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  • State Senators: It’s time to stop using flawed Crosscheck system (VIDEO)

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  • Women of the Senate announce creation of bipartisan Women’s Caucus (VIDEO)

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  • Hispanics in the U.S. are writing America’s story (VIDEO)

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  • New analysis shows big taxpayer savings from financing state’s overdue bills (VIDEO)

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  • Senate brings historic education funding reform across the finish line (VIDEO)

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  • Automatic voter registration initiative becomes law (VIDEO)

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  • Rauner’s veto of SB1 a battle plan for waging war on public education in Illinois (VIDEO)

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  • Hunter shares good news from DCFS on scholarships (VIDEO)

    hunter062917SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) expressed her congratulations to all the recent high school graduates who are able to attend college thanks to scholarships from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

    “This is a great example of the state doing something positive for young men and women’s lives,” said Hunter. “They’ve been through so much and still managed to excel through the many obstacles they’ve faced. I appreciate the state’s efforts in encouraging young people to take the next step.”

  • Governor refuses to meet with Senate President on school funding (VIDEO)

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  • Cullerton talks budget numbers, override at City Club (VIDEO)

    jjc cityclub070617Senate President John Cullerton spoke at the City Club's breakfast this morning. Here are his prepared remarks, after which he answered reporters' questions:

    Good morning.

    Thank you for the opportunity to be here. I always look forward to talking to this group.

    I’m pleased to finally have something to talk about in regards to our budget.

    But before I put everyone to sleep with a long discussion of budget numbers, I want to begin with some audience participation.

  • Senate Democrat budget negotiators urge calm as progress continues in Springfield (VIDEO)

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  • Students, communities, accreditation at risk for universities (VIDEO)

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  • Cunningham: MAP grants critical for local economy (VIDEO)

    cunningham52617SPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham discusses the importance of MAP grants to Illinois colleges and students in a video released today.

    “If we’re going to make our state a better place to live and make sure people are upwardly mobile from an economic standpoint, map grants are a very important part of that,” Cunningham said.

    Cunningham’s comments are in response to a letter to alumni from Saint Xavier University, a private college in Chicago, explaining that it is owed $6.4 million by the state of Illinois for promised Monetary Award Program grants to students. This is money that is not going into the local economy, Cunningham said.

    To view the video: click here

    In May, the Illinois Senate passed a balanced budget that would properly fund MAP grants for local colleges and universities, including Saint Xavier.

    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. 

  • Senate President urges optimism on state budget deal after first leaders meeting in months (VIDEO)

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  • Senate President urges Republicans to end the impasse (VIDEO)

    Senate President John J. Cullerton

    The state’s lingering budget stalemate could end quickly if Republican lawmakers would prioritize a balanced budget deal over their political allegiance to Governor Bruce Rauner, Senate President John J. Cullerton told reporters on Friday.

    “This could all be over if the will is there,” Cullerton said at a Capitol news conference. His comments come as the state creeps ever closer to a third year without a budget under Rauner, who the Wall Street Journal recently dubbed ‘Governor Junk.’

    “The pressure is really on the Republicans in the House, and I think they really want to get this done as well,” said Cullerton.

    The Illinois Senate approved a balanced budget and reform plans last month, but the Illinois House has not yet reached agreement on the budget plan. With the initial May 31 deadline past, it now requires 71 votes in the 118-member House to approve a budget deal. That gives the political minority Republicans a share of the driver’s seat.

    If Republicans could reach a bipartisan deal with Democrats in the House, that deal could be added onto the framework the Senate already passed and quickly approved, perhaps even in a day. Instead of negotiating a deal, Rauner and his Republican allies have focused on a new series of proposals that not only require far longer to get approved but are also inherently out of balance since they forgot to file any proposal to pay for the spending.

    Cullerton called for “an intervention” among Republicans in the House to work on a balanced budget and get it approved before the state’s budget year runs out next week.

    The Senate President also derided as a “political stunt” a series of Special Sessions the governor ordered to force lawmakers back to the Capitol, even though the Senate already addressed all the issues he listed.

    “Everything the special session would do, we have done in the Senate,” Cullerton said. “I think they were unfortunately designed to be a political stunt to give the governor cover.”

    Cullerton also criticized the governor for again intervening and pulling Republicans out of a planned meeting of legislative leaders. The Senate President said these meetings are key because the four leaders have a history of being able to work together to get results.

  • Senate Democrats Balanced Budget vs. Rauner's Rhetoric (VIDEO)

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  • Documents on ed funding published by governor's political allies (VIDEO)

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  • Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial: Remembering the fallen and honoring heroic acts

    Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial 2017The Illinois General Assembly welcomed firefighters from around the state for the annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial & Firefighter Medal of Honor Ceremony. The event began with an honorary memorial tribute. Sadly, this year, two Illinois firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty. Many say, this event is a meaningful way to show respect by honoring those who serve our state and country.

  • Clock ticks as Senate Dems try to salvage Illinois economy. Cullerton to Senate: Deal, or no deal? (AUDIO/VIDEO)

    Senate President John J. Cullerton

    SPRINGFIELD — With time running out on lawmakers’ spring session, Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton attempted to jumpstart bipartisan budget action only to have Governor Rauner and Republicans block progress.

    Cullerton’s efforts come as the General Assembly draws ever closer to a May 31 deadline on a budget and Gov. Bruce Rauner risks entering a third straight budget year with no state budget and a mountain of unpaid bills that recently topped $13 billion.

    Rauner pulled the plug on budget talks last December even as an emergency deal was about to expire. There has been no state spending plan in place since January 1. Senate leaders stepped in to fill the leadership void and began piecing together a sweeping reform and financial plan intended to end the impasse and stabilize the state’s economy.

    Initially, the Senate made great progress.

    Nearly half of the deal — including key provisions for reducing government, opening up economic development opportunities and cutting bureaucratic red tape — won approval at the end of February. But with the rest of the deal positioned for success on March 1, word came down that Rauner was pulling nearly all the Republican support off the plan. Without those votes, the plan, which was put together by Republicans and Democrats, couldn’t advance.

    While there had been numerous meetings and claims of progress over the ensuing months, nothing had been voted on since the end of February. Cullerton decided last week that the Senate had waited long enough and it was time for action.

    “Every day there’s not a budget, the state spends itself another $11 million into debt. March 1 was 71 days ago. It is now May 10. After today, there are 20 days left before our scheduled adjournment on May 31,” the Senate President told the Senate. “I don’t think we can wait any longer. I believe the public’s patience is wearing thin. One way or another, it’s time to vote.”

    The Senate did approve a provision to give local government greater flexibility in borrowing, something that should result in lower interest rates on financing and result in local taxpayer savings.

    But efforts to vote on and advance reforms to the state benefit system for injured workers and a local property tax freeze stalled because Republicans refused to let the Senate vote on the plans. Republican senators said they needed more time to tinker with the provisions before they would consider voting.

    Cullerton said the Senate will keep working and urged lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to realize time is running out, recognize the opportunity for compromise and seize it to help save the state’s economy.

    You can watch the Senate President answer reporters’ questions here:

  • Senate welcomes Consul General of Japan in Chicago (VIDEO)

    Mr. Naoki Ito, the Consul General of Japan in ChicagoToday the Senate had the honor of welcoming Mr. Naoki Ito, the Consul General of Japan in Chicago.
     
    Mr. Ito has had a long and distinguished career in the foreign service. After joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1984, he served in various positions around Asia before moving to the United Kingdom in 2008. He was named Consul General of Japan in Chicago in February of this year.