UIUCCHAMPAIGN – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been given a $29,000 Radio Information Service Grant from the Illinois Secretary of State.

Through this grant, WILL-FM, the radio station at the University, will provide information to those who are visually impaired, physically handicapped and the elderly living in Urbana and the surrounding area.

“Thanks to this grant, more residents in the Champaign-Urbana area will have the opportunity to access information they need,” State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) said. “Anyone – regardless of limited visual or physical ability – should be able to participate more fully in our society.”

Specifically, the grant will give those who are visually impaired and physically handicapped access to local daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and different types of books.

The service also provides in-depth and detailed reporting that will be broadcast on a special radio called a sideband receiver. These receivers are distributed at no cost to qualified recipients and anyone who has a visual or physical disability impairing their ability to read may be eligible to obtain a special radio.

WILL-FM’s informational service programs are broadcast daily and include hours of local programming for the audience’s enjoyment and enrichment. Volunteers will read local newspapers, news that may not generally be heard on the television news broadcast and a variety of topics including comics, grocery ads and obituaries.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity to engage more members of our community,” Bennett said. “This program will make it possible for those who are visually or physically impaired to be current and knowledgeable about the world around them.”

SBenCHAMPAIGN – Last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Office of Management and Budget outlined more than $200 million in suggested cuts to Illinois’ 2018 budget, including reducing funding to several agriculture programs.

“The governor’s cuts would slash funding for key agricultural research and conservation, undermining the ability of our famers to sustain their land and their livelihoods,” said State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), Vice-Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Agriculture. “I am all for helping Illinois achieve long-term fiscal stability, but I wonder how much more funding to agricultural programs can be reduced without causing harm.”

The governor’s proposed cuts are expected to reduce the budget for the Department of Agriculture by about $21 million. This will affect operations, promotions, export marketing and contractual staff.

Under the plan, funding for Soil and Water Conservation Districts remains at $5 million, equal to the previous year; however, the $2.5 million of cost-share funds was reduced, and an additional $6 million in new appropriations will not be funded.

“I definitely support a balanced budget and spending within your means,” Bennett said. “At the same time, I will continue to advocate for efficient levels of funding for these essential programs because agriculture is the backbone of our state’s economy, and we need to do whatever we can to keep Illinois’ agribusiness growing.”

Scott BennettSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted today to protect Illinois college students from crushing college debt.

The Illinois Senate voted to override Governor Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 1351, which creates the Student Loan Bill of Rights and prohibits predatory loan servicers from engaging in any unfair or deceptive practices towards any students and parents.

“At a time where many young people are graduating from college with crippling debt, we need to make sure that students understand their rights and have access to proper resources,” Bennett said. “This legislation is a good first step to take in helping students and their families from falling behind on payments or defaulting on their loans.”

Bennett sponsored the Student Loan Bill of Rights to ensure that students and their families receive clear information about the money they borrow for higher education and how their student loans are serviced.

Over the past decade, student loan debt has doubled to become the largest form of unsecured consumer debt in the country with more than 40 million borrowers owing over $1.4 trillion. Nearly 70 percent of graduates leave college with an average debt burden of $30,000, and one-in-four borrowers are behind on their payments or in default.

Senate Bill 1351 also aims to crack down on the student loan servicing industry that has made it more difficult and more expensive for borrowers to repay their loans.

“Going to college should not be the financial burden that it has become,” Bennett said. “Every student in Illinois should have the opportunity to advance or complete their education without the fear of debilitating debt upon graduation.”

SBSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted today to protect collective bargaining rights for the people of Illinois.

“Every employee in Illinois should have the ability to negotiate for fair, safe and competitive rights in the workplace,” Bennett said. “The freedom to collectively bargain builds and protects the middle class, not just for union members, but for all workers.”

The Illinois Senate voted to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1905, which allows all Illinois workers the freedom to bargain collectively and prohibits local government entities from enacting harmful “right-to-work” laws.

In the past, Governor Bruce Rauner and his allies have tried to pass right-to-work ordinances and zones in the state. These right-to-work laws prevent Illinois workers from participating in collective negotiations for better wages, benefits and safe working conditions.

“Right-to-work is an inaccurate name for a policy designed to take away rights from hardworking families,” Bennett said. “This law will help tilt the balance away from big corporations and boardroom executives that work to rig the system at the expense of working families.”

Senate Bill 1905 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration.

Subcategories

 

eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

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:
218-B State House
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-2507