• Scott Bennett brings stakeholders together to protect Illinois’ drinking water

    bennett 053116SPRINGFIELD- To address the need to protect the Mahomet Aquifer, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed legislation to bring all community and state stakeholders to the table.

    “It’s our job to protect this valuable resource for our children and generations to come,” Bennett said. “The best way to find an equitable solution is to get everyone to the table to discuss how we can maintain clean drinking water in central Illinois.”

    Senate Bill 325 creates the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force, which will address the issue of finding a compromise to protect the clean drinking water of the Mahomet Aquifer.

    The Mahomet Aquifer serves as the primary water supply for 15 counties across central Illinois including Champaign and Vermilion counties. 

    The Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force will include legislators as well as community, environmental and waste management representatives appointed by the governor. They will be required to report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and governor by July 1, 2017.

    “My hope is by bringing everyone together we will be able to find a long-lasting solution to this problem,” Bennett said. “We have seen the impact contaminated drinking water had on Flint, Michigan. We need to work sooner than later to address this issue.”

    The bipartisan measure passed the Senate without any opposition and now heads to the House for consideration.

  • Senators, students gather for tech talk

    clayborne techSince 1990, students and teachers from across the state come to the Capitol each spring to provide demonstrations on classroom technology projects for lawmakers. The Illinois Computing Educators annual TECH Day brings school teams to show projects that often focus on improving teaching and learning.

    For Illinois students to succeed, technology must play a role in their education. This ensures their engagement in what their school's resources help them learn and accomplish.

  • Scott Bennett works to end statute of limitations

    statute limitationsSPRINGFIELD- Illinois no longer would have time constraints on prosecuting alleged child sex offenders under legislation introduced by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign).

    The legislation was prompted by last week’s developments involving former Republican U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who admitted in court that he sexually abused teenage boys when he was a wrestling coach in Yorkville.

    “We shouldn’t reward people who are lucky enough to not get caught,” Bennett said.

  • Bennett works to protect college graduates' licenses

    bennett license debtSPRINGFIELD- Student loans are the largest source for consumer debt in the United States, surpassing mortgages and credit cards debt.

    More than 20 states including Illinois currently have laws in place that suspend professional licenses and certificates in the event a consumer must default on their student loans.

    State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced an initiative to prevent licensing boards from denying, revoking or suspending individual professional licenses due to student loan default in Illinois.

    “Taking away someone’s ability to work is counterproductive,” Bennett said. “The fact is if you aren’t able to work, you won’t be able to pay back your loans and will sink further into debt.”

    Senate Bill 2236 will put provisions in place to prevent individuals with student loan default from experiencing licenses being denied, revoked, or suspended in 39 professions such as occupational therapists, roofers, teachers, structural engineers, home inspectors and real estate agents.

    “We should be empowering people to go to work, not taking away their ability to earn a living,” Bennett said.  

    Student loan debt is the only type of debt in the U.S. that is not eligible for bankruptcy except in severe instances.

    Senate Bill 2236 passed the Senate’s Committee on Licensed Activities and Pensions and will now move to the full Senate for consideration.

    Photo: Katharine Gricevich of ISAC with Sen. Bennett in today's hearing

  • Bennett advances measure to protect sexual assault victims’ rights

    bennett 040616SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced legislation to improve responses to sexual assault and abuse cases in Illinois.

    Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted. Each year, there are approximately 293,000 victims of sexual assault.

    “Our number one goal is to end cases of sexual abuse and assault,” Bennett said. “However, if a case occurs, we must have clear and concise guidelines to give victims a comprehensive path to justice.”

    Senate Bill 3096 is the result of the work done by the Joint Sexual Assault Working Group. The goal is to improve responses to sexual assault and abuse cases with victim-centered policies and practices that have been demonstrated to minimize traumatization and encourage victim participation in the criminal justice process.

    Senate Bill 3096 does two things.

    First, it outlines the information that must be included in a police officer’s report, as well as what information needs to be made available to victims.

    Secondly, the initiative outlines procedures for collection of sexual assault kits from hospitals to ensure victims’ rights are protected.

    Senate Bill 3096 passed the Senate’s Committee on Criminal Justice with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

  • Senate offers spending authority to governor to honor contracts

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  • Bennett advances bill to protect Gifford homeowners

    bennett giffordSPRINGFIELD- Homeowners in Gifford, Washington and Brockport have made progress in rebuilding their homes after the Nov. 17 tornadoes in 2013.

    State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) moved legislation today to help those rebuilding and repairing their homes receive relief from an unknown technicality.

    “The devastation left by the Nov. 17 tornadoes created unplanned expenses for Gifford homeowners,” Bennett said. “The cost of rebuilding and repairing is high enough without the additional expenses of higher property taxes.”  

    Senate Bill 3314 changes the Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption. Under current law, to receive the exemption a home must be rebuilt within 110 percent of its original size following destruction due to a natural disaster.

    However, many homeowners did not know about this technicality and built larger homes. Now their applications for exemptions have been denied. Bennett advanced this initiative to allow those homeowners to receive the exemption.  

    “The residents of Gifford have already been through enough,” Bennett said. “We need to do what we can to allow them to ease through the recovery process.”

    On Nov. 17, 2013, tornadoes destroyed nearly 30 homes in the village of Gifford. More than 40 other homes suffered major damage, and about 125 had minor damage. Total damage was estimated at $60 million.

    The area was denied federal disaster relief because it was determined too small to qualify.

    Senate Bill 3314 passed the Senate’s Committee on Revenue and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.


  • Senate votes to override Rauner veto of MAP, college funding (AUDIO)


  • Sen. Bennett on overriding MAP grant funding veto

    Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) defends his vote to override the governor's veto of MAP grant funding on March 2, 2016.

  • Governor vetoes MAP, community college funding for Illinois students

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  • No mention of college, seniors, disabled, veterans in Rauner budget speech (VIDEO)


  • Lawmakers personally deliver MAP funding bill to governor's office (AUDIO & VIDEO)

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  • Sen. Bennett restates importance of MAP Grants

    Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) takes a moment to restate the importance of MAP grants for Illinois students on January 28, 2016.

  • MAP grants, community colleges funding head to governor (AUDIO)

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  • Sen. Bennett shares thoughts after State of the State

    Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) shares his thoughts after listening to the governor's State of the State address on January 27, 2016.

  • Senate Democrats react to State of the State address (VIDEO)

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  • Illinois Senate honors fallen Vermilion County hero

    usflagDANVILLE- State Senator Scott Bennett passed House Joint Resolution 99 to rename a section of Illinois Route 1 that runs from the south end of Westville to Georgetown the “Sergeant Kenneth R. Nichols, Jr. Memorial Highway.”

    “This resolution honors Sergeant Nichols, a proud son of Vermilion County, who gave his life in service to our country,” Bennett said. “This designation serves as a way to honor both the life and sacrifices made by Sergeant Nichols and his family.”

    Sergeant Nichols is survived by his wife, Lexi; his four children, Brhyleigh, Kenneth III, Braden and Pailynn; his father, Kenneth R. Nichols; and two sisters, Lisa and Cindy. Sgt. Nichols was a 2000 graduate of Georgetown-Ridge High School.

    Sergeant Nichols was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colorado and was serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    House Joint Resolution 99 was approved by the Senate on Jan. 13 with a 48-0 vote. A highway dedication ceremony will be announced in the coming weeks. The legislation was sponsored in the Illinois House by State Rep. Chad Hays (R-Catlin).

  • Sen. Bennett talks about SJR 99

    Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) discusses Sgt. Kenneth R. Nichols, Jr. and the House Joint Resolution that honors his memory.

  • Senate Democrats: Students need to be a priority (AUDIO / VIDEO)

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  • Sen. Bennett discusses MAP Grants

    Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) discusses the importance of MAP grants for Illinois students on January 13, 2016.