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Tom Cullerton applauds move to prevent Legionella outbreaks

tc 031919VILLA PARK—Illinois may soon have new regulations and rules in place to prevent water-borne illnesses like Legionnaires’ disease.

A General Assembly rulemaking committee has given the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) the authority to more than double the minimum amount of chlorine required in public water supplies. This move is proposed to prevent the outbreak of heinous water-borne diseases such as Legionnaires’.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), a fierce advocate for the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy throughout the facility’s Legionnaires’ crisis, called the policy a major step toward preventing similar tragedies from occurring in Illinois homes.

“The Legionnaires’ crisis at the Quincy veterans’ home has emphasized the need for the state to be proactive in policies to ensure Illinois’ water supply is safe,” Cullerton said. “This step will empower the IEPA to protect homes and facilities throughout Illinois from these preventable illnesses. It is our duty to learn from the deaths of these brave heroes to ensure this never happens again anywhere in our great state.”

Since 2015, 13 residents of the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy have died of complications caused by Legionnaires’ disease. Cullerton served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman and has been a staunch advocate for Illinois’ veterans, especially those at the Quincy home greatly affected by continuous cases of the disease during the last governor’s watch.

During a rulemaking hearing, the Illinois Department of Public Health argued that “the minimal residual disinfectant found in the public water supply was found to be drastically ineffective.”

“Our nation’s heroes have survived foreign conflict zones – the greatest danger they face should not be living in a state facility,” Cullerton said. “I’m glad to see the committee work in a bipartisan manner to not only take care of our veterans but all residents of Illinois.”

The new rule will raise the minimum required level of chlorine in water to 0.5 milligrams per liter of “free” chlorine, or 1.0 milligrams per liter of “combined” chlorine. Federal regulations only stipulate there be “detectable” levels of chlorine and do not enforce a specific minimum level.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people at increased risk of Legionnaire’s disease are 50 years of age or older or have certain risk factors, such as being a current or former smoker, having a chronic disease or having a weakened immune system.

“People across Illinois should be able to rely on a safe and reliable water supply,” Cullerton said. “If we all work together we can institute a real solution to eliminate the risk of harmful diseases such as Legionnaires’ indefinitely.”

Tom Cullerton works to eliminate Franchise Tax

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VILLA PARK – Over the next five years, businesses will gradually cease to pay the archaic franchise tax under legislation championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

“As a state it is our duty to adopt policies that encourage economic growth and development,” Cullerton said. “The elimination of this convoluted tax will encourage business owners to expand and grow in our communities.”

Created in 1872, the corporate franchise tax is a tax on “paid in capital” for the privilege of doing business in Illinois.  Last year, 346,000 companies paid about $172 million in taxes. After Illinois’ franchise tax is eliminated, only seven states in the nation will still impose a similar tax.

 

Tom Cullerton ensures DuPage County schools win under bipartisan budget

classroom 070319VILLA PARK— Schools across the 23rd State Senate District are set to receive record-level funding from the bipartisan budget passed by the Illinois State Senate.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) fought to ensure schools across Illinois received state funding as promised by the mandated education funding outlined in the new evidence-based funding formula.

“The most important investment we make as a state is in our children,” Cullerton said. “We upheld our commitment to our schools with a new funding formula that will ensure children have the opportunity to receive a superior education regardless of where they live.”

The budget allocates more than $544 million in dedicated funding to early childhood education to give Illinois kids a strong foundation before they enter kindergarten.

“Studies continue to emphasize the fact that the time and money we allocate in educating students at an early age pays dividends in the future,” Cullerton said.

To fight the high property taxes that continue to burden working families across Illinois, the budget commits $50 million to support property tax relief.

“Funding schools the right way will lead to lower property taxes,” Cullerton said. “As we work to funding our schools at full adequacy levels, it is essential that homeowners are given relief from high property tax bills.”

Since Cullerton has been in the Senate, DuPage County schools have seen significant increases in school funding amounts. He pledges to continue to work toward ensuring Illinois schools are properly funded.

Tom Cullerton champions Illinois jobs plan

tc 060219SPRINGFIELD –  State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) joined the Illinois Senate to pass a massive $45 billion state infrastructure plan to repair roads, bridges and parks across DuPage County.

Cullerton, a senior ranking member on the Senate’s Transportation Committee, fought to ensure the needs of the 23rd State Senate District were met in the bipartisan approach to updating the state’s infrastructure.

“On Sunday, we passed a jobs plan that will put people to work while ensuring that our community’s needs are met,” Cullerton said. “Our parks, fire departments and senior centers are in dire need of updates to promote public security.”

This is the first comprehensive infrastructure program to pass the General Assembly in over 10 years. Cullerton’s hope is that this will bring key buildings, roads and parks to the standards of the 21st Century.

Projects close to Cullerton’s heart are completing the vital repairs needed for the Ray Graham Home and renovations to the Villa Park Center for Easterseals.

“Easterseals and Ray Graham do outstanding work for our communities,” Cullerton said. “These necessary improvements will allow them to provide even better service and care to the people of Illinois.”

The infrastructure construction plan passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support and now heads to the governor’s desk for his approval.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

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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