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Cunningham passes measure to improve access to benefits for Chicago police

cunningham 030719SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate passed a bill sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham Thursday that would ease the financial burden on Chicago police officers who litigate to receive certain benefits.

Under current law, the board of trustees for the PABF can issue a denial of the continuance of a duty or occupational disability benefit for a member. Members can appeal the denial, but the cost of litigating the appeal can be a heavy burden.

House Bill 2470 would require the Policeman’s Annuity Benefit Fund of Chicago (PABF) to pay court costs, litigation expenses and reasonable attorney fees for members who were unfairly denied duty or occupational disability benefits.

“Officers earn their benefits by risking their lives day in and day out to protect us and they shouldn’t have to face a financial barrier to accessing them,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This bill is a major win when it comes to protecting the hard earned benefits these men and women deserve.”

The PABF may still strip an officer of benefits if an officer intentionally and unjustifiably delays proceedings and is ultimately convicted of a felony related to his or her service.

House Bill 2470 passed the Senate 50-8. It will now return to the House of Representatives for concurrence before going to the governor’s desk.

Senator Bill Cunningham

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Assistant Majority Leader
President Pro Tempore
18th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Higher Education; Insurance; Assignments (Vice-Chairperson); Executive (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: Born July 21, 1967. Full-time state legislator and lifelong resident of the 18th Senate District. Graduate of Mt. Carmel High School; B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Former Chief of Staff and Director of Communications for the Cook County Sheriff's Office. Previously served as a State Representative (2011-13) and as an elected member of the Sutherland Local School Council. Resides in Chicago's Beverly community with wife, Juliana, and two daughters, Madeline and Olivia.

Associated Representatives:
Kelly M. Burke
Frances Ann Hurley