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Bennett renews push for Vermilion County casino

bennett 040218Quick work needed to pass a package to boost economy, add funds to schools

DANVILLE – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) today renewed his commitment to ensuring that any state gaming expansion include a facility in Danville, not just Chicago as suggested by its mayor, Rahm Emmanuel.

“A Chicago casino cannot be a stand-alone proposal,” Bennett said. “Vermilion county is ideal ground for a facility to create jobs, fund local schools and become a draw for patrons from across the state border. I remain determined to including our region in a final gaming plan.” 

In an address to the Chicago City Council last Wednesday, Emanuel disclosed that he has been talking with top legislative negotiators to craft a 2019 plan to include a casino for the south side of Chicago.

Under Emanuel’s plan, the revenue generated from the facility would help pay down the city’s pension debt that has accumulated after decades of underfunding. Bennett said gaming revenue from a Vermilion county casino should be dedicated to funding local schools, not retirement fixes for Chicago.

“In Springfield, we’re going to have to bring diverse voices together to quickly develop a gaming package that includes directing revenue where each region wants or needs it most,” Bennett said. “Our area schools need the investment that can come from a new facility, and that’s my priority.”

Bennett stressed the need to act quickly to his Senate colleagues since gaming efforts are ramping up in Indiana. 

“For a long time, the ink has dried on construction plans for Vermilion County,” Bennett said. “But Indiana’s competitive focus on gaming should be a signal to all of us to act quickly. There are great opportunities for economic growth in the area, if we can get to work with speed.”

Bennett receives Robert R. McClarren Legislative Development Award

Bennett ILAAwardPEORIA – The Illinois Library Association presented State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) with the Robert R. McClarren Legislative Development Award at their annual conference on Tuesday.

The award is given to a worthy recipient from the Illinois library community who has contributed significantly to legislative development in Illinois.

“Serving a broad constituency, Bennett has balanced political ideology with the needs and opinions of his constituents,” said the Illinois Library Association’s release. “In his short time in the legislature, he has shown himself to be a strong supporter of education and library issues.”

Bennett announces $215,000 in State construction funding for Parkland College

bennett 040318CHAMPAIGN – More than $215,000 in funding has been released to Parkland College to update and repair campus buildings, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Friday.

“Parkland College is an integral part of the community here in Champaign,” Bennett said. “This investment will help Parkland continue to provide a safe and secure environment for students and faculty.”

The capital funds will go to the construction of an addition to the student services center and other improvements throughout campus. The two projects, totaling $215,000, will maintain and update infrastructure.

“Nothing is more important that the health and safety for our students, and I will continue to advocate for funding so that we can provide the learning environments they deserve,” Bennett said. “I’m thrilled that Parkland received these funds from the State and can help maintain an educational environment that will help students achieve the best opportunity for success.”

The General Assembly approved the Fiscal Year 2019 capital budget in May. It includes more than $100 million to address the needs of higher education facilities to complete ongoing construction projects and begin new ones.

New Bennett law protects student loan borrowers from losing professional licenses

bennett 053018SPRINGFIELD – Student loan borrowers will now have protections in place to help them keep their professional licenses as they work to pay off their debt, thanks to a new law passed by State Senator Scott Bennett.

Bennett (D-Champaign) worked with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to pass Senate Bill 2439, which removes from Illinois law provisions that allow an individual’s professional license to be taken away if they are behind on their student loan payments. 

“There are many things we can do to collect debt for student loans, but taking away someone’s job should never be an option,” Bennett said. “This new law protects licensed professionals from becoming trapped in insurmountable debt.”

The Career Preservation and Student Loan Repayment Act puts provisions in place to prevent licensing agencies from denying, revoking, or suspending licenses to individuals with student loan default in 38 professions such as occupational therapists, teachers, structural engineers, home inspectors and real estate agents.

“For many people, the reward of a fulfilling career is what makes an investment in higher education worth it,” Bennett said. “I am glad that we are now able to protect that investment and ensure that borrowers can stay current on their payments – instead of severely punishing them when they fall behind.” 

The governor signed the law this week. It takes effect immediately.

Sen. Scott Bennett

Senator Scott Bennett

52nd Senate District

Years served: 2015 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Chairperson); Appropriations II; Criminal Law (Vice-Chairperson); Higher Education; Labor; State Government; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Bennett grew up in Gibson City, where four generations of his family worked on their family farm. He moved to Champaign-Urbana to attend law school at the University of Illinois after graduating from Illinois State University.

Associated Representatives:
Carol Ammons
Michael T. Marron