110917 5780SPRINGFIELD – Senate President John Cullerton has appointed State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) as the new chairman of the Senate Criminal Law Committee.

A graduate of Illinois State University and University of Illinois Law School, Bennett served as a Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney before being appointed to the State Senate in 2015.

Since arriving in the Senate, Bennett has used his experiences as a prosecutor to push for legislation to assist survivors of sexual assault. He has also led the charge to eliminate statute of limitations on sexual crimes against children.

“I look forward to bringing my experience and expertise as an attorney and former prosecutor to this challenging new role as leader of the Senate Criminal Law Committee,” Bennett said. “You have my commitment that I will fight for policies that ensure safety and justice for families and communities across the state.”

The criminal law committee hears proposed legislation devoted to improving the quality, fairness and effectiveness of the criminal justice system in the state. Last year, the committee passed measures advancing criminal justice reform, curbing gun violence and protecting victims.

Bennett has been serving on the committee for the past three years and is excited about the opportunity to steer and promote fair and essential criminal law policies.

“We’re going to have a lot of critical criminal law bills coming along this year and I think it’s important that we do something that is unusual in Springfield,” Bennett said. “We need to begin to properly study and assess legislation and actually look to experts to see how the laws we pass will affect those in courthouses across Illinois.”

Bennett will continue to serve as vice chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and will also sit on appropriations, gaming, higher education and labor committees.

02282017CM0572CHAMPAIGN – In order to address the growing social and financial costs of jailing those who await trial, State Senator Scott Bennett will join a commission to investigate possible pretrial reforms in the state’s criminal justice system.

The Champaign Democrat has been appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court’s Pretrial Practices Commission to help conduct a redesign of the system in place to deal with individuals from the time they're arrested until their case is resolved.

“The human and financial costs of pretrial detention are higher than I think we realize,” Bennett said “We must develop the most sensible practices possible to ensure that pretrial detention is serving both the ends of justice and the public interest.”

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Illinois Public MediaCHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Campaign) is excited to announce that the Illinois Arts Council awarded the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign a grant of $16,200 for broadcast operations at WILL radio and television.

Illinois Public Media will use the grant to serve communities in Central Illinois with quality, commercial-free educational programming.

“I am thrilled that this grant will allow Illinois Public Media to continue to break new grounds and bring news every day to families in Central Illinois,” Bennett said. “WILL has always done an excellent job keeping citizens informed and engaged with the issues that matter in our communities. Their broadcasting consistently provides knowledge for political action, fosters talk that leads to solutions and inspires cultural and local engagement.”

CPDCHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is excited to announce that families in Champaign will soon have a brand new park equipped with soccer fields, a multipurpose field, a multi-purpose path and parking.

Champaign Park District was awarded $137,000 through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

“Local parks are an essential part of a happy and healthy city,” Bennett said. “I’m thrilled that this grant will provide more beautiful green spaces and great community programs for my family, friends and neighbors.”

Champaign Park District will be using the grant for the acquisition of Human Kinetics Park, a 5.6 acre park that is privately owned but currently leased to the park district.

The LCWF grant program, administered by the state’s Department of Natural Resources, provides up to 50 percent of the cost of projects to help purchase land to be used for public access and recreation.

The LWCF grant program began in 1965 and, prior to this year, awarded more than $126 million 733 park projects in Illinois.

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