VILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) issued the following statement in response to Governor Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1, a school funding reform overhaul that is widely supported by school superintendents, educators, advocates and professional and community organizations statewide:

“Once again the governor chose campaigning over our children. Using catch phrases to pit folks throughout the state against each other is not leadership, it is posturing and it hurts our entire state. The governor agreed with 90% of the school funding legislation yet vetoed it. He called negotiating an outrageous tactic. I will continue to work in a bipartisan manner to find solutions for our state as I have done in the past. I encourage Governor Rauner to do the same.”

Check out DuPage Schools funding levels under Senate Bill 1:

SB 1 100th GA MAY

051915 js 0211.resizeSPRINGFIELD- The members of the Illinois General Assembly will not receive a pay increase again this year thanks to a new law sponsored by Villa Park Democrat, Tom Cullerton.

Cullerton sponsored House Bill 643, which stops automatic increase in mileage reimbursements and per diem rates, was signed into law this week.

“It is inexcusable for legislators to receive a pay increase at a time our schools don’t know if they will open in time this fall,” Cullerton said. “I’m here to serve the people of the 23rd District. Public service means advocating and standing up for the needs of our communities; I intend to do just that.”

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

House Bill 643 freezes the Illinois General Assembly's mileage reimbursement and per diem rates for the upcoming year. If the measure was not signed into law the daily cost of the special session starting this week would have ballooned to nearly $62,000 per day.

In addition, the initiative eliminates the planned FY 18 cost of living adjustment for the members of the legislature and other offices set by the Compensation Review Board. The Comptroller's Office states that the FY 18 cost of living adjustment would be 2.1% without the passage of a freeze.

“This commonsense measure will help us direct state dollars where they are needed,” Cullerton said. “Now if only the governor would sign Senate Bill 3, our bipartisan government consolidation model. Streamlining government services will not only save valuable taxpayer dollars but also make sure the people of Illinois are receiving the best service possible.”

Cullerton sent the governor Senate Bill 3 over a month ago.

Illinois has more than 7,000 governments that are often duplicative and outdated. His monumental initiative will allow those units to be consolidated and eliminated. This legislation would enable Illinois to consolidate more units of government than any other state in the nation.

“This one small step will improve government services and lower property taxes without making a sacrifice in services received,” Cullerton said. “Every day Governor Rauner waits, is a lost opportunity to guarantee government is evolving with the needs of the people. The time to act is now. The people of Illinois cannot afford to continue to wait.”

House Bill 643 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support and goes into effect immediately.

PHOTO Tom Cullerton lifesaving PANDAS measure signed into lawLOMBARD- Children will soon no longer be denied treatment for PANDAS disease, thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).  

Cullerton’s initiative, House Bill 2721, now requires that all individual and group plans of accident and health insurance must offer coverage for treatment PANDAS and PANS.

“No child should suffer,” Cullerton said. “As the father of three young sons, I know I would move mountains to take away any ounce of pain. This new law is a testament to the incredible mothers who went to battle to support Illinois’ children to ensure they receive essential treatment and raise awareness for this tormenting disease.”

PANDAS which is known as Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal affects approximately 1 in 200 children throughout the United States.

Cullerton first became aware of PANDAS four years ago after meeting with the group formed by Executive Director Wendy Nawara and Vice President Kate Drury of PANDAS/PANS Advocacy & Support, whose children have suffered from PANDAS to raise awareness of symptoms and to require insurance companies to cover the cost of treatment for this fairly unknown illness.

Drury’s son, Charlie, woke up on his eighth birthday with unusual symptoms. The little boy who loved participating in talent shows and putting on skits was now scared of performing in front of crowds and talking to his friends. There was an immediate change in his personality.

The next two months of Charlie’s life were the hardest time for his family. He instantly displayed symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Charlie didn’t want to be touched or hugged. He feared his food and was deathly afraid of water to the point where he couldn’t shower or brush his teeth. He suffered from hallucinations to the extent he was unable to recognize his mother or father.

Drury was faced with a difficult situation, either being forced to institutionalize her son or place her other two children in the care of a loved one.

After two months of looking for answers, a doctor diagnosed Charlie with PANDAS. Insurance companies didn’t cover the cost for his treatment, which can run upwards of $12,000 in hospital bills.   

"Our hope is that this law will give our physicians better control over the decision-making process when it comes to recognizing and treating PANDAS/PANS quickly and appropriately,” Nawara said. “Our doctors have been caught between a rock and a hard place knowing what their patients need to heal and knowing that the insurance companies
have refused to cover it, despite the evidence that expeditious treatment works best. To say nothing of the trauma and enormous strain this places on the children and their families. They've been watching their children slip away, and have felt that no one had the power to stop it. Now that insurance will cover these treatments, we can stop it. Kids will be getting better."

The new law will be known as “Charlie’s Law” was signed into law at Drury’s home on Tuesday, July 18. Illinois will become the first state in the nation to require insurers to cover treatment for PANDAS/PANS.

“It’s our duty to ensure our children don’t suffer. The faster we diagnose and treat children affected by PANDAS, the quicker kids can heal,” Cullerton said. “It is common sense to make sure there is treatment readily available to quickly treat children inflicted with PANDAS without loading Illinois’ parents with mountains of debt.”

House Bill 2721 will go into effect immediately.

051915 js 0211.resizeSPRINGFIELD- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) has launched a formal investigation into the corrupt Springfield warehouse the Department of Human Services and Central Management Services leased to store state file.

Cullerton passed House Joint Resolution 63 today, which will require the Auditor General to conduct an audit of the irresponsible contract negotiated by DHS to rent the former Barney’s warehouse for $2.4 million for five years that could have been bought for $750,000.

His measure will also stop the signing and finalizing of any lease by Governor Rauner’s agency heads until the audit is completed.

“It’s judgement day,” Cullerton said. “Illinois taxpayers should soon know the truth behind this corrupt leasing deal.”

House Joint Resolution 63 outlines questions Cullerton wants answered by the audit.

Here are a few of his questions:

  • The justification used to request a new space by DHS including the condition of the previous location used to store the state files, the former Dwight Correctional Center and whether if renovations were considered to the prison prior to moving the files
  • If CMS compared the cost of digitizing records instead of storing hard paper copies.
  • If CMS explored the possibility of using another state-owned or leased space before they made the decision to enter into a new lease 
  • If there was a cost-benefit analysis conducted by CMS of purchasing the building instead of leasing the warehouse and if there were costs incurred by DHS for remodeling the building to adapt to DHS’ use of the warehouse 
  • And the role of the procurement board, the body who reviewed the contract, and whether any members excused themselves due to a conflict of interest because of their relationship any owner of with the leasing company

The former Barney’s Furniture building is being leased from Chicago-based Climate Controlled Holdings LLC, which bought the building when Barney’s relocated. One of the owners of the company is William Cellini’s son-in-law.
Cellini, a politically connected businessman, served a time in prison after his conviction in 2011 of a failed attempt to shake down Oscar-winning film producer Thomas Rosenberg for a $1.5 million contribution to the campaign of currently imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The records were moved from the closed prison which had little to no cost to taxpayers. Rauner’s administration had said that the prison building was in disrepair and the paperwork needed to be moved. But the state’s prison director told members of an Illinois Senate committee last month that he had no knowledge of this. He said he would try to get some answers.

Cullerton is outraged that as the state budget impasse continues, the administration is able to find time to cut sweetheart deals for political insiders.

“Governor Rauner has been busy cutting sweetheart deals for his insider friends instead of working with the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget to ensure our schools open their doors this fall, rape crisis centers are able to provide services and programs remain in place to help our seniors, disabled populations and veterans.”

Cullerton and Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) were successful in their joint effort to request the Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office to hold rent payments for warehouse space until the legislature is able to further review the contract.

“I’m here to send a strong message to Governor Rauner and his friends: the people of Illinois are not here to be pawns in your political games,” Cullerton said. “I refuse to stay quiet as you attempt to suck our state dry.”

House Joint Resolution 63 passed the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The Auditor General can begin his investigation immediately. After the report is completed, it will be released to the General Assembly for Cullerton to examine and determine whether further legislative action will be needed.

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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.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

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122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463