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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is thrilled to hear Gov. JB Pritzker’s commitment to improving early childhood education in Illinois during the State of the State address on Wednesday.

“I was pleased to hear the governor’s plans to invest in early childhood education and college affordability initiatives,” said Senator Bennett. “College has never been more expensive and much work remains for all involved—everyone can agree on that, regardless of political affiliation. Under the governor’s leadership, I look forward to joining my fellow lawmakers to continue the fight to improve college access, affordability and completion for everyone in Illinois.”

The governor outlined his priorities to build upon a skilled workforce and expand vocational training and career and technical education, in addition to making college more affordable.

“Our state accomplished a lot in 2019 under Gov. Pritzker’s leadership, but there is still work to be done,” said Senator Bennett.

1.24.2020 Insulin Bill Signing Ceremony

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) applauded the governor’s signage of legislation which caps co-payments for insulin to $100 per month for all patients regardless of the supply they require.

“The price of this lifesaving drug has tripled in the past decade,” Bennett, a co-sponsor of the measure, said. “This new law stands up to corporate greed and ensures diabetics are no longer paying exploitative prices for a medication they cannot live without.”

The new law makes Illinois the second state in the country to cap out-of-pocket insulin expenses. The cap applies to commercial insurance plans regulated by the state and increases annually based on data from the Department of Insurance, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The data will include findings on insulin pricing practices and recommendations to control and prevent overpricing of prescription insulin drugs.  

“I am pleased that one component of combatting high prescription drug prices is being addressed in this bill, but I am eager to work with my colleagues to continue the fight to reform prescription drug pricing and out-of-pocket costs,” Bennett said.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is the lead sponsor of the legislation.

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CHAMPAIGN – Eight local school districts will receive more than $18,000 combined in grants through the Illinois secretary of state’s School Library Grant program, Senator Scott Bennett announced Wednesday.

The grants, which are issued by the Illinois State Library, are meant to help public schools offer more library books and materials to students.

“Fostering early reading and literacy skills in our youth is necessary for a child’s future success,” Bennett, a Champaign Democrat said. “I’m thrilled to announce these grants, as they are critical for central Illinois school libraries to continue to support learning and the development of literacy, creativity and critical thinking.”

Schools receiving school library grants include:

• Salt Fork School District #512 - $750.00
• Champaign CUSD #4 - $7,253.25
• Danville Community Consolidated School District #118 - $3,840.00
• Oakwood Community Unit School District #76 - $750.00
• Rantoul City Schools district #137 - $1,194.00
• Rantoul Township High School District 193 - $750.00
• Urbana School District #116 - $3,138.75
• Westville Community Unit School District #2 - $954.00

Aquifer

CHAMPAIGN - A new law on the books will secure protections for the Mahomet Aquifer thanks to State Senator Scott Bennett.

Senator Bennett (D-Champaign) passed Senate Bill 2027, which directs the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to prioritize landfills overlying the Mahomet Aquifer for inspection.

"Considering the Mahomet Aquifer is the most important water source in east-central Illinois, I have worked frequently with the Mahomet Aquifer Task Force to ensure it is protected," Bennett said. "They are a tremendous group to work with and now we can be assured that 500,000 people know the water coming out of their faucets is clean and safe to drink."

The bill requires the IEPA to use existing information available from the state and federal agencies to identify unknown, unregulated or under-regulated waste disposal sites that sit above the aquifer and may pose a threat to surface water or groundwater resources.

The new law also seeks to establish a pilot program at the Pekin Metro Landfill to identify potential and current threats to the water quality of the Aquifer from the landfill.

The proposed legislation came from the recommendations of the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Task Force, a bipartisan coalition of central Illinois lawmakers from both chambers of the General Assembly, including Representative Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) and Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). The task force, chaired by Champaign Mayor Deborah Feinen, also includes scientists from the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, Illinois State Geological Survey, the Illinois Water Survey and the IEPA.

This new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.

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