Cunningham

  • Cunningham, Hurley save IDOT project at Alsip-Chicago border

    RoadConstructionCHICAGO – Drivers who travel near Marist High School will enjoy a faster commute and less congestion because of a road widening project backed by Senator Bill Cunningham and Representative Fran Hurley.

    “For years the residents of our community have been dealing with the extreme congestion that occurs at the intersection near Marist,” Cunningham said. “We needed a solution.”

    The local project includes adding a turn lane to smooth out traffic at 115th Street and Pulaski Road. Cunningham and Hurley pushed the Illinois Department of Transportation to prioritize widening the intersection.

  • Cunningham measure for sexual assault victims' justice becomes law

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  • Cunningham pushes to close loophole in FOID card law

    foidcardSPRINGFIELD—Legislation passed by Senator Bill Cunningham will help local police keep guns out of the hands of people who've had orders of protection issued against them.

    House Bill 6331 would require the state police notify law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction to assist in seizing a FOID card when the person’s FOID card has been revoked because they were the subject of an existing order of protection.

    Currently, while a FOID card could be revoked for an existing order of protection, the state police were not required to provide notice to law enforcement agencies that would have jurisdiction due to an oversight in the law.

    “This loophole could have huge ramifications in our criminal justice system. We need to push this through to ensure the state police and local law enforcement are able to have and share the necessary information to protect and serve their communities,” Cunningham said.

    The legislation has passed both chambers and goes to the governor for approval.

    Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

  • Cunningham works to expand “Rocket Docket” pilot program

    cunningham 053016SPRINGFIELD— Senator Bill Cunningham passed legislation out of the Senate that would extend and expand the pilot program for the Accelerated Resolution Court or “Rocket Docket,” a program designed to quickly move minor offenses through the court system.

    “The Rocket Docket legislation has proven to be a success in helping with overcrowding while ensuring that cases are resolved in a timely manner,” Cunningham said. “We don’t need those with traffic violations sitting in Cook County Jail only raising costs on tax payers.”

    House Bill 6190 would extend the sunset date of the pilot program to June 30, 2019. This would allow for the new offenses that would be added to be utilized under this program. The new offenses that would be added would include traffic violations and some minor drug offenses.

    The Cook County Sherriff would refer defendants to the program and be approved by the Cook County State’s Attorney. For a defendant to be eligible they are not allowed to have any prior convictions for violent offenses within the past 10 years and must be unable to post bond.

    "In contrast to jails' intended function of detaining dangerous offenders, they have devolved into warehouses for the poor and mentally ill," said Sheriff Dart. "The original Rocket Docket has succeeded in getting non-violent, low-level offenders out of jail and into the community, and this enhanced legislation will further that critical mission."

    The legislation now goes to the governor for approval.

    Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

  • Cunningham passes legislation to educate on signs of domestic violence, sexual assault

    cunningham hiedcompSPRINGFIELD—Hairdressers and nail technicians throughout Illinois soon will be trained to properly detect signs of domestic violence or sexual assault thanks to legislation being pushed by Senator Bill Cunningham in the Illinois Senate.

    House Bill 4264 would require that cosmetologists, estheticians, nail technicians and hair braiders take a one-hour continuing education class about domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. The training will educate salon professionals about the signs of domestic violence or sexual assault as well as how to support and connect their clients with resources for help.

    “When I met my wife she was working as a hair dresser to put herself through college and she would be witness to stories of abuse from clients, yet she would not know what steps to take,” Cunningham said. “Ensuring more people are aware of what sexual assault or domestic violence looks like and what steps they can take to help fight against it,  we can stand up and protect victims.”

    The legislation was introduced in the House by Representative Fran Hurley. It is an initiative of the Chicago Says No More movement.

    “Our coalition is very grateful to Senator Cunningham and Representative Hurley for leading the way in a private-public alliance that will make it possible to responsibly assist a victim asking for help,” said Kristie Paskvan, founder, Chicago Says No More. “We also appreciate the collaboration of Cosmetologists Chicago as we prepared our curriculum which will be presented by professionals trained in addressing domestic violence or sexual assault.”

    The legislation has passed the Senate and returns to the House for a final vote before going to the governor’s desk.

    Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

  • Senate pushes to fund promised student college grants

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  • 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.

  • Senate votes to restore more higher education funding

    mapoverridePublic universities and community colleges across Illinois would see a substantial portion of their state funding reinstated under legislation the Illinois Senate approved Wednesday.

    Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) led efforts to restore $453.4 million in higher education funding. Included is $46 million for the popular student assistance program known as MAP, which provides assistance for low-income college students.

  • Senate sends higher ed funding bill to governor, social services to House (AUDIO)

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  • Cunningham fights for making agriculture education a priority

    cunningham ag edSPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham passed legislation out of the Illinois Senate prioritizing agriculture education in the state.

    Senate Bill 2975, subject to appropriation, would create a grant to fund up to 50 percent of the personnel costs for an agriculture education teacher. If a school district is creating a new agriculture education program they could receive a grant to fund 100 percent of personnel costs in their first two years and 80 percent in the third and fourth year.

    “We need to prioritize agriculture in our schools. Our economy is driven by agriculture and yet so many students throughout the state have very little opportunity to learn about it,” Cunningham said. “This legislation would allow schools like the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences to easily maintain or create agriculture education programs.”

    The legislation would also add agriculture education as an area of identified staff shortage which would make scholarship money available for those who want to go into agriculture education. Only 61 percent of agriculture jobs will be filled with qualified graduates in the coming years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    “We need to emphasize the careers agriculture offers, and one of those is teaching the next generation about those opportunities,” Cunningham said.

    The legislation now moves to the House for further consideration.

  • Cunningham passes measure to bring justice for victims of sexual assault

    cunningham rapednaSPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham passed a measure that would help bring justice to victims of sexual assault by ensuring police departments follow-up on potential matches on DNA test kits.

    Senate Bill 2221 would require that if a police department did not follow up with the state police on a positive match, then the state police would notify the proper state’s attorney. The legislation also requires that an annual inventory be taken by both the state police and local police of all DNA kits in their possession.

    This legislation comes in response to a situation that occurred in the Village of Robbins, Illinois. The local police department was notified of a positive match on a DNA test kit. The department though did not follow up on the potential match.

    “With an issue like sexual assault, we need to take every imaginable step to bring justice to all of these cases. The ramifications of not following up on these matches could be devastating to our criminal justice system,” Cunningham said.

    The legislation now moves to the House for further consideration.

    Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago.

  • Cunningham passes higher education reform package

    cunningham hiedcompLegislation product of investigation into perks for higher education presidents

    SPRINGFIELD—Community colleges and state universities may see a lot of changes coming soon when it comes to administration pay and severance packages.

    State Senator Bill Cunningham proposed a reform package after the Senate Democratic Caucus Report on Higher Education Executive Compensation revealed lavish perks, golden parachutes and a lack of transparency in hiring and firing of administrators.

    “This was about taking steps to protect taxpayers and tuition payers from abuse by college and university administration,” Cunningham said. “Lavish perks, like country club memberships, were forcing students to pay more and taxpayers to cover more costs when tuition was not enough.”

  • Sen. Cunningham discusses SB2221

    Senator Cunningham (D-Chicago) discusses his proposal to ensure that DNA testing taken after reported sexual assaults are sent to the proper labs for testing.


  • Cunningham measure would help bring justice to rape victims in Illinois

    cunningham 040616Proposal would require more accountability at local police departments

    SPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham is pushing for a measure that would ensure local police departments are held accountable when it comes to sexual assault kits.

    The legislation, Senate Bill 2221, would require that if the local police department did not follow up on the positive match, then the proper state’s attorney would be notified by the state police. It would also require that an inventory be taken both at the state police and the local police departments of all DNA kits in their possession.

  • Cunningham wants agriculture education funded

    cunningham ag edStudents looking to get into agriculture could be without the necessary educational opportunities to spring them forward in the industry.

    In the most recent budget proposal from the governor’s office, agriculture education in Illinois is set to be cut completely out of the budget. In past years, agriculture education has received nearly $2 million.

    Senator Bill Cunningham has proposed legislation that puts a priority on agriculture education instead of slashing it to zero.

    “We need to be prioritizing the industries that make Illinois great. Agriculture is one of those industries,” said Senator Cunningham. “We need to continue to invest in agriculture education, not just end it.”

  • Cunningham pushes higher education compensation reform agenda

    cunningham hiedcompSPRINGFIELD—On Wednesday, Senator Bill Cunningham urged his colleagues on the Higher Education Committee to pass legislation that would reform the financial practices surrounding how higher education administration is compensated.

    The reforms were launched after a report revealed inappropriate financial practices occurring at institutions of higher education, including the recent scandal at the College of DuPage.

    “Our institutions of higher learning throughout Illinois have continued to be plagued by controversies involving excessive compensation for college administrators, which only cost the taxpayers and the students more money,” Cunningham said.

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

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  • Governor vetoes MAP, community college funding for Illinois students

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  • Cunningham sends letter opposing fitness center closure

    cunningham fitness ctrCHICAGO— Senator Cunningham recently sent a letter to an official at Palos Community Hospital urging the hospital to reconsider their current plans to close Palos Health and Fitness Center and attempt to protect the facility and the services it provides.

    Members of the fitness center were recently notified that the facility would shut down May 1. The facility which is run by Palos Community Hospital was set for demolition to make space for a new office building.

    The facility offers many opportunities for residents to continue on a path to recovery from an illness or injury. It also allows many to be able to continue on a path to living a healthy lifestyle by offering many services including medical programs and nutrition training.

    Senator Bill Cunningham recently opposed the proposal to close the community health and fitness center over an approval to build a new office building instead.

    “This facility provides unique services that many in the community utilize to leading a healthy lifestyle,” said Senator Cunningham. “I respectfully ask that Palos Community Hospital reconsider their decision or find a way to continue to provide this excellent service to their community.”

    Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago.

  • Sen. Cunningham stresses MAP Grants importance

    Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) takes a moment to restate the importance of MAP grants for Illinois students and institutions of higher learning on January 28, 2016.