040314 js 0127SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Tom Cullerton’s measure to increase government transparency and the responsible use of taxpayer dollars was signed into law on Friday.

House Bill 4379 will to regulate all travel, meal and lodging expenses for officers and employees.

“Transparency is essential,” said Cullerton, a Democrat from Villa Park. “Illinois taxpayers should have access to the way state dollars are spent to guarantee funds are being spent responsibly and efficiently.”

The new law will create the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act, which will require non-home-rule units of government, school districts and community college districts to regulate travel, meal and lodging expenses.

“People should have access to how taxpayer dollars are spent to ensure money is being spent responsibly and effectively,” Cullerton said.

News of lavish expenses at the College of DuPage brought up cases illustrating the abuse of public funds by employees.

“We all know that public transparency promotes better decisions,” Cullerton said. “Public funds need to be spent wisely to maximize efficiency.”

Certain documentation will be required to be submitted in writing to school boards or corporate entities before the expenses can be approved by a roll call vote at an open meeting. The will be public record that would be subject to FOIA.

“The Better Government Association celebrates Governor Rauner signing HB4379 into law, this new law will provide oversight and regulation of local government expenses,” Judy Stevens, policy coordinator at the Better Government Association, said. “The law also empowers local government agencies to set regulations so that our money can be spent most efficiently. This new law is a step forward for our state and will bring accountability to the taxpayers of Illinois on how their money is being spent while saving the state money.”

The new law goes into effect January 1, 2017.

Category: Press Releases

US Flag BacklitVILLA PARK- Illinois National Guard members will soon be able to receive veterans status on Illinois identification cards thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton’s initiative that was signed into law today.

Senate Bill 2173 addresses complaints from National Guard members not being classified as veterans since they had not been called to active duty by the President of the United States, Congress or the Governor of Illinois.  

“We need to honor all sacrifices made by our veterans, especially in Illinois,” Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat said. “This is one simple step we can take to work toward giving veterans benefits they deserve.”

Cullerton served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman. He draws on his own experiences to improve the lives of people in his district and those throughout Illinois.

Senate Bill 2173 also clarifies that the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs will certify and verify the status of veterans for Illinois identification cards.

“Serving our country is one of the most honorable things you can do,” Cullerton said. “And in return, it’s our duty to provide our returning veterans with resources to honor the sacrifices they have made to protect our values.”

Senate Bill 2173 goes into effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

051915 js 0211.resizeSPRINGFIELD- DuPage County schools will see an increase in education funding for the fourth year in a row thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

Cullerton pushed for a bipartisan agreement between the Senate and governor to allow schools to open their doors on time this fall.

“The most important tool we can give our children is a good education,” Cullerton said.  “As a father of three boys in DuPage schools, I have continued to fight to increase education funding every year since I have been in the state senate.”

Cullerton believes the reason we live and stay in these communities is to give our children the best educational opportunities possible.

“The only way to lower suburban property taxes is if we start funding schools properly,” Cullerton said.

Under this plan, DuPage County High School District 88 would see a $310,848 increase in funding.  

“I would like to thank State Senator Tom Cullerton for his leadership in passing this legislation,” Scott Helton, Superintendent of Schools at DuPage High School District 88 said.  “His (Cullerton’s) continuous communication and availability to answer our questions is greatly appreciated.  Sen. Cullerton’s genuine care for all students is evident in all he does.”

The mission of DuPage High School District 88, which consists of Addison Trail and Willowbrook high schools, is to work for the continuous improvement of student achievement.

Cullerton did not support the Illinois Senate Democrats’ earlier plan, Senate Bill 231, which would pick winners and losers in schools across his district. He believes the legislature shouldn’t be in the business of taking money away from one school at the expense of another.  

“I refuse to support a plan that would advance one school, at the expense of another,” Cullerton said. “It’s important to give all students an opportunity to succeed.”

Category: Press Releases

PHOTO Tom Cullerton works to spread DuPage success throughout Illinois4.13.16

SPRINGFIELD- Key construction programs will continue under a new bipartisan plan advanced by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).
 
“The key to economic growth is strong and sound infrastructure in Illinois,” Cullerton said. “Construction projects like High Ridge Road next to Willowbrook High School, will ensure our children’s safety as they commute to school. These types of projects not only create short-term jobs for men and women throughout Illinois but keeps us competitive as businesses look to invest in our communities.”
 
Recently, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced they would have to cease all road construction projects tomorrow, July 1 due to the lack of state funding.
 
“I am thrilled for Senator Tom Cullerton’s work to ensure construction projects can continue through the summer,” Villa Park Mayor Deb Bullwinkle said. “On-time completion of projects here in Villa Park will provide much needed relief for local businesses and will improve the quality of life for our residents.”
 
The measure, Senate Bill 2047, will ensure that road construction continues.
 
“We need these jobs to keep our economy growing,” Cullerton said.
 
Senate Bill 2047 will also include payments to local governments from taxes on gas that are used for the maintenance of roads and infrastructure.
 
“As a former mayor, I understand the importance of maintaining municipalities’ roads and infrastructure,” Cullerton said. “These are local funds that need to be in local hands.”
 
This bipartisan plan passed the House and Senate and now moves to the governor’s desk for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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