042321HAO00221SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced legislation through the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee Thursday to continue efforts to protect Illinois communities from toxic coal ash pollution.

“Coal ash, the byproduct of burning coal in a power plant, is extremely hazardous and can leave a lasting impact on the environment, even after a plant has closed,” Bennett said. “It’s important that we take precautions to protect Illinois residents, water sources and wildlife from toxic spills."

Bennett introduced House Bill 3783 to establish training standards for workers constructing, installing, modifying or closing Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) surface impediments, otherwise known as coal ash pits.

Under Bennett’s plan, anyone working on a coal ash pit would be required to participate in training programs approved by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. The training would cover erosion control and environmental remediation, as well as the operation of heavy equipment and excavation.

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SPRINGFIELD – Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) moved a measure through committee Tuesday to help students make more informed choices about the loans they take out to pay for college, as well as establish new accountability standards for private loan companies.

“Student debt in Illinois has been climbing, and it’s becoming a major issue for recent graduates and their families,” Bennett said. “The student loan market can be confusing, so it’s important students and families know if they qualify for federal loans before taking on private loans.”
 
Bennett introduced the Know Before You Owe Private Education Loan Act, which requires private lenders to confirm with a potential borrower’s school that the student’s tuition, housing and other costs are not covered by other sources of financial aid. Additionally, the legislation requires colleges and universities to notify students about their federal loan eligibility before certifying private loans.

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1Flag folding Flickr The U.S. Army

SPRINGFIELD – To honor men and women in uniform who have given the ultimate sacrifice, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) moved a measure through the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday to create a Folds of Honor license plate for families of service members who died in the line of duty.

“I am proud to support Folds of Honor by creating a personalized license plate in Illinois,” Bennett said. “This is a tremendous organization that provides scholarships for the children and spouses of our fallen and disabled heroes, and these license plates are a great way to give back.”

Bennett’s legislation creates the Folds of Honor Foundation Fund, which would provide educational scholarships to military families. The plan allows motorists to purchase a specialty license plate decal to contribute to Folds of Honor through the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. The cost of each specialized plate decal is $25, of which a portion goes directly to the fund. 

“This is a way for anyone to be able to pay tribute to the sacrifices of our fallen,” Bennett said. “It’s also a great opportunity to spread awareness of an important cause.” 

House Bill 1915 passed the Senate Transportation Committee unanimously.

Rebuild IL Announcement2CHAMPAIGN – To address local transportation needs and ensure local governments can continue to invest in infrastructure projects, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Tuesday to announce $250 million in grants through the Rebuild Illinois program.

“This significant investment in new and improved infrastructure will allow our residents to travel safely and draw visitors to our area, allowing our whole community to move forward from the pandemic,” Bennett said. “Continued commitment to our state’s transportation and infrastructure system is critical to jump-starting the economy and putting us back on track.”

Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing $33.2 billion into the state’s aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. The landmark capital program is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first one that touches all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

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