052214 js 0399VILLA PARK- Currently there are more than 2 million Illinoisans who are eligible to vote, but aren’t registered.
 
To encourage more registration, State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) bipartisan measure,  Senate Bill 1933, to allow Illinois residents seeking a new or renewed driver’s license or state ID would automatically be registered to vote unless they opt out, was signed into law today.
 
“Streamlining this process will save the state money, remove duplicate voter records and engage more people in the democratic process,” Cullerton said. “It’s our duty to make sure Illinois residents are given the opportunity to exercise their fundamental rights.”
 
The bipartisan law includes provisions suggested by opponents such as requiring an applicant to confirm they are eligible to vote, and giving people the option to opt-out of registering at the time they are getting their license renewed or updated.
 
States that have already modernized their systems, like Alaska, Delaware and Oregon, have found that the modernization makes voter rolls more accurate and current. These changes make the system easier to maintain and cut down on redundancies and inaccuracies. Voter registration information is updated regularly and cross referenced with other state databases.
 
“Illinois needs to modernize its systems,” Cullerton said. “Generations of Americans have fought hard for their right to vote.  It is important that we honor their sacrifices by making voting as easy as possible.”
 
In 2012, the Pew Center found that more than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters. Modernizing the registration system would help remove them from voter records.
 
Estimates show the annual county-level costs to process registration throughout the country for voter registration are at least $1 billion, or about one-third of the total county-level cost of administering elections.
Senate Bill 1933, passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. The new law will go into effect immediately to allow automatic voter registration to be implemented by July 1, 2018.

Category: Press Releases

FullSizeRHouse Bill 2661 allows for the transport of police dog injured in the line of duty to be transported to a veterinary clinic or similar facility by emergency professionals.

This was a new law sponsored by me to protect our unsung heroes. If there are not any people in line that need to receive medical attention, our state’s police K-9’s should be able to receive the necessary precautions to save their lives so they can return to keeping our streets and communities safe.

House Bill 2661 puts stipulates in place that require persons to receive medical attention prior to a police dogs transport however, this will allow medical professionals to transport police dogs when necessary.

The average cost for the initial training for a police K-9 can cost a police authority $20,000 to $29,000. This does not account for maintenance training and general living expenses for the dog.

Senate Bill 866 requires the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to provide information and education on service animals to veterans.

Previously, the DVA wasn't required to provide information or resources on how a veteran might obtain a service animal.

The DVA should be a one-stop shop for our veterans. There is a stigma within the veterans’ community on using traditional treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

We haven’t been able to explore the effects of using service dogs as alternative treatments since there is a lack of awareness in the veterans’ community.

I introduced this new law after hearing about the benefits of service animals for Illinois Veterans while serving as Co-Chairman of the Illinois Veterans Suicide Task Force that formed by a measure I championed in 2014.

As co-chairman I held six hearings throughout the state to investigate the causes of veteran suicide and released a report to the General Assembly in December of 2016.

Using service dogs as treatment for PTSD could be the key component to ending the veteran suicide epidemic.

Beagle Freedom Act (SB 1884) which would require public research institutions in Illinois to have an adoption policy in place for dogs and cats used in testing rather than euthanizing them immediately.

The new law requires publicly-funded institutions to have an adoption plan for animals deemed eligible by a veterinarian before euthanasia is an option.

Safe Pets Act (Senate Bill 1882) establishes best practices and consistent regulations to protect dogs and cats throughout Illinois.

Illinois now has standards to protect the health and well-being of animals sold within the state.

The primary components of this regulatory standard for pet stores:

  • Prohibits pet stores from purchasing animals from large commercial breeders that are USDA-licensed and does not have direct non-compliance citations over a two-year period.
  • Pet stores are required to microchip dogs or cats prior to sale.
  • Requires pet stores to obtain copies of USDA inspection reports either from the USDA website (if posted online) or directly from the breeder prior to purchasing the cat or dog and must be available to consumers prior to sale.

House Bill 2897 will create a new program to allow Illinois military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression who are eligible for service dogs through a special program

The new law expands the list of eligible recipients of service dogs through the Helping Paws program to include veterans with PTSD or depression.

The Illinois Department of Corrections operates the Helping Paws Service Dog Program out of the Logan Correctional Center women’s prison. Offenders train dogs that go on to assist people who are visually impaired, use wheelchairs or have a variety of other disabilities. Dogs are provided at no charge.

Category: Press Releases

06292017CM0261RSVILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is tackling another obstacle found during the Veterans Suicide Taskforce hearings.

Cullerton’s measure, Senate Bill 1693, to allow deceased veterans with military service to include their veteran status, branch of military and the period of time served in the military on their death certificate, was signed into law today.

“We need to get to the cause of veteran suicide,” Cullerton said. “The only way to tackle the problem is to have a complete picture. This is a simple way to collect statistics and honor Illinois’ veterans.”

The idea was suggested by DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgenson, who indicated that veteran suicide was under reported since Illinois death certificates do not include information on the history of U.S. military service.

“These are our nation’s heroes. They took care of us, now it is our time to take care of them,” Cullerton said. “Every life we save is priceless.”

Senate Bill 1693 is the second measure signed into law that originated from Cullerton’s Veterans Suicide Taskforce hearings.

The first measure, Senate Bill 866, that requires the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to provide information and education on service animals to veterans, was signed into law on August 11, 2017.

Under current law, the DVA isn’t required to provide information or resources on how a veteran might obtain a service animal.

“The DVA should be a one-stop shop for our veterans,” Cullerton said. “There is a stigma within the veterans’ community on using traditional treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  We haven’t been able to explore the effects of using service dogs as alternative treatments since there is a lack of awareness in the veterans’ community.”

The Illinois Veterans Suicide Task Force was formed by a measure Cullerton led in 2014. As co-chairman Cullerton held six hearings throughout the state to investigate the causes of veteran suicide and released a report to the General Assembly in December of 2016.

The Federal Department of Veterans Affairs and Army state that 10% to 18% of returning veterans are likely to have Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after they return. Some studies suggest that suicide risk is higher among those who experienced trauma due to the symptoms of PTSD.

Senate Bill 1693 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. This new law goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

Category: Press Releases

053016CM0641VILLA PARK- To assist military families State Senator Tom Cullerton’s (D-Villa Park) legislation to update the Line of Duty Compensation Act, was signed into law today.

The Line of Duty Compensation Act provides for death benefits to be paid through the Court of Claims when law enforcement officers, firemen and military service men and women are killed in the line of duty.

Cullerton had heard from the Attorney General’s Office about a claim filed by the wife of a U.S. Army serviceman who was killed during Operation Freedom Sentinel which is not currently included in the act.

“This is one small change will eliminate unnecessary hurdles for military families who have already lost too much,” Cullerton said. “This update guarantees those who have lost one of Illinois’ heroes will be taken care of after they are gone.”

Senate Bill 860 will update the Line of Duty Compensation Act to include recent military operations: Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation New Dawn and Operation Inherent Resolve.

“These military families have already made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom,” Cullerton said.  “It’s our duty to make this process as easy as possible for their loved ones.”

Senate Bill 860 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. This new law goes into effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

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Petition: Do Not Tax Retirement Income

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CONTACT SENATOR CULLERTON

Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

Springfield Office
122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463