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CHAMPAIGN – Local residents were given the opportunity to participate in discussion and get questions answered thanks to a town hall hosted by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) on Monday.

Senator Bennett kicked off his series of town hall meetings with State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) Monday night at the Illinois Terminal, giving attendees the opportunity to discuss their concerns and receive a legislative update from fall veto session.

“The town halls continue my efforts to maintain an open dialogue with my constituents about what I am doing to represent them while in Springfield,” Bennett said. “Last night was a great opportunity to provide an update on issues we have been working on.” 

There are a number of important issues the General Assembly tackled during veto session this past month, including ethics reform, capping insulin costs and strengthening coal ash pollution protections.

Bennett passed legislation through the Senate that addressed unresolved issues with the coal ash legislation that would keep coal ash out of our water. The legislation now indicates who is responsible for conducting cleanup in the event of a coal ash spill – and how those involved in cleanup will be protected from exposure to toxic chemicals. Ammons will carry the bill through the House early this spring.

Additional town hall meetings will be held on Nov. 19 at Georgetown City Hall (208 S. Walnut St., Georgetown) and Nov. 20 at Rantoul Township High School (200 S. Sheldon St., Rantoul).

Bennett looks forward to presenting a legislative update and urges residents to visit SenatorBennett.com to stay up to date on events his office is hosting this winter.

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SPRINGFIELD – To continue efforts to protect Illinois communities from toxic coal ash pollution, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) addressed unresolved issues with the legislation passed in the spring.

Senator Bennett passed legislation to keep coal ash out of our water earlier this year. This new law directs the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to begin a rule-making process to require power plant operators to safely dispose of coal ash or ensure that pits are properly enclosed, impose fees on coal ash pits to pay the costs of hiring IEPA staff to oversee enforcement, and require power plant operators to set aside money to pay for cleaning up pits in the event a plant is shut down or a company goes bankrupt.

“The bill itself was about being proactive for our future generations,” Bennett said. “It provides the protections, regulations and financial assurances to prevent coal ash crises from happening in Illinois.” 

Numerous negotiations took place between labor and industry, as well as the IEPA and environmental organizations. It was agreed that a trailer bill would be introduced to address some lingering issues with the bill regarding insurance and training provisions. This trailer bill indicates who is responsible for conducting cleanup in the event of a coal ash spill – and how those involved in cleanup will be protected from exposure to toxic chemicals.

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fire truck

THOMASBORO – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Thursday that the Thomasboro Fire Protection District is one of 23 communities to receive funds to purchase fire trucks that will allow first responders to better serve the area.

“Fire departments consistently face financial burdens,” Bennett said. “This funding will allow the fire district to purchase the equipment they need, while also reducing the cost to local taxpayers.”

The Thomasboro Fire Protection District, a volunteer department, is the recipient of $300,000, which has given it the opportunity to purchase new equipment it may not otherwise have been able to afford.

“Our first responders protect the lives and property of our community members from fires and natural disasters,” Bennett said. “New fire trucks will help them to better serve our community in a safe and efficient manner.”

This funding is made possible through the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Program, which offers no interest or low interest loans to emergency responders across the state.

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SPRINGFIELD – Unfair insulin costs are taking a toll on those who are forced to pay the excessive price for this life-saving prescription drug. State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted to change that Tuesday.

Senator Bennett co-sponsored Senate Bill 667, which would cap patients’ out-of-pocket costs at $100 for a 30-day supply.

“People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes need the medication,” Senator Bennett said. “Regular price hikes make insulin difficult to afford, and as lawmakers we have a responsibility to step in and protect the well-being of Illinoisans that depend on insulin.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are more than 30 million Americans who have diabetes, with 1.25 million having Type 1 diabetes. The condition requires daily administration of insulin to survive.

“This measure will provide financial relief to diabetics all across the state,” Bennett said. “The passage of this legislation is encouraging to continue to push for reform that will lower the cost of prescription drugs for everyone.”

Senate Bill 667 was spearheaded by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

The legislation has passed the Senate and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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