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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.

Student-Teacher Background Checks go into effect January 1

cunningham bkgrd chksCHICAGO — On Jan. 1, prospective student-teachers in Illinois will be required to go through the same background check process as a regular teacher. Senate Bill 706, passed during the last session of the 99th General Assembly, improved the process of how to properly screen student-teacher candidates.

The legislation is the result of a multi-year discussion between Senator Bill Cunningham (D-18), the Illinois State Board of Education and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Currently in Illinois, student-teachers are required to get separate background checks for each school they teach at, which can create confusion for the student-teacher and the districts where they are placed to teach.

“Our first priority should be protecting our children while they are at school,” Cunningham said. “This law is a sustainable way to allow student teachers to get the on the job training they need while protecting our students.”

The legislation requires that student-teachers submit to a series of background checks, including a fingerprint-based criminal history check, a Statewide Sex Offender Database check along with a check of the Statewide Murderer and Violent Offender Databases. The Illinois State Police and FBI are also required to furnish any conviction records of prospective student teachers.

“This is about protecting our students from predators. If we want to keep excellent teachers in the classroom, we need a plan to both protect our future leaders and ensure our instructors are the best and safest,” Cunningham said.

The legislation passed both the Senate and the House and was signed by Gov. Rauner.

For other laws going into effect on Jan. 1, please visit the Illinois Senate Democrats’ website.

Cunningham: Time to give local governments their money

cunningham bkgrd chks(CHICAGO)— On Monday, December 7, the Senate voted to pass SB 2039. The legislation would release many non-GRF funds to go where they belong. The Motor Fuel Tax money, or gas tax, is one of the group of funds being released to local governments.

“It is time that we give this money to the communities that need it for public safety issues, like fixing potholes,” said Senator Bill Cunningham, who voted to send gas tax revenue to local communities in May, as well.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, December 2, voted to send that money back to local communities and sent the legislation to the Senate. After Senate approval, it is heading to the governor’s desk for his signature.

“The fact that we had to take this vote again is disappointing. The governor had a chance to send this money out, but instead he vetoed it. I voted to put these funds where they can do some good,” said Cunningham.

Many communities in Cook County will now be able to use money for critical projects. While 2015 gas tax amounts are not yet available, in 2014, Oak Lawn received $1,403,471 in gas tax money. Orland Park, in 2014, received $1,405,377 in gas taxes.

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 Statement on Illinois Leaders' Meeting

cunningham hmstdexempt(CHICAGO)—State Senator Bill Cunningham, who 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, released the following statement on the leaders' meeting set for December 1:

“I am glad a meeting is finally occurring, but what we need now is substantial progress,” said Senator Cunningham. “I hope the governor comes to the table with every intention of bringing together a common-sense proposal that puts Illinois back on the path to financial security without sacrificing critical programs. I am glad there is a meeting but at this point we need more than just meetings.”

Senator Bill Cunningham

 Cunningham2014

18th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Criminal Law; Labor; Committee of the Whole; Higher Education (Vice-Chairperson); Appropriations II; Transportation.

Biography: Served in the House from 2011-13; full-time state legislator and lifelong resident of the southwest Chicago area; born July 21, 1967; graduate of Saint Barnabas Grammar School (1981), Mount Carmel High School (1985) and the University of Illinois Chicago (1990); former advisor to Cook CountySheriff Mike Sheahan and former chief of staff to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart; youth soccer coach; parent representative on the Sutherland Local School Council; lives in Beverly with wife, Juliana, and two daughters, Madeline and Olivia.