Bennett

  • Bennett: Drive-through vehicle registration renewals to open in Tilton

    sos facility2 051520DANVILLE - Beginning Tuesday, May 19, the Tilton Department of Motor Vehicles will offer a drive-through service to assist customers with vehicle registration sticker transactions, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Friday. 

    “Since COVID-19 hit, the secretary of state’s office has encouraged residents to utilize their online services,” Bennett said. “By offering limited services at select DMVs, we are starting to see the progression forward, while still prioritizing customers and workers safety.”

    Tilton was one of seven facilities selected to open due to the configuration of the building which allows for drive-through transactions. All employees will wear face masks and customers are encouraged to do the same. 

    The hours of operation will be Tuesday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to noon. 

    Bennett continues to urge the public to renew their vehicle registration stickers online at www.cyberdriveillinois.com for those customers who able. All expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards and vehicle registrations have been extended at least 90 days after Driver Services facilities reopen.

    Bennett also reminded residents the federal government extended the REAL ID deadline by one year. The deadline is now October 1, 2021.

     

  • Bennett encourages self-advocates at virtual Going Home Rally

    bennett 022620CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined hundreds of advocates from across Illinois virtually Thursday to speak on the plight of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This year’s advocacy day looked a little different than in years past, but it’s critical that advocates continue to raise their voices about issues that impact people with disabilities,” said Bennett. “The coronavirus pandemic has been overwhelming for everyone, but especially for individuals with disabilities whose routines have been disrupted abruptly.”

  • Bennett: Wi-Fi hotspot map available for students and educators

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    DANVILLE – In response to Illinois schools transitioning to e-learning for the remainder of the academic year, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging remote learners and educators to use the state’s new drive-up Wi-Fi hotspot map to find free wireless internet locations.

    “Remote learning has been a challenge for students living in rural areas and they need a strong, reliable Wi-Fi connection to communicate with their teachers and complete their coursework,” Bennett said. “This interactive map is a great tool for the thousands of students participating in e-learning.”

    Designed to assist students at every level who don’t have consistent internet access in their homes, the interactive map provides drive-up Wi-Fi locations throughout the state and specific log-in instructions for visitors. Students and their parents or guardians should continue to practice social distancing by remaining in their cars while using the hotspots.

    “It’s important that we support our teachers, students, and parents during this difficult time, in addition to keeping students on course academically,” Bennett said.

    The Wi-Fi map has multiple locations available in Vermilion County, including local colleges and libraries. To find a hotspot near you, click here.

  • Bennett: CDL driving tests resume at limited locations

    cdl 051120CHAMPAIGN - The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has taken steps to help commercial drivers continue delivering and producing essential goods, thanks to advocacy from Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Scott Bennett (D-Champaign).

    Three Commercial Drivers License (CDL) facilities are now open to meet the overwhelming demand being placed on commercial and agricultural enterprises delivering and producing essential goods. 

    “Truckers are a key component of the supply chain and it relies upon new commercial drivers to haul goods across the country,” Senator Bennett said. “It’s imperative that CDL facilities open to train, test and license new commercial drivers to avoid truck driver shortages during this crisis.”

    While only a limited number of facilities are set to reopen, the secretary of state’s office will be taking the necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of employees and applicants. 

    The locations and hours of the facilities open include: 

    • Springfield Dirksen, 2701 S. Dirksen Pkwy, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 
    • Marion, 1905 W. Rendelman St., Tuesday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Wednesday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.-noon  
    • West Chicago, 120 Powis Rd., Tuesday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

    CDL driving tests will be conducted by appointment only and can be scheduled by calling 217-785-3013. All other CDL transactions will be first-come, first-served. For more information, please visit cyberdriveillinois.com.  

  • Bennett urges Vermilion County residents to complete census from home

    Sen. Scott BennettDANVILLE – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) encouraged Vermilion County residents to fill out the 2020 Census, protecting their representation in government and share of federal funding.

    “The census is currently underway and is easy to complete with the new online questionnaire option. For a family of four, I was able to fill it out in a matter of minutes using a smartphone,” Bennett said. “Responding to the census is critically important because it determines funding for things like roads, hospitals, fire departments, and schools in Vermilion County.”

  • Bennett: Reduce utility bills during Stay at Home Order

    electric meter2CHAMPAIGNState Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging residents to participate in the Citizens Utility Board’s (CUB) ongoing Virtual Utility Bill Clinic to potentially save homeowners money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Home energy bills are on the rise while more people work remotely and children have switched to e-learning during the Stay at Home Order,” Bennett said. “Families and individuals that are facing financial hardship during this crisis should tune into CUB’s virtual clinics to learn how to reduce their utility bills.”

  • Bennett urges Champaign County residents to complete census from home

    Be CountedCHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) encouraged Champaign County residents to fill out the 2020 Census, protecting their representation in government and share of federal funding.

    “The census is currently underway and is easy to complete with the new online questionnaire option. For a family of four, I was able to fill it out in a matter of minutes using a smartphone,” Bennett said. “Responding to the census is critically important because it determines funding for things like roads, hospitals, fire departments, and schools in Champaign County.”

    In 2010, Champaign County had a final response rate of 70.4%. So far this year, Champaign’s response rate is down, currently only at 60.7%. More than half of the county’s residents’ responses have been submitted online.

  • Bennett pushes for the Middle Fork River Preserve to reopen

    bennett 022620CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) urges Gov. JB Pritzker to rethink his decisions to keep Middle Fork River Preserve closed for the remainder of the Stay at Home Order.

    Bennett raised concerns in a letter to the governor after reviewing the list of parks set to reopen and learning the Middle Fork River Preserve wasn’t set to reopen.

    “With appropriate social distancing and other commonsense measures kept in place, it makes no sense to keep the Middle Fork River Preserve closed,” Bennett said. “I urge the governor to rethink his decision and allow our communities to access this state park.”

    At an April 23 press briefing, the governor announced a modified extension to the Stay at Home Order, including a phased reopening of state parks under guidance from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

    Bennett was joined by other downstate members in sending a formal letter to the governor’s office emphasizing that many residents are feeling disconnected during the pandemic and rely on outdoor spaces to keep calm.

    He believes that recreation is at risk for all Illinoisans, but particularly those who live downstate.

    “Getting out to enjoy the outdoors is essential for people’s mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic,” Bennett said. “It’s important that we create a safe path for people to do things in rural areas so they can cooperate with the governor’s order.”

  • Bennett to join Illinois CASA advocates during virtual child abuse prevention event

    fblive logo 042920CHAMPAIGN A virtual event to raise awareness and draw attention to child abuse, hosted by the Illinois Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), will take place Wednesday, April 29. 

    State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) will join statewide stakeholders on a Zoom call for the first Hands Across Illinois event to raise awareness and draw attention to child abuse.

    Bennett and stakeholders will educate Illinois communities about child abuse, provide resources on how to report abuse, and challenge folks to support this important work, especially during this crisis.

    “Strengthening families and preventing child abuse requires a shared commitment of individuals and organizations in every community,” Bennett said. “Now, more than ever, we need to raise awareness about child abuse prevention.”  

    Illinois CASA will livestream the event on their Facebook page at 12 p.m. For more information, please visit Illinois CASA’s website at illinoiscasa.org

  • Bennett urges business owners to apply for federal PPP loans

    closed corona 042820CHAMPAIGN State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging self-employed and small business owners to call their banks immediately to start the process for the Paycheck Protection Program.

    “Small business owners and employees, who are facing lost profits and layoffs due to widespread business closures are hurting. PPP loans can help keep their workforce employed during this pandemic,” Bennett said. “Small businesses needing assistance should speak to their lender immediately to ensure all appropriate paperwork is in order.”

    SBA started accepting applications from approved lenders on behalf of eligible businesses Monday. Bennett is urging qualified businesses to not wait to apply.

    Qualified businesses in one or more of these categories include:

    • Self-employed,
    • Less than 500 employees,
    • Sole proprietor,
    • Independent contractor,
    • Private non-profit 501(C)(19), and/or
    • Veterans organization.

    The loan is meant to keep workers of small businesses on the payroll and it will be forgiven if employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.

    For more information, visit SBA’s website.

  • Downstate Senate Democrats push to double funding for local health departments

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  • Bennett aims to raise awareness of online safety during Stay at Home Order

    onlinesafety 042720CHAMPAIGN —In an effort to raise awareness of online safety during Child Abuse Prevention Month, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is offering tips on how parents can guide their children on making safe choices while using the internet.

    “The internet has become a vital tool during this pandemic,” Bennett said. “While screen time is on the rise, this is a great time to talk with your kids about digital dangers.”

    In addition to the economic and social stressors and uncertainty, parents are now faced with added challenges in keeping children safe online. While it is important to talk to children of all ages about online safety, the Crimes Against Children Research Center has found that teenagers are most vulnerable to online predators.

    Common tips to teach children about online safety include being cautious about who to send personal information to, being careful about what they post to social media and reminding them that not everyone online is who they claim to be.

    “It’s extremely important to ensure children’s online activities are safely monitored right now,” Bennett said. I highly encourage anyone with children to take a moment to set some guidelines.”

    For more tips and information, please visit the Crimes Against Children Research Center at http://unh.edu/ccrc/internet-crimes/safety_ed.html.

  • Bennett applauds expansion of payment relief for student loan borrowers

    student loan2 042320CHAMPAIGN —With the coronavirus outbreak hitting workers and the economy across the state and country, State Senator Scott Bennett highlighted relief options to help people struggling to pay their student loans that could benefit nearly 140,000 Illinoisans.

    “Folks struggling financially during this pandemic should not have to choose between paying their student loan payment and putting food on the table,” said Bennett, a member of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “Borrowers in need of assistance should contact their student loan provider immediately to identify the options that are appropriate to their circumstances.”

    Under the initiative, spearheaded by Governor JB Pritzker and Secretary Deborah Hagan of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, people with commercially-owned Federal Family Education Program Loans or privately held student loans who are having a hard time making their payments due to COVID-19 will be eligible for expanded relief.

    Borrowers who need assistance are asked to immediately contact their student loan provider to set up a plan.

    Relief options are based on a person’s individual needs and include:

    • Providing a minimum of 90 days of forbearance,
    • Waiving late payment fees,
    • Ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting,
    • Ceasing debt collection lawsuits for 90 days,
    • Working with borrower to enroll them in other borrower assistance programs, such as income-based repayment.

    If a person is having problems contacting their student loan servicer, they can contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Division of Banking at 217-785-2900 or the attorney general’s student loan helpline at 1-800-455-2456.

  • Bennett encourages residents to contact his office for helpful and accurate information

    manonphone 042320CHAMPAIGN – As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, many people continue to have a lot of questions. As a state senator, Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) strives to keep everyone updated with the most helpful and accurate information.

    “As we continue to face these difficult and uncertain times, it is vitally important that residents stay informed and, even more importantly, that they get accurate information,” said Bennett. “Our Champaign and Danville offices are ready to answer questions and provide support in accessing state services.”   

    Sen. Bennett’s district offices are adhering to the Stay at Home Order, and all staff is working remotely. However, phone calls are forwarded and emails are still being answered.

    If people need help identifying an entity to help with unemployment, food, shelter and other topics that can be difficult to navigate, Senator Bennett’s office is happy to help. It can be reached by calling 217-355-5252 or 217-442-5252.

    To get the most up-to-date information relating to COVID-19 straight to their inbox, people are encouraged to sign up for Senator Bennett’s newsletter here. The Illinois Senate Democrats also recently rolled out a COVID-19 webpage, which outlines closures, family resources, the governor’s daily briefing and more. To find it, click here.

  • Bennett highlights National Volunteer Month, promotes community volunteerism

    Senator BennettCHAMPAIGN – Each April, individuals and organizations recognize the importance of volunteering. State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging local residents to volunteer to help give back to the community during this public health crisis.

    “Volunteers are needed, and your help is crucial during this pandemic,” Bennett said. “You can still safely help your neighbor and the community while social distancing. Any support you can give will be incredibly valuable to support those working on the front line.”

    A list of available volunteer opportunities are available on the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service website at Serve.Illinois.gov. Opportunities include community-based opportunities such as meal delivery and telephone wellness checks for local seniors through AgeSmart Community Resources.

    Additionally, blood centers around the state are facing a decrease in blood donation appointments and cancellation of blood drives due to COVID-19. The American Red Cross is asking healthy and eligible residents to consider donating blood. To find a center near you, please visit www.redcrossblood.org.

    Bennett is also asking residents and businesses to check their supplies for any new, unopened personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N-95 masks, gloves, goggles, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes that can be donated to local fire departments, police departments or hospitals. People who have items on hand they wish to donate should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include their address and the quantity of each item.

    “Our friends and neighbors need us right now,” Bennett said. “Please check up on them and help those most vulnerable.”

  • Bennett announces Earth Day art contest winners

    bennett art 041620CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced the top two winners and recipients of new art kits from his Earth Day Art Contest Thursday.

    In March, Senator Bennett launched an educational art contest in response to school closures to help keep students occupied at home. Students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade in Champaign County created original pieces of artwork centered around the theme of climate action in recognition of Earth Day on April 22.

    The finalists’ artwork were divided into two groups, elementary and middle school, and put to a vote on Bennett’s Facebook page, where students and residents had the opportunity to choose the winners. The winning pieces will be put on display in the senator’s office and they will receive new art kits. The winners are Kathryn Williams and Samara McArthur. 

    “Schools are closed and kids are at home needing activities, so this was an educational opportunity that also promoted a little fun,” Bennett said. “I want to congratulate the winners and thank all of the students that participated in the contest. I look forward to displaying Kathryn and Samara’s work in my office and hope their new art kits will continue to encourage their artistic abilities.”

    Bennett is now challenging students to print an ‘All In Illinois’ sign to color and display in their window.

    “With the extension of the governor’s Stay at Home Order, take the pledge and stay in,” Bennett said. “This is a great opportunity to remind the community that we are all in this together.”

  • Bennett advises drivers and farmers to practice safety during spring planting

    farmequip 041420CHAMPAIGN - To help drivers share the road with farm equipment, Senate Agriculture Chairman Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) urges farmers to use caution when they see a slow moving tractor or other piece of equipment on the road. 

    While Illinoisans are staying home to slow the spread of coronavirus, farmers are still performing essential work during the 2020 planting season, which means drivers performing essential travel are sharing the road with more farm machinery. 

    “Spring planting is an especially busy time for farmers and that brings additional risks to agriculture workers,” Senator Bennett said. “We’re seeing reduced vehicular traffic right now from the Stay at Home Order, but farmers and motorists are still expected to slow down and be safe, courteous drivers.” 

     

  • Bennett: Illinois expiration dates for driver licenses, vehicle registration extended

    online driver services FB websiteCHAMPAIGN – While Driver Services facilities remain closed to the public, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is reminding people that expiring driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations and other transactions will be extended at least 30 days after facilities reopen.

    Secretary of State Jesse White closed all Drivers Services facilities statewide through April 30 due to the extension of the governor’s Stay at Home Order. After the facilities reopen, people will be able to renew documents that have expired during the closure with no penalty.

    “I applaud the secretary of state’s efforts to keep employees and the public safe through this public health crisis by offering many services online,” Bennett said. “You may not physically be able to go to these facilities right now, but you can utilize their services from home.” 

    Bennett is encouraging residents to take advantage of the secretary of state’s online services at www.cyberdriveillinois.com. These services include:

    • renewing a vehicle registration;
    • applying for a vehicle title and registration;
    • obtaining a duplicate driver’s license or ID card;
    • obtaining a driving record abstract;
    • renewing a standard driver’s license with the Safe Driver Renewal program.

    “Utilizing these online services will reduce foot traffic and check-in lines once Drivers Services facilities reopen,” Bennett said.

    Bennett is also reminding residents that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the federal REAL ID deadline an additional year to Oct. 1, 2021. Current Illinois driver’s licenses or ID cards will continue to be accepted at airports, military bases and secure federal facilities.

    Bennett urges residents with questions or concerns to call his office at 217-355-5252 or visit SenatorBennett.com. 

  • Bennett shares tips to manage mental health during Stay at Home Order

    Sen. Scott BennettCHAMPAIGN With the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus continuing to rise in Illinois, Governor Pritzker issued an extension of the Stay at Home Order until the end of April. State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is sharing resources with community members on how to manage their mental health while at home.

    “Mental health is vital during this challenging time,” Bennett said. “As we face uncertainty about the coronavirus, there are measures we can take to stay calm.”

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Champaign has a hotline at 217-​419-5345 and a textline for support. Text NAMI to 741741 for anyone who may experience a mental health crisis.

  • Bennett calls on out-of-state health care professionals during coronavirus crisis

     bennett 031020DANVILLE –To increase the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is urging doctors, nurses and other professionals in Indiana to apply for Illinois’ new Out of State Temporary Practice Permits.

     The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) issued a proclamation Wednesday to allow out-of-state physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and respiratory care therapists who are in good standing to provide care to Illinois residents affected by COVID-19.

    “There is an urgent need to boost the number of health care professionals in Illinois during this critical time,” Bennett said. “The new measures allow us to call on our neighboring state to share their expertise and services with world-class medical providers in Illinois to reduce COVID-19’s impact.” 

     Applications for Out of State Temporary Practice Permits are available online at IDFPR’s website here. Temporary practice approval expires on Sept. 30, 2020.

     For questions or additional information, please contact IDFPR at 1-888-473-4858 or visit idfpr.com.