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“If we do not have a concrete plan in place by July 1, it could mean fiscal Armageddon for Illinois.” State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – Road construction currently under way on Interstates 74 and 57 as well as work on Illinois 49 will halt without a state budget in place by July 1 according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The construction, valued at over $8 million, would be funded in the budget already passed by the State Senate almost one month ago. That budget also includes $23.52 million in funding for road projects in FY18 in the Champaign-Urbana and Danville area.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) hopes that an agreement ending the budget crisis can be made before the June 30 deadline.

“If we do not have a concrete plan in place by July 1, it could mean fiscal Armageddon for Illinois,” Bennett said. “Delayed road construction and capital projects along with potential junk-bond status should be enough for the governor and speaker to place their personal animosity aside and come to an agreement.”

The budget already passed by the Senate also contains funding for capital projects, like upgrades at the Lincoln’s ChalleNGe Academy in Rantoul.

The Lincoln ChalleNGe Academy, which is officially funded through the Illinois Department of Military Affairs, is a youth intervention program based out of Rantoul. The academy seeks to help high school dropouts gain job and life skills that will lead to a brighter future.

“Some of the kids who go the Lincoln ChalleNGe Academy just need a second chance,” Bennett said. “The best way for the state to guarantee at-risk youth have a future chance at success is to invest in programs like the ChalleNGe Academy that give them the necessary skills to do so.”

The Lincoln ChalleNGe Academy was started as a pilot program after the passage of the 1993 National Defense Reauthorization Act. Currently, 29 states have ChalleNGe Academies.

Category: Press Releases

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“This new formula guarantees that the quality of a child’s education will not be based on their ZIP code.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – Danville and Westville public schools could see more money in the form of state aid under the new school funding formula passed by the General Assembly this week. The new formula, passed in Senate Bill 1, comes after months of negotiations.

Under the proposed formula, Danville School District 118 would see more than $2 million in new funding from the state. Westville School District 2 would see more than $550,000 in new funding.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted for school funding reform to help schools in downstate communities like Danville, Westville and Rantoul.

“Too many downstate school districts are left behind by the state in the old funding formula,” Bennett said. “This new formula guarantees that the quality of a child’s education will not be based on their ZIP code.”

SB 1 also contains a hold-harmless provision that guarantees no schools will receive less money from the state.

Category: Press Releases

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“We can give Illinois families peace of mind by requiring Illinois health insurance providers to cover [pre-existing]conditions.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – Health insurance companies will still be required to cover pre-existing conditions under new legislation passed by the Illinois Senate.

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed new healthcare legislation, many feared that insurance providers would no longer be required to cover pre-existing conditions.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is House Bill 2959’s chief co-sponsor.

“Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, too many American families were unable to get adequate health care coverage because they wouldn’t have been profitable enough for insurance companies,” Bennett said. “We can give Illinois families peace of mind by requiring Illinois health insurance providers to cover these conditions.”

In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, which would allow states to opt-out of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act, such as pre-existing conditions.

A recent poll by Politico/Morning Consult found that a majority of Americans surveyed were opposed to weakening protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

HB 2959 passed the Illinois Senate 46-5 and now goes back to the House to approve Senate changes.

Category: Press Releases

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“A student whose family is going through tough circumstances should be able to stay in their school, which will provide stability.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – School districts will now be allowed to help students who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless under a plan passed the Illinois Senate.

Under House Bill 261, schools will have the option to use their own transportation funds to provide housing assistance to students in need if they determine it will be more cost-efficient.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is the legislation’s sponsor in the Senate.

“This legislation allows schools to take steps to use existing funds to help these students add some stability to their lives,” Bennett said. “A student whose family is going through tough circumstances should be able to stay in their school, which will provide stability.”

The Regional Office of Education serving northern Cook County says they spent nearly $1 million in northern Cook County alone on transporting homeless students. Those same funds, they contend, could house up to 40 families.

Finding ways to help students in need has been an issue of great importance in the Champaign-Urbana area. Urbana Public Schools recently announced they would continue free lunch programs through the summer ensuring students are getting the meals they need.

The measure passed the Senate 39-15.

Category: Press Releases

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Office Info

Champaign Office:
45 E. University Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820
P. 217.355.5252

Danville Office:
101  W. North Street
Danville, IL 61832
P. 217.442.5252

Springfield Office:
218B State House
Springfield, IL 62706
P. 217.782.2507