112014 js 0553SPRINGFIELD- To help alleviate the shortage of service dogs for veterans, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) advanced House Bill 2897.

Cullerton has been working to make service dogs more readily available to veterans to help combat symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“There is a stigma within the veterans’ community on using traditional treatments for PTSD,” Cullerton said. “Service dogs provide our returning veterans a means to combat stress and symptoms of PTSD that can potentially save lives and help ease the transition to civilian life.”

Cullerton, a former infantryman in the U.S. Army, served as a chairman on the Veterans Suicide Task Force last year. The report he released found the use of service dogs could have a real impact on lowering the number of veteran suicides in Illinois.

“Service dogs could the part of a comprehensive solution to end the veterans suicide epidemic,” Cullerton said.

House Bill 2897 will allow Helping Paws Service Dog Program to include training service dogs for veterans with PTSD or depression. Previously, the program had only allowed the Department of Corrections to establish a dog training program to train committed persons to be service dog trainers and animal care professionals.

Cullerton hopes through expanding the program Illinois will be better equipped to address the need for service dogs for Illinois’ veterans.

House Bill 2897 passed the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

052114 js 0303csVILLA PARK- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is excited to announce Illinois was recently awarded a federal grant for over $16 million to fight Illinois’ opioid crisis.

This grant comes in light of recent news that heroin and opioid abuse now kills more Americans annually than gun homicides or traffic accidents according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We can’t rest until the opioid crisis is eliminated from our communities,” Cullerton said. “Every dollar we receive will help our community providers and organizations give people an opportunity to seek treatment and turn their lives around.”

The federal grant supports new treatment and recovery services, including the establishment of an Opioid Crisis Line and expanded medication-assisted treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder. The funding will also support opioid-related enhancements to the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), the launch of a statewide opiate awareness campaign, new pilot programs to provide medications to treat opioid use disorder, and pre-release and post-release services for individuals who are incarcerated in county jails.

In addition, the funding will support a widespread expansion of the training of first responders to an opioid overdose and the availability of the overdose reversal medication Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan.

In 2016, Cullerton worked to addresses the heroin and opioid abuse and addiction through House Bill 1. The legislation combated to problem in a variety of different ways, by training public safety entities in administering Narcan, requiring state agencies to develop a three-year heroin and opioid drug prevention program and expanding state-funded treatment to include addiction treatment and prescription costs.

“We need to find a comprehensive solution to protect our young people from making fatal decisions,” said Cullerton. “Our priority is to put protections in place to save lives.”

Despite innovative methods to combat the opioid overdose crisis in DuPage, Illinois continues to experience a notable increase in drug overdose deaths. Cullerton continues to work with DuPage County on finding ways to combat this epidemic.

“Drug overdoses can happen to people regardless of their age, socioeconomic background or ethnicity,” Cullerton said. “There is help out there. We need to make sure those suffering from opioid addiction know where to find it.”

Through the Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council, The Illinois Department of Human Services and many other state agencies are coordinating the state’s efforts to develop a statewide opioid epidemic preparedness and prevention strategy.

Cullerton is urging DuPage County residents to give his Villa Park Office a call at (630) 903-6662 with any question regarding where to receive help fighting opioid addiction.

Category: Press Releases

040314 js 0127SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) has advanced plans to tackle issues found during the Veterans Suicide Taskforce hearings.

Cullerton passed Senate Bill 1693 to allow deceased veterans with military service to include their veteran status, branch of military and the period of time served in the military on their death certificate.

“We need to get to the root of veteran suicide epidemic,” Cullerton said. “We can only tackle this problem after we have a complete picture of cause of this problem. This is a simple way to collect statistics and honor Illinois’ veterans.”

The idea was suggested by DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgenson, who indicated that veteran suicide was under reported since Illinois death certificates do not include information on the history of U.S. military service.

“Our veterans are our community’s heroes. Illinois’ military members and veterans put their life on the line every day, now is the time for us to take care of them,” Cullerton said. “Every life we save is priceless.”

Cullerton also passed Senate Bill 866 to require the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to provide information and education on service animals to veterans.

Under current law, the DVA isn’t required to provide information or resources on how a veteran might obtain a service animal.

“The DVA should be a one-stop shop for our veterans,” Cullerton said. “There is a stigma within the veterans’ community on using traditional treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  We haven’t been able to explore the effects of using service dogs as alternative treatments since there is a lack of awareness in the veterans’ community.”

Cullerton hopes this small step will help make service dogs readily available to veterans to cope with PTSD. Among who have used or are aware of service dogs there is a high demand. However, trained dogs can be difficult to find.

“Using service dogs as treatment for PTSD could be the key to ending the veteran suicide epidemic,” Cullerton said.

Senate Bill 866 and Senate Bill 1693 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now move to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

081915CM0995RTrsVILLA PARK— Illinois is currently paying $2.4 million to rent space in Springfield to store Department of Human Services’ records in a warehouse that could have been bought for $750,000.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is outraged at Governor Rauner’s irresponsible use of state funds.

“The governor prioritizes paper over people,” Cullerton said. “Meals on Wheels, rape crisis centers and mental health facilities are surviving on bare-bones budgets while state files are living the high life. It may be difficult for a big-time businessman to get this, but the state doesn’t have $1.65 million to waste on careless expenses.”

The Springfield warehouse was a former showroom of Barney’s Furniture before the store moved to a new location last year. Climate Controlled Holdings LLC bought the building from Barney’s. Climate Controlled then leased the building to the state for five years at a cost of $478,256 annually for the first two years, and $487,881 for years three and four, and $497,507 for the final year.

“Maybe this is a good deal for his insider friends, but it’s a horrible deal for the people of Illinois,” Cullerton said.

The latest Sangamon County assessment shows the building has a fair market value of $1.2 million. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee found the building could have been purchased for $750,000. Cullerton is calling for the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission to conduct a statewide audit of state facilities to explore savings and root out irresponsible leasing agreements.

“The governor may not be aware, but we are in the middle of a state budget impasse,” Cullerton said. “As Illinois social agencies continue to struggle, we are asking the governor to lead. Be part of the solution. Don’t continue to waste valuable taxpayer dollars with reckless decisions.”

Cullerton sits on the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission Committee, a bipartisan and bicameral group of 12 legislators who are responsible for the oversight of the State Audit Program, review of the stewardship of public funds and the monitoring action to correct weaknesses disclosed by the audits of state agencies.

“The time for the governor to act is now. Illinois cannot afford to waste a single cent,” Cullerton said. “The Legislative Audit Commission should call for an immediate investigation into how the governor’s handpicked department head could abuse taxpayer funds and trust. I’m here to represent the people of the 23rd Senate District and ensure we make sound financial decisions to protect the future of our children and this great state.”

Category: Press Releases

Petition: Do Not Tax Retirement Income

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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
F: (630) 903-6643

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