suffer. The faster we diagnose children affected by PANDAS, the quicker we can begin treatment.”

PANDAS is potentially a lifelong disease that is estimated to affect nearly 175,000 children and adolescents in Illinois. It has even been found in adults.

SR 237 passed the Senate unanimously.

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