SPRINGFIELD – Residents living in state-operated assisted living facilities would be allowed to install cameras in their rooms to monitor and deter possible abuse under a bill that is heading to the governor’s desk.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) partnered with his uncle State Rep. Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) to make Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) facilities safer for residents and to reassure their loved ones.

Bennett sponsored House Bill 344 through the Senate this week to allow a resident living in a CILA facility, a supervised home environment in which eight or fewer people with mental illness or developmental disabilities live together, to electronically monitor their own room provided that their consent and notice has been given to the facility on prescribed forms.

“The core of this bill is to protect some of the most vulnerable residents in our state,” Bennett said. “It will ensure that these residents are treated well, provide their families with peace of mind regarding their loved ones and help resolve disputes regarding suspected abuse and neglect.”

The measure also includes a provision under which a resident must also obtain the consent of any and all roommates and bear all costs of purchase, installation, maintenance, and removal. The facility will be required to post signs at the entrance of the building and at the entrance of the resident’s room stating that the room is electronically monitored.  

HB 344 has passed the Senate and the House of Representatives and now moves to the governor for approval.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed a measure through the Senate this week to support horse races at the Illinois State Fair.  

Under current law, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is authorized to provide at least five days of horse racing at the Illinois State Fair. Bennett, who is the Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, sponsored House Bill 3667 to provide an exception to this requirement if the Illinois Standardbred Breeders Fund Advisory Board requests an alternate racing program. 

“This measure will provide the DOA the flexibility to make adjustments to the horse racing schedule at the State Fair,” Bennett said. “It will help accommodate horse breeders and owners and ensure the horse racing industry and the thousands of jobs it creates remains an important part of the agricultural economy of our state."

The Advisory Board assists and advises the Department of Agriculture on expenditures and rulemaking concerning Standardbred horses and arcing programs.

HB 3667 has passed the Senate and the House of Representatives and now moves to the governor for approval.


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett passed legislation through the Senate this week to bolster privacy rights for crime victims in Illinois.

“Victims of crime and their families deserve the right to participate and be heard in the criminal justice system through the use of these powerful impact statements, but they also deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and sensitivity as they seek justice,” Bennett (D-Champaign) said. “The first and most important step in achieving this is by protecting their privacy.”

House Bill 3584 would provide a crime victim the right to register with the Prisoner Review Board’s victim registry and to submit a victim impact statement to the Board for consideration at hearings or executive clemency hearings. Impact statements are written or oral information from crime victims, in their own words, about how a crime has affected them.

The legislation clarifies that victim impact statements submitted to the Prisoner Review Board are confidential and privileged.

As a former prosecutor and Vice Chairman of the Senate Criminal Law Committee, Bennett has directed his efforts to securing rights, protections and services for victims going through the criminal justice system.

House Bill 3584 advances to the governor for consideration.

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SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Senate passed a measure this week sponsored by Senator Scott Bennett to help provide practical education programs to residents in all 102 counties in Illinois.

“Nearly every community in our state benefits from the University of Illinois’ Extension services,” Bennett (D-Champaign) said. “It’s crucial that we continue to invest in these educational programs to help our residents, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future.”

House Bill 2264 would require the State to make an annual appropriation for matching funds to the University of Illinois’ Cooperative Extension Services Program. Currently, the state may only provide 50 percent to county funds for the program.

The University of Illinois’ Extension offers education programs in five broad areas including energy and environmental stewardship; food safety and security; economic development and workforce preparedness; family health, financial security and wellness; and youth development.

More than 1.5 million Illinois residents take part in Extension programs each year, nearly 200,000 of whom participate in the 4-H program. UI Extension also offers hands-on workshops, field days and online self-paced tutorials.

HB 2264 has passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives and now moves to the governor for approval.


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