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.

BennettComfortCanineSPRINGFIELD- A new law authorizing the use of dogs in courtrooms was signed into law today.  

State Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) initiative will allow courts to authorize the use of “comfort canines” when children or others with a severe developmental or intellectual disability have to testify in court on sexual assault cases.  

“As a former prosecutor, I have seen first-hand the emotional trauma children face during trial. The entire ordeal of testifying and reliving a horrible experience is paralyzing for them,” said Bennett.  

Bennett hopes to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety by providing some relief to children through the use of therapy dogs.

“This is one small step we can take to make this difficult experience a little easier,” said Bennett. “The use of dogs in the courtroom can help promote a major reform in the way we meet the emotional needs of those involved in the criminal justice system.”

Authorized dogs would be required to go through training and be evaluated and registered as a member of Assistance Dogs International.

Senate Bill 1389 will take effect on January 1, 2016

071515CM1321SPRINGFIELD- Under new legislation, hospitals will soon send new parents home with a trusted tool to combat Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Sponsor State Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) legislation was signed into law today to ensure that materials on SIDS prevention provided to parents include information from the American Academy of Pediatrics or a statewide or nationally-recognized SIDS or medical association.

“As a new parent, there is a lot of excitement as well as pressure to provide the best care for your children. This new law will help ease some of the burden by providing new parents with vital and reliable information on how they can help to protect their children from SIDS,” Bennett said.

071515CM1284SIDS is a sudden and silent medical disorder that can happen to an infant who appears healthy. It is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age. In 2011, about one out of 2,300 infants born in the nation died of SIDS before their first birthdays.

The cause of SIDS is unknown, however educational campaigns helped raise awareness to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

For more information on the “Safe Sleep” campaign, please visit www.aap.org.  

House Bill 1407, known as “Cody’s Law” was signed into law on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 and goes into effect immediately.

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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