06292017CM0261RSVILLA PARK- There will now be stronger protections in place to investigate ethics complaints in the state capital, thanks to a new measure supported by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

House Bill 138 makes important changes to the Legislative Ethics Commission and Office of the Legislative Inspector General such as allowing the Legislative Inspector General to investigate claims independently, without first getting approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission. Among other changes, the measure also mandates better defined and transparent reporting of complaints at the Commission and before the Inspector General.

"We should have zero tolerance for sexual harassment,” Cullerton said. “Survivors of sexual harassment and assault rely on extreme levels of bravery and courage in order to come forward. It’s our job to ensure that their complaint is being reviewed in a timely, transparent and orderly manner.”

This new law passed the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“The #MeToo Movement is bringing much needed change to rules and culture in workplaces across the country,” Cullerton said. "The time to take action is now. The people of Illinois have spoken. We will not and cannot support a culture that promotes inappropriate behavior."

Other new rules outlined in the law, including but not limited to:

• Requirements that the Commission shall appoint an Acting Inspector General with 45 days;
• Creates a backstop so that if an extended vacancy occurs in the office of the LIG, the Inspector General for the Auditor General would have jurisdiction over the complaints;
• Requires a public hearing and opportunity for public input before the adoption of any new commission rules;
• Allows the Inspector General for the Secretary of State, through the Attorney General, to file complaints with the Executive Ethics Commission regarding lobbyist sexual harassment;
• Extends statute of limitations for filing a discrimination or sexual harassment claim with the Department of Human Rights from 180 days to 300 days.

House Bill 138 goes into effect immediately.

 

06292017CM0261RSSPRINGFIELD – Members of the Illinois General Assembly will not receive a scheduled pay increase this year thanks to a new law supported by Villa Park Democrat, Tom Cullerton.

Cullerton supported House Bill 3342, which stops automatic increase in mileage reimbursements and per diem rates, which passed on Wednesday.

“Public service means sharing the sacrifices to protect the needs of DuPage County residents,” Cullerton said. “The commonsense measure will direct state dollars where they are needed the most.”

Cullerton voted to cut his pay every year he has been in the General Assembly. 

House Bill 3342 freezes the Illinois General Assembly's mileage reimbursement and per diem rates for the upcoming year.

Cullerton also refused to accept a pension from the state general assembly pension system.

“I’m here to represent the people of the 23rd Senate District. As communities across our district suffer from high property tax bills, legislators should not be collecting a pay increase on the backs of hard-working families,” Cullerton said. “This measure will help ensure vital programs such as meals on wheels and veterans programs are funded properly.”

House Bill 3342 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now heads to the House for consideration.

05312017CM0529RSSPRINGFIELD  –  Gov. Bruce Rauner will soon have an opportunity to sign legislation that mandates transparency from his own office and from future governors in their budget proposals

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed House Bill 5814, which forces the governor’s office to record late interest payments as a separate line item in its appropriations to state agencies. This paints a clearer picture of the state’s funds and slows the depletion of funding needed to run those agencies.

“Utilizing responsible accounting practices to generate a responsible state budget allows Illinois citizens to know how and where their valuable tax dollars are spent,” Cullerton said. “As legislators, we can’t negotiate a proper budget when we don’t know how much money is owed or where it is going.”

Currently, most late payment interest penalties accrue at a rate of 12 percent per month for bills unpaid after 90 days, while healthcare bills accumulate interest at a rate of 9 percent after 30 days.

The interest penalties are paid from the same appropriation line, depleting the amount a state agency can spend for its operations. Cullerton’s bill forces the governor’s budget to include separate line item requests for prompt pay interest payments.

“For far too long Gov. Bruce Rauner has hidden behind phony numbers,” Cullerton said. “This new measure will force all future governors to be more realistic when presenting a budget to the general assembly and public. We need to make sure governors – whether republican or democrat – do not attempt to hide behind deceptive numbers.”

This bipartisan measure is an initiative of Comptroller Susana Mendoza and is supported by the Better Government Association.

“The bill backlog more than tripled under Governor Rauner. The state fell far behind on paying its bills and that cost taxpayers more than $1 billion in late payment interest penalties,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “In fact, in the past two and a half years, the state incurred more interest penalties than in the previous 18 years combined, yet the Governor hasn’t had to account for those penalties in any of his budgets. That’s not right. Governor Rauner should sign this bipartisan, transparency measure so taxpayers can know how he and future governors plan to pay interest penalty costs.”

The comptroller’s January 2018 Debt Transparency Report confirmed that taxpayers owe approximately $887 million in late payment interest penalties — despite the fact that over $140 million in interest penalties was paid out in calendar 2017.

04192018CM0592SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is working to advance legislation that would prevent the penalization of police officers for seeking mental health services.

Cullerton’s House Bill 5231 would clear the way for officers to remain employed if they have been a patient in a mental health facility but not been determined to pose a clear and present danger to themselves or others.  It would do so by removing a FOID card as a condition for employment.

“We want officers who have endured traumatic experiences to seek medical assistance without fear of losing their jobs,” Cullerton said.
Although the legislation protects officers that seek mental health services, it does not prohibit an employer from determining an officer's fitness to serve.

“Our law enforcement officers keep us safe. In doing so, they experience disturbing situations that may warrant their use of mental health services. This makes them human,” Cullerton said. “We are all safer if we make sure these officers have access to the proper mental health services to deal with the traumas they routinely face.”

The measure is an initiative of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, which said requiring a FOID card for law enforcement officers – many of whom are active service members and veterans of the armed forces – creates an unnecessary obstacle to receiving mental health treatment.

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S. Cullerton, Chairman of the Illinois Senate Veterans Affairs Committee who served as an infantryman in the Army from 1990 to 1993, continues to work toward eliminating the veteran suicide epidemic in Illinois.

“Our veterans have taken care of us. Now it is our time to take care of them,” Cullerton said. “We should remove all obstacles to mental health treatment for our military veterans and public safety personnel.”

House Bill 5231 passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

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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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