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“A victim should not be burdened with restarting their entire life from the ground up, and this legislation is just one of the many things that can help prevent that.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – Victims of domestic abuse will be able to keep their phone numbers while separating from a shared plan with their abuser under legislation that passed the Senate today.

The measure, sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), allows victims to petition the court for the right to continue using the same phone number when they file a petition for an order of protection.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) co-sponsored the legislation because of his experiences as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Champaign County.

“In today’s world, having a cell phone has gone from being a luxury to a necessity,” Bennett said. “A victim should not be burdened with restarting their entire life from the ground up, and this legislation is just one of the many things that can help prevent that.”

Senate Bill 57 now goes to the House of Representatives.

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“We cannot hope to prevent domestic abuse if we do not adequately fund the facilities and services that actively work with victims.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – For many abused women, domestic violence shelters are the last refuge from which they can begin to rebuild their lives. These very shelters, however, are now on the verge of closing due to the state’s historic budget impasse.

One such shelter is the Urbana-based provider Courage Connection. The facility is the only domestic violence shelter in Champaign-Urbana. In December, the provider learned that the $600 million in the state’s stopgap budget did not include its funding.

On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate heard testimony from the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault to discuss how the budget impasse was putting the safety and well-being of abuse victims in danger.

“Approximately 40,000 fewer Illinois students received prevention education programs last year,” said Polly Poskin, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “Rape victims are hurt by the impasse as waiting lists for crucial counseling and advocacy services expand.”

State Senator Scott Bennett, a Democrat who represents the Champaign-Urbana area in the Senate, says the lack of funding for domestic violence programs is unconscionable.

“We cannot hope to prevent domestic abuse if we do not adequately fund the facilities and services that actively work with victims,” Bennett said. “While we sit in Springfield debating our business climate, very real people are suffering beyond belief.”

Bennett is no stranger to working with abuse victims. A former Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney, Bennett has drawn on his experiences as a prosecutor to pass legislation out of the Senate that would help the victims of sexual assault.

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“This legislation is a beacon of hope to victims all over Illinois that an arbitrary deadline won’t stand between them and justice.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation removing the statute of limitations for certain sex crimes against minors passed the Illinois Senate today. By a vote of 54-0, members of the Senate sided with victims still struggling to come to terms with the crimes committed against them.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) worked with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to pass the measure.

“Survivors of these horrific crimes should not be forced to seek justice before they are ready to do so,” Bennett said. “This legislation is a beacon of hope to victims all over Illinois that an arbitrary deadline won’t stand between them and justice.”

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has made protecting the victims of sex crimes a top priority of her office.

“For a child survivor of sexual assault, reporting their crime can be unimaginable because these crimes are usually committed by an adult they know well,” Madigan said. “We must ensure that we can seek justice whenever a survivor comes forward to report the crime.”

The measure now goes to the House of Representatives.

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“Guaranteeing funding for the future will allow U of I to maintain its position as one of the most prestigious universities in the Midwest and the nation.” - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois could see a long-term funding plan from the state thanks to legislation before the Illinois Senate. Senate Bill 222 would guarantee five years of funding at a minimum level for U of I if they meet certain metrics.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), whose district includes the University of Illinois, is the legislation’s chief co-sponsor.

“The University of Illinois is not just a school, it is an economic powerhouse for downstate Illinois,” Bennett said. “Guaranteeing funding for the future will allow U of I to maintain its position as one of the most prestigious universities in the Midwest and the nation.”

In exchange for the funding, the university must meet certain requirements relating to tuition, admissions numbers, financial aid and performance.

Senate Bill 222 is currently in the Senate Higher Education Committee.

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