Scott BennettSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted today to protect Illinois college students from crushing college debt.

The Illinois Senate voted to override Governor Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1351, which creates the Student Loan Bill of Rights and prohibits predatory loan servicers from engaging in any unfair or deceptive practices towards any students and parents.

“At a time where many young people are graduating from college with crippling debt, we need to make sure that students understand their rights and have access to proper resources,” Bennett said. “This legislation is a good first step to take in helping students and their families from falling behind on payments or defaulting on their loans.”

Bennett sponsored the Student Loan Bill of Rights to ensure that students and their families receive clear information about the money they borrow for higher education and how their student loans are serviced.

Over the past decade, student loan debt has doubled to become the largest form of unsecured consumer debt in the country with more than 40 million borrowers owing over $1.4 trillion. Nearly 70 percent of graduates leave college with an average debt burden of $30,000, and one-in-four borrowers are behind on their payments or in default.

Senate Bill 1351 also aims to crack down on the student loan servicing industry that has made it more difficult and more expensive for borrowers to repay their loans.

“Going to college should not be the financial burden that it has become,” Bennett said. “Every student in Illinois should have the opportunity to advance or complete their education without the fear of debilitating debt upon graduation.”

Category: Press Releases

SBSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted today to protect collective bargaining rights for the people of Illinois.

“Every employee in Illinois should have the ability to negotiate for fair, safe and competitive rights in the workplace,” Bennett said. “The freedom to collectively bargain builds and protects the middle class, not just for union members, but for all workers.”

The Illinois Senate voted to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1905, which allows all Illinois workers the freedom to bargain collectively and prohibits local government entities from enacting harmful “right-to-work” laws.

In the past, Governor Bruce Rauner and his allies have tried to pass right-to-work ordinances and zones in the state. These right-to-work laws prevent Illinois workers from participating in collective negotiations for better wages, benefits and safe working conditions.

“Right-to-work is an inaccurate name for a policy designed to take away rights from hardworking families,” Bennett said. “This law will help tilt the balance away from big corporations and boardroom executives that work to rig the system at the expense of working families.”

Senate Bill 1905 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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“We must recruit and retain qualified educators who want to teach agriculture programs for future generations.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – A shortage of trained teachers for agricultural classes in schools may soon have a solution under legislation signed by the governor today. The governor signed the bill at the Illinois State Fair’s annual Agriculture Day.

Despite the fact that 25 percent of jobs in Illinois are related to agriculture, there is a shortage of trained agriculture teachers.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) sponsored Senate Bill 1991 to try and address this problem.

“Agriculture and downstate Illinois are inseparable,” Bennett said. “We must recruit and retain qualified educators who want to teach agriculture programs for future generations.”

SB 1991 creates the Agriculture Education Shortage Task Force, which will make recommendations on recruiting and retaining agriculture education teachers and making reforms to current licensure and testing requirements.

The final report will be released no later than January 1, 2019. Members of the task force will serve voluntarily and will not be compensated with taxpayer money.

Category: Press Releases

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“Survivors of these heinous crimes should be able to come forward when they are ready to seek justice.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – Survivors of sexual abuse will be able to seek justice on their own terms under a new law just signed by the governor. Senate Bill 189, an initiative of Attorney General Lisa Madigan and State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), would eliminate the statute of limitations for certain sex crimes committed against minors.

Before the passage of Senate Bill 189, victims had a limited time period to come forward and seek charges. According to victim advocates, many victims do not come to terms with their assault until after the statute of limitations has ran out.

Senator Bennett ,the legislation’s sponsor, drew on his past experience as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Champaign County when advocating for the new law.

“Survivors of these heinous crimes should be able to come forward when they are ready to seek justice,” Bennett said. “Arbitrary deadlines should not prevent victims from seeking closure. I am pleased the governor stood with victims and signed this important piece of legislation into law.”

Scott Cross, brother of former Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross, worked with Senator Bennett and Attorney General Madigan to pass the legislation. Cross was one of the many victims of disgraced U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

The legislation passed both chambers without opposition and goes into effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

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