CWS MahometAquifer ISWS1006SPRINGFIELD- Generations of Central Illinois residents can now look forward to cleaner drinking water.  

State Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) initiative to protect residents across Central Illinois from contaminated drinking water was signed into law today.
 
“The Mahomet Aquifer serves as a lifeline for our region. It’s our duty to protect this important resource for the sake of our children and generations to come,” said Bennett. “This proposal will further the mission of the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Alliance by instituting guidelines to protect our underground water source.”

The Aquifer serves as the primary water supply for 14 counties across Central Illinois including Champaign and Vermilion counties.  

The Mahomet Aquifer Protection Alliance is a group of Central Illinois citizens who are committed to keeping the Aquifer free of contamination. Local communities across central Illinois have banded together to fight the disposal of dangerous toxins at the Clinton Landfill, which sits atop the Aquifer.

As a result of their efforts, last year the Mahomet Aquifer was designated as a Sole Source Aquifer, which provides federal protection.  

“This legislation will move us one step closer to achieving our goal. However, we do recognize there may still be more work to do to ensure there is safe drinking water for central Illinois residents for generations to come,” said Bennett.  

House Bill 1326 was signed into law on Friday, August 14 and goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

map grant mrCHAMPAIGN- As college students begin to head back to campus, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is circulating a petition to urge Illinois lawmakers to pass funding for an important state financial aid program.

Monetary Award Program (MAP grants) cannot be given to students until there is a state budget. More than 100,000 students across Illinois rely on MAP grants to afford higher education.

“I urge legislators to put politics aside. These students are real people with real lives. We cannot afford to jeopardize their futures,” said Bennett.

Some schools are unable to absorb the tuition cost while the budget impasse continues and are asking students to pay partial fees up front as they wait for the budget impasse to end. Bennett doesn’t want students discouraged from returning to campus due the lack of promised financial aid.

“If these students could afford to absorb tuition costs and fees, they wouldn’t have qualified for state assistance in the first place,” said Bennett. “College affordability is a defining component in our state’s policies. We need to be giving our young people the tools to graduate with success, not forcing them to miss out on valuable opportunities.”

Lawmakers will return to Springfield to take up legislative action on Wed., Aug. 19. Bennett will work to authorize funding for MAP grants.

The petition is available online at www.SenatorBennett.com (on the right side of the website).

 

FarmlandBennettCHAMPAIGN- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 87 counties in Illinois, including Champaign and Vermilion counties, as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses by the unprecedented rain and flooding over this summer.  

“Agriculture is the backbone of our economy,” said State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). “It is important for us to work together to help farmers through these difficult times. Local farmers keep the state’s economy going and growing.”

Farmers who believe they may be eligible for assistance should contact their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.  

Here is the contact information for Champaign and Vermilion County residents:

Champaign County Farm Service Agency:

2110 West Park Ct., Suite A
Champaign, IL 61821-2986
(217) 352-3536 ext 2
(855) 240-6623 Fax

Vermilion County Farm Service Agency:

1905A US Route 150
Danville, IL 61832-5396
(217) 442-8511 ext 2
(855) 688-3986 Fax

Loan applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.  The extent of losses, security available and applicant's repayment ability will determine eligibility.  Farmers who have questions can contact their county service agency or the state FSA at (217) 241-6600.

If residents need further assistance, please contact Senator Scott Bennett’s constituent office at (217) 355-5252.

Click here to visit the USDA FSA Website.

wave usa flag 1383225090826SPRINGFIELD- Illinois families worried about the financial security of loved ones living with disabilities will soon have another resource to promote their independence.  

State Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) initiative will create a tax exempt plan to assist individuals and families in saving money to cover expenses for people with disabilities.

“This initiative will help ensure our loved ones will live their lives with respect and dignity,” Bennett said. Without resources like this, many people with disabilities don’t have the opportunity to be financially independent.”

Senate Bill 1383 creates the Illinois Achieving a Better Life Expectancy Act (ABLE Act), which creates accounts similar to tax-advantaged college saving plans where income earned in the account is not taxable.

This legislation comes after the federal government passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 with bipartisan support. Last week, Virginia was the first state to enact the program since the federal legislation was passed.

The Treasurer’s office would be responsible for creating ABLE accounts in accordance with federal rules and regulations. The accounts can be used to pay for qualifying expenses, such as education, health, housing and transportation costs.

Senate Bill 1383 was signed into law on Monday, July 27 and goes into effect January 1.

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Office Info

Champaign Office:
45 E. University Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820
P: (217) 355-5252

Danville Office:
201 N. Vermilion St. Suite 323
Danville, IL 61832
P: (217) 442-5252

Springfield Office:
311C State House
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-2507