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Tom Cullerton passes measure to protect high-risk veterans

tc 051518SPRINGFIELD – The State of Illinois currently does not have a procedure in place to alert police and emergency professionals of missing veterans, but State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is working to change that.

Cullerton passed House Bill 4212, which expands the use of the Endangered Missing Person Advisory system - also known as Silver Alert – to veterans who are believed to have physical or mental conditions related to their service.

Cullerton continues to lead on Legionnaires’ fixes (VIDEO)

tc 051018SPRINGFIELD – Three years after the initial outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy, residents of that facility and others like it are still waiting for Gov. Bruce Rauner to be proactive in detecting and removing Legionella bacteria from state-run facilities.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) took charge of the situation Thursday by passing House Bill 4278, which requires an Illinois veterans Home to notify facility residents and their emergency contacts within 24 hours if two or more residents in the home have been diagnosed with an infectious disease in period of one month or less.

Cullerton: Budget transparency is long overdue

tc 050918SPRINGFIELD  –  A bill introduced in the Illinois Senate would mandate transparency and accuracy in the governor’s annual budget proposal.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) advanced House Bill 5814, which forces the governor’s office to record late interest payments as a separate line item in its appropriations to state agencies. This paints a clearer picture of the state’s funds and slows the depletion of funding needed to run those agencies.

“As legislators, we can’t negotiate a proper budget when we don’t know how much money is owed or where it is going,” Cullerton said. “Utilizing responsible accounting practices in state government will allow the citizens of Illinois to know how and where their valuable tax dollars are spent.”

Currently, most late payment interest penalties accrue at a rate of 12 percent per month for bills unpaid after 90 days, while healthcare bills accumulate interest at a rate of 9 percent after 30 days.

The interest penalties are paid from the same appropriation line, depleting the amount a state agency can spend for its operations. Cullerton’s bill forces the governor’s budget to include separate line item requests to for prompt pay interest payments.

“This practice will force all future governors to be more realistic when presenting a budget to the general assembly and public,” Cullerton said. “We need to make sure governors, whether they are republican and democrat, do not attempt to hide behind phony numbers.”

The comptroller’s January 2018 Debt Transparency Report confirmed that taxpayers owe approximately $887 million in late payment interest penalties — despite the fact that over $140 million in interest penalties was paid out in calendar 2017.

This bipartisan measure is an initiative of Comptroller Susana Mendoza and is supported by the Better Government Association.

House Bill 5814 passed the Senate’s State Government Committee with bipartisan support and moves to the full Senate for consideration.

 

Tom Cullerton: Taxpayer dollars should not be used as hush money

tcullerton 040218SPRINGFIELD – A new bill from State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) would make taxpayer dollars off limits for the purpose of purchasing silence regarding allegations and investigations of sexual harassment.

Cullerton’s measure, House Bill 4243, prohibits any public funds – including money that is appropriated for office allowances – from being paid to any person in exchange for his or her silence or inaction related to an allegation or investigation of sexual harassment allegedly committed by an elected official.

“Taxpayer dollars should not be used as ‘hush money’ by disgraced elected officials who have betrayed the public’s trust,” Cullerton said. “Our goal is to let government officials know that we have zero tolerance for sexual harassment.”

The measure is sponsored by State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in the House, giving it bipartisan support.

House Bill 4243 is a response to recent news that members of Congress used public funds to pay settlements to former employees in response to allegations of sexual harassment.

“The time to take action is now. The people of Illinois have spoken. We will not and cannot support a culture that promotes inappropriate behavior,” Cullerton said.

House Bill 4243 passed the Senate’s Committee on Government Reform with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Labor; Local Government (Vice-Chairperson); State Government & Veterans Affairs; Transportation; Committee of the Whole; Energy and Public Utilities.

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.