03132019CM1507SPRINGFIELD – State Senators Tom Cullerton and Suzy Glowiak, joined DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and representatives of the Transform Illinois coalition on Wednesday to highlight and support proposed legislation limiting the size, scope and cost of local government.

“Government consolidation is one powerful tool we can use to find efficiencies,” Cullerton said. “Transform Illinois continues to be vital in helping lawmakers reduce the government’s footprint without sacrificing services for local residents. I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure government evolves with the needs of the people of Illinois.”

Cullerton (D-Villa Park) advanced Senate Bill 1838 on Tuesday, which creates the School District Efficiency Commission to make recommendations on the number of school districts in the state, optimal enrollment for a school district and where reorganization and realignment of schools districts would be beneficial.

“Property taxes in DuPage County and across the suburbs are crushing residents,” Cullerton said. “The new school funding formula we passed two years ago will help us drive down taxes in our communities by funding schools the right way. The next step is evaluating redundant services at our educational system to eliminate the bureaucratic and outdated organization of school districts.”

Transform Illinois members were joined by lawmakers sponsoring more than 60 bills in the General Assembly’s spring session, aimed at improving local government efficiency, empowering voters to make decisions and increasing transparency and accountability.

“Embracing government consolidation will help save taxpayer dollars,” Glowiak said. “We need to continue to work together to reduce the redundant and outdated layers of government that we have in our state.”

The Transform coalition members noted increased interest in “smarter,” streamlined government services, evidenced by more than 100 pieces of legislation introduced since 2016, creating new opportunities for local government efficiency.

“Illinois has more units of government than any other state in the nation and one of the highest property tax rates,” Cronin said. “What unites our coalition is the notion that too many ‘legacy’ local government systems were created decades ago and they’ve never adapted to the changing times or new technology. But thanks to our Transform Illinois partners and thoughtful lawmakers, efforts to make government service delivery more efficient and effective are taking hold across the state.”

Cullerton and Glowiak look forward to working with Cronin this legislative session to streamline government services and tackle wasteful spending.

03132019CM0236 1SPRINGFIELD – An Elmhurst family may soon be able to extend their backyard gardening season, thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

The Senate’s Local Government Committee heard testimony on Wednesday in support of Cullerton’s measure, Senate Bill 1675, which would stop municipalities from banning the construction of a season extension or crop protection device such as a hoop house from October 1 to April 15 every year.

“Hoop houses allow residents to extend growing season to grow fresh produce all year round,” Cullerton said. “It’s a shame that the state needed to get involved to allow local residents to take advantage of countless health benefits throughout our winter months. My hope is the City of Elmhurst reaches a swift and responsible decision in the next week to avoid the state’s involvement.”

The issue began in 2015, when city officials told Nicole Virgil and her husband, Dan, that their hoop house violated city rules and directed them to take it down. The Virgils had designed and built a hoop house, which is a series of large hoops or bows—made of metal, plastic pipe or wood—covered with a layer of heavy greenhouse plastic. The plastic is stretched tight and fastened to baseboards with strips of wood, metal or wire. Hoop houses can be used to grow some crops year-round.

Since then, the Virgils have been battling zoning restrictions to get the city’s permission to extend their backyard gardening season. The Elmhurst City Council voted on the matter again in February, blocking the hoop house with the mayor casting a rare tie-breaker vote.

“Local and state government exists to preserve the rights of the people,” Nicole Virgil said. “I would like units of local government to respect and support the benign backyard activities of residents.”

The initiative is supported by the Illinois Environmental Council, Sustain DuPage, Urban Canopy, DuPage County Farm Bureau, DuPage NAACP, Eco-Justice Collaborative, Sierra Club and Elmhurst Hoop House. Nearly 1,500 supporters have expressed their support for the measure.

Cullerton hopes the City of Elmhurst will enact policies that will allow residents like Virgil to keep backyard gardens year round. The matter remains under discussion in the Senate’s Local Government Committee.

american flagSPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ lost heroes may soon be recognized at local airports, thanks to Senator Tom Cullerton.
Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 1127 on Thursday to require the Division of Aeronautics under the Department of Transportation fly the Veteran Missing in Action flag at all of the airports in their jurisdiction.

“Our lost heroes should never be forgotten,” Cullerton said. “This small gesture helps keep our missing heroes from all wars in our hearts and minds.”

Gary Hall, a Vietnam Veteran from Peoria, brought this legislation to Cullerton after a Peoria airport denied his request to have the POW-MIA Flag fly under the American flag at the airport.

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, 82,478 Americans who fought in those wars are still missing, including:

• 73,014 from World War II (an approximate number due to limited or conflicting data)
• 7,729 from the Korean War
• 1,603 from Vietnam
• 126 from the Cold War
• 6 from conflicts since 1991

The DPAA said about 75 percent of those missing Americans are somewhere in the Asia-Pacific. More than 41,000 have been presumed lost at sea.
Cullerton, served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman, believes we need to find ways to incorporate the nation’s missing veterans into all of our daily lives.

“We need to look for ways to honor these brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” Cullerton said. “Even those unaccounted should know they may be gone but are not forgotten. This flag serves as a symbol that they are forever in our thoughts and prayers.”

Cullerton passed Senate Bill 1127 with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration.

052214 js 0399VILLA PARK – The State of Illinois released nearly $11 million in funding to make improvements and cover construction costs at two Illinois veterans’ homes this month.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is proud to see Illinois fulfill its commitment to ensuring the state’s veterans have excellent care and a safe place to call home in their golden years.

“These facilities will help us fulfill our obligations to ensure our nation’s heroes receive the best possible care,” Cullerton said. “I’m happy the State of Illinois is taking steps to take care of our veterans, like they took care of us.”

Illinois Comptroller Susanna Mendoza released more than $7 million in funding Friday to pay for renovations at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

The Chicago Veterans’ Home also received a $3.8 million payment earlier this month for construction.

Both payments were approved by the General Assembly in the bipartisan budget passed for this year.

Cullerton served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman and has been a staunch advocate for Illinois veterans, especially those at the Quincy home affected by continuous cases of Legionnaires’ disease during the last governor’s watch.

Lately Cullerton has focused on a series of new laws to ensure Illinois veterans are able to live their golden years in a safe environment with the best possible care.

“Our nation’s heroes have survived foreign conflict zones – the greatest danger they face should not be living in a state facility,” Cullerton said. “These improvements should help ensure our state meets the growing needs of our veterans.”

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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.

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