Text Size
Login
config

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law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction to assist in seizing a FOID card when the person’s FOID card has been revoked because they were the subject of an existing order of protection.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

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.

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.