Tom Cullerton’s new law strengthens employment protections for service members

veteran civjob 082718VILLA PARK— A new Illinois law will ensure service members’ rights are protected while they are serving our nation.

State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) sponsored Senate Bill 3547 which modernizes state military service member employment rights. The updates to the law protect modern operational reserve forces.

This bipartisan measure was signed into law on Sunday and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

“It’s important that we ensure state laws are modernized with the growing needs of our military members,” Cullerton said. “While our service men and women are sacrificing their lives to protect our country they should not have to fear losing their civilian jobs.”

Cullerton’s budget transparency measure is now law

tcullerton 050218VILLA PARK – A new Illinois law sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will mandate transparency and accuracy in the governor’s annual budget proposal.

The governor signed Cullerton’s House Bill 5814 on Friday, which will force all future governors’ offices to record late interest payments as a separate line item in agency appropriations.

The law will paint a clearer picture of the state’s financial standing and slow the depletion of funding needed to provide vital services to Illinois residents.

“All future governors will be forced to present realistic appropriations budgets in the future thanks to this bill,” Cullerton said. “We need to make sure governors, regardless of political party, do not attempt to hide behind phony numbers.”

Currently, most late payment interest penalties accrue at a rate of 12 percent per month for bills unpaid after 90 days, while health care bills accumulate interest at a rate of 9 percent after 30 days.

The interest penalties are paid from the same appropriation line, depleting the amount a state agency can spend for its operations. Cullerton’s measure forces the governor’s budget to include separate line item requests to for prompt pay interest payments.

The comptroller’s January 2018 Debt Transparency Report confirmed that taxpayers owe approximately $887 million in interest penalties despite paying out over $140 million in penalties in 2017.

“As legislators, we can’t negotiate a responsible budget when we don’t know how much money is owed or where it is going,” Cullerton said. “Utilizing responsible accounting practices in state government will allow the citizens of Illinois to know how and where their valuable tax dollars are spent.”

This bipartisan measure is an initiative of Comptroller Susana Mendoza and is supported by the Better Government Association.

House Bill 5814 passed the House and Senate with unanimous support and goes into effect immediately.

Cullerton’s new law takes aim at sexual harassment buyouts

tcullerton 040218VILLA PARK – A new law will require taxing bodies to notify the public if they enter into a severance agreement with an employee or contractor that has been accused of sexual assault or discrimination.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) championed House Bill 4242, which will apply to schools, community colleges, units of local government and other taxing bodies. This measure was signed into law on Thursday. 

“This will put a stop to using taxpayer dollars to line the pockets of administrators and employees who are guilty of sexual harassment or discrimination,” Cullerton said. “The Me Too Campaign movement continues to be an essential effort to push our society toward a zero-tolerance atmosphere. This law moves Illinois a step in the right direction.”

The law requires the taxing body to notify the public within 72 hours of their entry into the agreement.  The notification would include the name and title of the person receiving the payment, the amount of the payment, and whether the reason for the severance was for alleged sexual harassment or sexual discrimination.

“This has been going on too long and it’s time we put a stop to it,” Cullerton said. “This law promotes government accountability and transparency—two things we need more than ever.”

House Bill 4242 is a response to a separation agreement entered into by Des Plaines Elementary District 62 with Superintendent Floyd Williams Jr. Williams received a buyout of $127,000 after the school district received several complaints alleging sexual harassment. The separation agreement prohibited the district and Williams from disparaging each other and prevented the district from mentioning the sexual harassment allegations in reference letters. 

The district was aware when it hired Williams that he had faced allegations of misconduct in his previous position as assistant superintendent in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but nonetheless hired him after a supposed “thorough vetting."     

“I will continue to fight for initiatives that help inform the public as to where their vital dollars are being spent,” Cullerton said. “The only way to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse is to hold people accountable.”

House Bill 4242 passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and goes into effect immediately.

Cullerton champions new breast cancer awareness law

tc vets resol 021518VILLA PARK – Women across Illinois will now have better breast cancer detection, thanks to a law sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

Cullerton sponsored House Bill 4392, which will require a mammographer to notify a patient if they have dense breast tissue, was signed into law earlier this month.  

“This new law can save lives. Early diagnosis saves lives,” Cullerton said. “Being informed about risks associated with dense breast tissue could possibly be the difference between life and death. It’s our health care providers’ responsibility to notify patients about possible dangers.”

House Bill 4392 requires mammograghers or mammographer technologists to recommend patients follow up with their physicians and provide patients with informative brochures to educate them on potential risks if their mammogram relieves a patient has dense breast tissue.

Research has shown that dense breasts can be 6 times more likely to develop cancer and makes it harder for mammograms to detect breast cancer.

“Science has made amazing advances to provide successful treatment and detection of breast cancer.  However it is absolutely vital that cancer is discovered at an early stage. This requires patients to be educated and kept informed about signs and symptom,” Cullerton said. “We must do whatever we can to save lives.”  

The Illinois Department of Public Health is required to provide educational information for facilities and health care providers that perform mammograms such as clinics, hospitals and physician’s offices.

House Bill 4392 passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Sen. Tom Cullerton


23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor; State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Chairperson); Sub. on Utility Rate Regulations (Sub-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