“Any time we can pass legislation to help our developmentally disabled population, it makes us a stronger and better state.” State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park)

 

081915CM0995RTrsVILLA PARK – State Senator Tom Cullerton’s initiative to help nearly 20,000 Illinois families on waiting lists for developmental disability services was signed into law today.

House Bill 6086, sponsored by Cullerton in the Senate, will require the state to take certain factors into consideration when determining which individuals will receive services, such as the amount of time spent already on a waiting list.

“Any time we can pass legislation to help our developmentally disabled population, it makes us a stronger and better state,” said Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat.

House Bill 6086 is an initiative of Autism Speaks. The organization approached Cullerton for assistance because of the difficulty that families face when they spend a significant amount of time on the state’s Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services (PUNS) waiting list to receive services for developmentally disabled family members.

“I would like to thank Senator Tom Cullerton and Gov. Rauner for being supportive of House Bill 6086,” said Mike Baker, volunteer state advocacy chairman for Autism Speaks. “I hope that it will be the first of many steps to expand and improve services for people with autism and all developmental disabilities in Illinois.”

PUNS is a statewide database with information about individuals with developmental disabilities who seek state services. The database does not function as a first-come, first-served service; enrollments are categorized by need, and families with immediate needs are served first.

House Bill 6086 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.

Category: Press Releases

tcullerton 053116VILLA PARK – Between 2010 and 2014, 11 of Illinois’ 15 major government pension funds made $2.2 million in payments to more than 1,000 dead people.

State Senator Tom Cullerton’s initiative to eliminate government waste, House Bill 6030, was signed into law Friday, which will require state pension funds to develop and implement a process to identify deceased pension recipients each month.

“We can’t afford to waste taxpayer dollars,” said Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat. “This simple step will reduce waste, fraud and abuse.”

Retirement systems do not know a definite amount of pension payments made to deceased annuitants because each pension fund tracks death-related overpayments differently.  

This new law will give state pension funds until Jan. 1, 2017, to implement a process to identify deceased recipients at least once a month. The process can include using a third-party company, Social Security Administration data or other available data, as well as any other method that is commonly used by other state retirement systems.

The Better Government Association, a Chicago-based government watchdog organization, expressed support for the new law.

“With this new law, Illinois has taken a strong step toward eliminating abuse and reducing fraud,” BGA policy coordinator Judy Stevens said. “By requiring state funds to regularly identify pension recipients who have passed, the law could ultimately result in saving millions of dollars for Illinois woefully underfunded retirement systems.”

The law goes into effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

DSC 5504VILLA PARK – State Senator Tom Cullerton’s college administrative reforms were signed into law today.

This reform package was advanced by Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, in response to the repetitive reports of abuse and misuse of taxpayer dollars at the state’s universities and community colleges, in particular the College of DuPage, located in Cullerton’s backyard.

“These new laws are necessary first steps to stop waste, fraud and abuse at our state universities and community colleges, “ Cullerton said. “We need to put an end to the days of college administrators banking on executive perks at the expense of our college students.

One of the new laws will prevent a lame duck community college board from entering into a new contract with a college administrator starting 45 days prior to Election Day through the rest of their terms.

Cullerton knows that with these new laws we will be able to better protect taxpayers and tuition payers from future scandals

The reform package would also require that community college and university boards be required to take four hours of professional development training in topics that include labor laws, open meetings act requirements, or ethics training.

“We need to find ways to make a higher education more affordable in Illinois,” Cullerton said. “These new laws were a long time coming and will help keep some control on the rising costs of higher education.”

Recognition Process (Senate Bill 2155) – Provides that for a  community college to be recognized by ICCB, the college must show compliance with applicable state and federal laws regarding employment, contracts and compensation.

Preventing Lame-Duck Decisions (Senate Bill 2158) – Prohibits community college boards from entering into new employee contracts or changing existing employee contracts 45 days prior to Election Day for trustees and extends through the lame-duck period until the first meeting of the new board.

In 2009, Former DuPage Community College President Breuder’s contract extension was approved by a lame-duck board.

Transparency at Community Colleges and State Universities (Senate Bill 2159) – Promotes transparency by requiring contract terms, annual performance reviews of administrators and forbids contract buyouts in cases of pending criminal charges.

Community College Trustee Training (Senate Bill 2157) – Requires new college board trustees to complete four hours of professional development training that range from labor laws, open meetings act, freedom of information regulations, ethics and financial and accountability oversight.

University Board Training (Senate Bill 2174)- Requires every voting member of a public university governing board to complete a minimum of four hours of professional development leadership training that range from labor laws, open meetings act, freedom of information regulations, ethics and financial and accountability oversight.

Cullerton looks forward to working with his colleagues next legislative session to further reform administrative costs at state institutions of higher education to move the state forward and protect Illinois’ college students.

Category: Press Releases

TCwebsitepicture4.17.15SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Tom Cullerton’s bipartisan government consolidation model may soon be applied throughout the state to streamline and remove redundancies in local government.

Senate Bill 2994, which requires all Illinois county boards to submit a report to the General Assembly recommending units of government that may be dissolved or consolidated, was signed into law.

“Through our bipartisan work, we have made DuPage County a leader in government consolidation,” Cullerton said. “It’s time to use the lessons we have learned and spread our success throughout the state to save valuable taxpayer dollars.”

This was the first step DuPage County took in its government consolidation efforts. Through this model, the county is projected to save taxpayers more than $100 million over the next 20 years.

Cullerton acknowledges that Illinois has more than 7,000 government entities that were developed decades ago.

“Government needs to evolve with the needs of the people,” said Cullerton. “It’s important that we continue to look for ways to make sure government is working for the people.”

State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) carried this measure in the House.

Senate Bill 2994 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support and was signed into law on Friday, July 22.

Category: Press Releases

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