SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) issued the following statement in response to the Illinois Tollway Board’s decision to end Multi-Project Labor Agreement:  

“We take pride in our workforce and ensuring public projects are completed in safe working conditions by skilled workers. The Illinois Tollway’s decision to end Multi-Project Labor Agreements is a mistake. Our first priority has to be ensuring these projects are done correctly, not at a lower cost with poor craftsmanship.”

US Flag BacklitSPRINGFIELD- Families with disabled family members may soon have an important resource to provide a secure financial future for their loved ones.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 1383, which creates a tax-exempt plan to assist individuals and families in saving money to cover the expenses for people with disabilities.

“We need to give family members the right tools to provide their loved ones with disabilities the means to live their lives with pride and respect,” said Cullerton.

SB1383 creates the Illinois Achieving a Better Life Expectancy Act (ABLE Act), which creates accounts similar to tax-advantaged college saving plans where income earned in the account is not taxable. This legislation comes after the federal government passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 with bipartisan support.

Last week, Virginia was the first state to enact the program since the federal legislation was passed.

“This plan would lighten the load a bit and make it easier for families to save money as they continue to make important life decisions for their future,” said Cullerton.

Under this initiative, the Illinois Treasurer’s office would be responsible for creating ABLE accounts in accordance with federal rules and regulations. The accounts can be used to pay for qualifying expenses such as education, health, housing and transportation costs.

SB 1383 passed the Senate and moves to the House for consideration.

SPRINGFIELD- Local school boards make critical decisions concerning curriculum, negotiating teacher contracts and budgets.  However, only about 20 percent of registered voters show up to vote for these important positions.

041615CM0513Illinois residents may be given the opportunity to vote for their school board members alongside candidates for the White House and U.S. Senate under legislation Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed in an effort to fight voter fatigue.

“Good schools mean good businesses in our communities. Voting in local school board elections means voting for the success of our students and economy,” said Cullerton. “We need to do as much as possible to increase voter participation for school board elections. We can’t force people to go out and vote but we can take steps to make it easier.”

Cullerton introduced Senate Bill 669 after observing an extreme decrease in voter participation during consolidated elections. In the 23rd State Senate District alone there was a 58 percentage drop off in voter turnout in the 2013 consolidated elections compared to 2014 general elections.

“We rely on school board members to make vital decisions about the future of our children and property tax dollars. These are decisions they shouldn’t take lightly and neither should voters,” said Cullerton.  

Under this measure, school board elections will remain nonpartisan.

SB 669 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and will now move to the House for consideration.

SPRINGFIELD- Eighth birthdays are extremely important to children. It’s supposed to be a day full of cake, presents and friends. However, this wasn’t the case for Charlie on his eighth birthday.

He woke up on his birthday with unusual symptoms. The little boy who loved participating in talent shows and putting on skits was now scared of performing in front of crowds and talking to his friends. There was an immediate change in his personality.

PANDASpassedThe next two months of Charlie’s life were the hardest time for his family. He instantly displayed symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Charlie didn’t want to be touched or hugged. He feared his food and was deathly afraid of water to the point where he couldn’t shower or brush his teeth. When triggered, Charlie would go into fits of rage.  He suffered from hallucinations to the extent he was unable to recognize his mother or father.

Charlie’s mother was faced with a difficult situation, either being forced to institutionalize her son or place her other two children in the care of a loved one. After two months of looking for answers, a doctor diagnosed Charlie with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

PANDAS is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome and other tics after a child has had a strep infection. Symptoms range from severe separation anxiety to motor tics that appear similar to seizures and hallucinations. The symptoms are severe enough to prevent children from attending school.

To raise awareness and educate medical professionals, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed a measure to create an advisory council to make recommendations to the Illinois Department of Public Health on awareness and education among doctors, school-based health centers and mental health providers.

Early detection is key. After observing Charlie, his mother Kate Drury was quickly able to diagnosis her younger son with PANDAS when he displayed early symptoms.

“No one wants to see young children suffer.  I have three young children at home, stories like Charlie’s display the immediate need to educate medical professionals and the general public on the PANDAS symptoms,” said Cullerton. “It’s our duty to ensure our children don’t suffer. The faster we diagnose children affected by PANDAS, the quicker we can begin treatment.”

PANDAS is potentially a lifelong disease that is estimated to affect nearly 175,000 children and adolescents in Illinois. It has even been found in adults.

Senate Bill 1684 passed the Senate and now moves to the House for consideration.

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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