police memorial

URBANA – State Senator Scott Bennett paid tribute to fallen police officers during the annual Law Enforcement memorial service in Urbana, a ceremony to honor law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. 

“Today I was honored to commemorate the selfless public servants who wear the badge and pay my respects to those who lost their lives,” Bennett (D-Champaign) said. “Our state’s law enforcement serve with courage, dedication and strength. They help enforce our laws, safeguard our property and protect our communities—all at the risk of personal peril. It’s important to take a moment to remember the cost of providing this comfort.”

Survivors and friends of the fallen officers joined their law enforcement colleagues and state officials for the services, which included honor guards, a rifle squad, and pipes and drums squads.

Bennett delivered the keynote speech during the ceremony and voiced his support for the law enforcement community and gave his sincere condolences to the families and friends of the fallen Chicago Police Department officers and Illinois State Troopers that have passed away this year.

Champaign’s ceremony also commemorated the city’s five police officers who have died in the line of duty in Champaign County since 1913.

“Law enforcement officers risk their lives every single day to help keep us and our families’ safe, and any loss of an officer deeply affects entire communities,” Bennett said. “I greatly admire the men and women who remain steadfast in the dangers of their noble profession. We honor the service and sacrifice of our state’s fallen law enforcement officers, not only for the sake of those e that have departed, but as a reminder to all of us that remain.”

Read Senator Bennett's full remarks here:

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 buy illinois

SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) would require State agencies to purchase products that are made in Illinois. 

“This is a great step forward and demonstrates our commitment to supporting Illinois businesses, driving job creation and ensuring our tax dollars stay here in Illinois and in America,” Bennett said. “I will continue my efforts to support our local businesses, manufacturers and contractors as we work together to level the playing field with foreign competitors.”

The legislation would require State agencies to buy Illinois manufactured products when available. If Illinois made products are not available, they will then buy products made in the United States.

House Bill 357 passed the Senate State Government Committee and will go before the full Senate for further consideration.

Eisenhauer Capital Hearing

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) was joined by Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer in Springfield this week to testify about the infrastructure needs in Rantoul.

Eisenhauer spoke at the final meeting of the Joint Subcommittee on Capital in Springfield, which has been touring the state to hear input on a future capital development bill in Illinois.

“As we consider the best path toward improving our state’s infrastructure, it’s important to hear from local leaders like Administrator Eisenhauer about what communities like Rantoul need,” Bennett said. “We want to make sure that we are investing in our districts.”  

It has been more than 10 years since Illinois last passed a capital construction plan, and many roads, bridges and other infrastructure require immediate attention. In grading the state in 2018, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Illinois a C, determining that the state’s transportation infrastructure shows signs of deterioration and faces increasing vulnerability to risk.

Eisenhauer discussed the need of support and funding for the Smart Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (STII) based in Rantoul, a public-private partnership that includes state and federal government, industry, and a consortium of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois-Chicago, Northwestern University. STII’s goal is to develop the research needed for next-generation transportation technologies. Currently, STII is focused on building the Illinois Automated and Connected Track, a research facility in Rantoul that would conduct testing on self-driving vehicles.

Eisenhauer told the Committee that an infusion of funds toward this project would not only create construction jobs but would also benefit P-12 and higher education and open the doors for private-public partnerships in the community.

 “Infrastructure is needed to support the kind of economic growth that we anticipate seeing following the construction of these new projects,” Eisenhauer said. “None of this can happen without your strong support of economic growth in our state and implementation of a capital bill.”

 Bennett Clean Energy Rally SB 9

Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act will protect land and water from coal ash pollution

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced legislation today to address the issue of severe groundwater contamination at Illinois coal ash dumpsites.

Recently, several state environmental groups found unsafe levels of toxic pollutants at 22 of Illinois’ coal ash storage sites in the last year.

Millions of tons of coal ash, generated by the State’s coal-fired power plants, have been stored in primarily unlined ponds and landfills near the plants for decades. This toxic byproduct of burning coal continues to flow into groundwater, lakes, rivers, and streams around the State, including the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River, Illinois’ only National Scenic River.

Senate Bill 9, the Coal Ash Pollution Prevention Act, would direct owners and operators of coal-ash impoundments to remove the coal ash and dispose of if it in a safe manner. It would largely require the State to adopt federally enforceable safeguards on storage, care and closure of “surface impoundments,” large ponds where coal ash is disposed.  

“Illinois has a coal ash problem and the contamination is going to get worse. This toxic byproduct will be a part of our State’s environment for generations unless we act now,” Bennett said. “Illinois cannot afford to stand by while toxic waste threatens our state’s valuable water resources indefinitely.”

Coal ash contains a hazardous brew of toxic pollutants including arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, lead, radium, selenium and more. Toxic elements in coal ash can threaten the health of humans as well as wildlife. When wet, coal ash contaminants seep into water and create severe implications for surrounding ecosystems.

“Cleaning up coal ash is not just an environmental issue, but also a health and economic concern,” Bennett said. “Coal ash waste also creates challenges for communities who want to reuse former coal plant sites or attract new businesses and cleaning it up can create jobs and open doors for future development.”

Senate Bill 9 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.


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