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Senator Bill Cunningham News

Cunningham, Burke to host burglary prevention seminar

Cunningham-crime-prevEVERGREEN PARK – State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kelly Burke (D-Evergreen Park) are hosting a workshop Monday, Sept. 15 to increase awareness about burglaries and educate residents about how to minimize risk.

Local law enforcement officials and a reformed burglar will discuss steps people can take to reduce the chances of burglary.

The seminar will take place at the Evergreen Park Library. It is open to members of the public and the press.

Attendees should RSVP by calling Cunningham’s office at 773-445-8128.

DATE:

Monday, Sept. 15

TIME:

7-8:30 p.m.

LOCATION:

Evergreen Park Library

9400 S. Troy Ave.

Evergreen Park, IL

Cunningham will host a second burglary seminar Oct. 2 at Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.

 

Senator Cunningham secures construction funding for Evergreen Park

evergreen-parkEVERGREEN PARK – State Senator Bill Cunningham and Evergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton announced the Village of Evergreen Park will soon receive $700,000 from state programs aimed at park construction, road work and storm drain upgrades.

The village's new 50-Acre Park at 91st and California Ave. will receive a $500,000 state grant to establish a farm and garden program for children with disabilities, while the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will provide Evergreen Park with $200,000 to improve city infrastructure, patch potholes and install new storm drains.

Cunningham and Sexton were joined at 50-Acre Park during the Labor Day weekend by Governor Pat Quinn to announce the awarding of the grants.

"Quality, well-maintained parks add value to the entire community," Cunningham said. "And that's particularly true when the parks provide us with much needed programs for a vulnerable segment of our population, like students with special needs.” Cunningham said. "Mayor Sexton and the residents of Evergreen Park have a truly inspiring vision for 50-Acre Park, and I'm happy to have secured state funding to help make it a reality."
 
Cunningham said that the additional road improvement funding coming to Evergreen Park is much needed given the weather-related damage to area infrastructure that has occurred after a harsh winter and rainy summer.

“The recent, widespread suburban flooding highlights the need to improve and maintain our storm water systems. This investment will have the added benefit of creating area construction jobs, which is important to note during the Labor Day holiday,” Cunningham said.

   

Cunningham training program rehabilitates properties, offenders

Cunningham-trng-programCHICAGO –Sheriffs and units of local governments will now have a new tool to address blighted properties, create transitional housing and reduce the number of inmates who reoffend under a new law signed by the governor.

State Senator Bill Cunningham (D- Chicago) sponsored the Neighborhood Restoration and Alternative Sentencing Act as a way to improve neighborhoods and train work-release inmates in practical, construction skills giving them a better chance at employment after completing their sentences.

“This is a unique solution that helps solve three separate problems facing communities in Illinois. It reduces the rate that former inmates reoffend because they can’t find lawful work, repurposes blighted properties and gives local governments new housing options,” Cunningham said.

The law authorizes Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to train county work-release inmates while rehabilitating, demolishing or rebuilding claimed property. The vacant houses targeted by the sheriff's programs are located in poor communities and have been foreclosed on by a bank.

The refurbished buildings can then be used by city and county governments as transitional housing to house the homeless, mentally ill or low income families.

This program, pioneered by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, will apply to counties across the state.

The law takes effect Jan. 1.

   

Cunningham: New lottery ticket brings support to Special Olympics, Special Children’s Charities

Cunningham-polarA plan to help support the Special Olympics with a new lottery ticket was signed into law today. Senator Bill Cunningham (D – Chicago) cosponsored the legislation as it passed through the Senate.

The new law creates the Special Olympics Illinois and Special Children's Charities Fund, which would deposit all proceeds from a specially created lottery scratch-off ticket into an account with the Illinois State Treasury. Special Olympics Illinois would receive 75% of those funds for training, competitions and future programs. The remaining 25% would go to Special Children’s Charities funds.

"Helping pass this bill through the General Assembly was much easier than diving into Lake Michigan on a 17 degree day earlier this year," Cunningham said. "Either way, I am honored to support and promote the Special Olympics whenever possible."

Senator Cunningham has been an active supporter of the Special Olympics for years, having frequently participated in the organization's Polar Plunge fundraiser, during which hundreds of volunteers jump into the icy waters of Lake Michigan on a cold winter morning.

The lottery already helps fund special causes such as cancer research. “Go for the Gold” is the newest special cause scratch-off ticket proposed by the General Assembly. The Special Olympics have been going strong in Illinois since the first event was held at Soldier Field in Chicago in July 1968. Since then, the games have provided opportunities to over 21,000 athletes across the state.

The new measure passed both houses in May, and was signed into law by the governor on June 16.

 

PHOTO: Rep. Fran Hurley, Sen. Cunningham and Alderman Matt O'Shea before the 2014 Polar Plunge.

   

Cunningham votes to protect local school funding

040114 CM 0304csSPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Bill Cunningham today voted against legislation that would cost local suburban schools nearly $22 million in state funding according to the Illinois State Board of Education’s projections. The proposal, which would create a windfall of funding for many poorer downstate schools, would also drastically slash state funding to suburban schools that are struggling to make ends meet with current levels of funding. 

“Our school system is in desperate need of education funding reform, but this is not the right proposal. I commend the sponsor for taking up this monumental task, but I simply cannot support a proposal that would cut state funding to school districts in the southwest suburbs by nearly 90 percent,” Cunningham said.

However, Cunningham continues to remain optimistic that substantive education reform will be a major topic of discussion in the General Assembly.

“While I can’t support this proposal, it is a positive first step in education funding reform. I look forward to continuing to work with legislators across the state to support more equitable education reform, along with a property tax relief package to take the burden of school funding off of local property owners,” said Cunningham.

The legislation, which passed today with a vote of 32-19, will be sent to the Illinois House of Representatives.

   

Cunningham named Blue Star Honor Roll legislator by military families

 

Cunningham-cmteSPRINGFIELD – The Blue Star Family Platoon recently named State Sen. Bill Cunningham a Blue Star Honor Roll Legislator for his support of military families. Cunningham is co-sponsoring House Bill 5872, which would allow the state of Illinois to issue Blue Star Banner license plates to the direct families of active military members.   

For nearly 100 years, military families have proudly displayed Blue Stars at their homes in support of their family members fighting abroad. Cunningham hopes to give families the same ability to show their support on their vehicles.

“This legislation is a simple reminder that we need to continue to support our military families. Having a loved one fighting for our country thousands of miles away, while being a source of immense pride for these families, is also incredibly difficult. We must continue to stand up for them as a community during these tough times,” Cunningham said.

House Bill 5872 recently passed the Illinois House of Representatives by a vote of 105-3 and is currently in the Senate Committee on Assignments.  

   

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 Cunningham2014

18th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Criminal Law; Human Services (Vice-Chairperson);
Education; Labor And Commerce; Committee of the Whole.

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 County
Sheriff 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.