05302018CM0241VILLA PARK – A new Illinois state law sponsored by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will protect veterans at state homes from epidemics like the deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

Cullerton’s legislation, which was signed into law on Friday requires Illinois veterans homes 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 a period of one month or less.

“This new law will put the health of our veterans ahead of government bureaucracy,” Cullerton said. “When your loved one is in harm’s way, you have a right to know. Now that right is the law.”

House Bill 4278 was pushed in response to Rauner’s mismanagement of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at the Quincy Veterans Home. Despite signs of the spread of bacteria reaching epidemic proportions, the state did not notify the public about the deadly 2015 outbreak until nearly a week later.

“In 2015, the families of the servicemen and women residing in the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy should have been notified of the Legionnaires’ disease epidemic, but Gov. Rauner’s administration left them and their loved ones in the dark,” Cullerton said. “This is simply unacceptable and we can’t let it happen again.”

The new law also requires veterans homes to post notification of the incidence of the infectious disease in a visible place near the facility’s main entrance. Once those requirements have been met, they must notify the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Public Health.

In Quincy, a workplace safety reprimand was issued by the state Department of Labor, which said the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to effectively notify all employees of the outbreak.

“Our veterans have put their lives on the line for us and it’s our duty to protect theirs in their golden years,” Cullerton said. “If the governor’s administration is refusing to use commonsense, the General Assembly will put protocols in place to ensure our nation’s heroes receive the best possible care and service we can offer.”

House Bill 4278 was supported by the Better Government Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Illinois AMVETS. It goes into effect immediately.

New law will create alert system for missing veterans

05152017CM060RSVILLA PARK – A new law to alert police and emergency professionals of missing veterans will take effect Jan. 1, thanks to Sen.Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

Cullerton’s House Bill 4212 expands the use of the Endangered Missing Person Advisory system known as the Silver Alert to veterans who are believed to have physical or mental conditions related to their service. It was signed into law on Friday.

Per the new law, the public would be notified when a high-risk veteran goes missing. The alert would be similar to Amber Alerts, which are already used by the state to locate missing children.

“Our veterans have put their lives in harm’s way to protect us. When our heroes return home, we need to find ways to look out for them,” Cullerton said. “This new law will help us save lives.”

The effort is the latest in a long line of veteran protections put in place by Cullerton.

In 2013, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs released a study covering suicides from 1999 to 2010. It showed roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes.

In response, Cullerton – who served as an Army infantryman from 1990 to 1993 – created and served as a chairperson on the Illinois Veterans Suicide Taskforce to help address the veteran suicide epidemic in Illinois.
Cullerton said this new law takes another step to ensure veterans receive the necessary resources when they return home.

“Veterans need to know they have people behind them and this law takes a step toward accomplishing that,” Cullerton said. “I urge any veteran struggling with depression and suicide to take advantage of free state and federal resources. No one expects you to tackle these internal struggles alone. There is help out there.”

Last General Assembly, Cullerton passed a series of laws to combat the veterans’ suicide epidemic, including a measure to expand the use of service animals to veterans suffering from PTSD.

Cullerton urges veterans and their loved ones to call the confidential and toll-free hotline, 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

PHOTO Cullerton helps kick off DuPage County FairWHEATON— State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) helped kick off the DuPage County Fair this week with a guest appearance at the annual event.

Cullerton, an avid advocate for preserving the county fair tradition, joined the DuPage County Fair Association at the event.

The DuPage County Fair is open from July 25 to July 29 at the fairgrounds located in Wheaton.

“The DuPage County Fair is a true testament to the hard work and dedication our Fair Association has put into maintaining this 63-year-old tradition,” Cullerton said. “If you are looking for something to do this weekend, I encourage you to stop by the fair grounds for a fun-filled time.”

The Fair Association is a not-for-profit volunteer organization that manages and owns all of the buildings and infrastructure on the site. The fair does not utilize county or government funding to maintain buildings and organize the fair week.

The DuPage County Fairgrounds, established in 1955, is dedicated to “Preserving Our Past to Protect Our Future.” The association hosts the annual DuPage county fair and many shows and expos throughout the year.

“The county fair serves as a reminder for DuPage residents that agriculture is a key component of Illinois’ economy,” Cullerton said.

Cullerton is an active member in the Illinois Farm Bureau Adopt-A-Legislator program. He is in constant contact with the Montgomery Farm Bureau discussing legislative measures, touring farms and visiting agricultural facilities and businesses.

“The Illinois Farm Bureau Adopt-A-Legislator program has helped urban and rural districts bridge their differences,” Cullerton said. “I have gained extensive knowledge about the importance agriculture has in our state’s economy while sharing the needs and concerns of urban districts like mine. I cannot thank the Farm Bureau enough for these valuable opportunities and relationships.”

Cullerton serves as a member on the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, a position he requested being appointed to.

“When you think of members that should serve on the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, you may not automatically think a DuPage County senator,” Cullerton said. “But a lot of times people fail to understand that the importance of agriculture does not end in rural areas. Billions of dollars flow into our state’s economy because of this vital industry. We all win when we recognize the significance of agriculture in Illinois.”

PHOTO Cullerton tours Addison Township Food Pantry with Reboletti and DuPage County Board MembersADDISON — State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) heard Tuesday about progress and development of the Addison Township Food Pantry.

Addison Township Supervisor Dennis Reboletti led Cullerton and DuPage County Members Dino Gavanes and Sam Tornatore on a tour of the food pantry’s recent expansion.

“Addison Township is providing our neighbors with an easily accessible resource to help ensure their children and families do not go hungry,” Cullerton said. “I’m impressed with the heart and soul the Addison Township Supervisor Reboletti and his staff have put into making this food pantry a successful component of our community.”

The food pantry is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m. for Addison Township residents in need of food. The pantry is located at the 50 E. Oak St. entrance of the Addison Township Building (401 N. Addison Road, Addison).

One in seven Americans – 46 million people – rely on food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families, the study found.

The food pantry relies on donations from local grocery stores, businesses and residents.

“Hunger exists in every community,” Cullerton said. “If we continue to build and strengthen partnerships between government entities, business communities and residents we will be able to stamp out hunger one township at a time.”

Residents of Addison Township can receive food on a monthly basis. For example if a resident receives food from the pantry on June 5, they may return for additional food on July 3. However, if there is dire a need of food, a resident can return at any time.

The food pantry offers non-perishable food items along with USDA commodities and it accepts donations of food and personal hygiene items.

Cullerton urges residents with questions regarding donations or food pantry operations to call the Addison Township Office at (630) 530-8161.

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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
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122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
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