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Cullerton cuts off lawmakers’ sexual harassment ‘hush money’ funds

tc 053018VILLA PARK – Taxpayer dollars will be off limits for the purchase of silence regarding allegations of sexual harassment thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

Cullerton’s House Bill 4243 was signed into law on Friday.

“We shouldn’t need a law to state the obvious: Taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used as hush money,” Cullerton said. “But clearly some disgraced elected officials believe they are entitled to public funds to cover up inappropriate behavior. Now it is crystal clear under law that there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment in Illinois, particularly when it’s funded by the taxpayers.” 

House Bill 4243 is a response to recent news that members of Congress and officials from other states have used public funds to pay settlements to former employees in response to allegations of sexual harassment.

In Pennsylvania, newspapers reported that at least $3.2 million in taxpayer funds over the last eight years has been used to resolve more than two dozen sexual harassment complaints against government and public employees.

“This money belongs to the taxpayers, not in an elected official’s piggy bank,” Cullerton said. “This bill solidifies that we will not and cannot support a culture that subsidizes immoral behavior.” 

The new law was a bipartisan effort sponsored by State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in the House and it will take effect immediately.

Tom Cullerton passes law to protect Illinois’ drinking water

lead water 080618VILLA PARK — State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed legislation this session to ensure the safety of the lead content in Illinois drinking water.

Children under the age of six are most vulnerable to harm from lead in their drinking water because of their developing brains, and infants who rely on drinking water to mix formula are among the most exposed.

Cullerton sponsored Senate Bill 2996, which updates the definition of "elevated blood lead level" to match with the definition from the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The bill was signed into law on Friday.

“It’s our duty to protect our drinking water for the sake of our children and generations to come,” Cullerton said. “We need to ensure every necessary precaution to keep our children safe.”

The new law requires state regulators to adopt the most recent childhood blood lead level reference value from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in determining what is an “elevated” level of lead in the bloodstream, as well as the current requirements for the inspection of regulated facilities occupied by children based on that updated definition.

It also updates any other existing rules that will assist the Department of Public Health in its efforts to prevent the dangerous health effects of lead poisoning among children.

Senate Bill 2996 passed the Senate and House with unanimous support and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Tom Cullerton’s measure to save police dogs becomes law

policedog 080618VILLA PARK – A new Illinois law will provide greater safety for police dogs thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

Cullerton sponsored House Bill 1671, known as the Police Dog Service Protection Act, to add several statutory protections for police dogs. It was signed into law Friday.

“Taking care of our police dogs is a sign of humanity and an investment in our public safety needs.” Cullerton said. “This new law will institute precautions to keep these valuable assets to our police force safe.”

Tom Cullerton ends governor’s shady payroll practices

tc 052418VILLA PARK – Siphoning funds from state agencies to pay the governor’s staff is no longer legal, thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

Cullerton pushed for House Bill 5121 after recent payroll reports had shown only 44 of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s staff are actually paid from the governor’s budget while 58 people are hidden in other agency payrolls.

“It is absolutely outrageous that the governor of Illinois is utilizing irresponsible and inaccurate accounting practices to abuse the trust of DuPage County taxpayers,” Cullerton said. “This will stop now.”

The legislation prohibits the governor's office from using other agency appropriations to pay for governor's office employees for the current administration and all going forward.

Prior to this law, Rauner was allowed to record the governor’s office’s official budget at only $4.9 million, but it was actually closer to $10 million when counting employees that work in his office but are paid by other agencies.

“Off-shoring employees’ salaries onto the budgets of vital state agencies that take care of our children, seniors and veterans is a blatant misuse of power,” Cullerton said. “This new law will promote an open and honest system where the hard-earned tax dollars of DuPage County families are spent wisely and responsibly.”

House Bill 5121 will close the inter-agency agreement loophole that exempts the agency whose appropriation is being used from having to certify the individual has performed work for that agency.

“The people of Illinois deserve to know how their valuable tax dollars are being spent,” Cullerton said.

House Bill 5121 goes into effect immediately.

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