05012018CM0406SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is working with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to protect student loan borrowers from losing professional licenses as they work to pay off their debt.

Senate Bill 2439 would prevent Illinois licensing agencies that regulate 38 professions from denying, revoking or suspending licenses to individuals who are in default on their student loans. The measure passed out of the Senate today.

“There are many things we can do to collect debt for student loans, but taking away someone’s livelihood is counterproductive, to say the least,” Bennett said. “This bill will end this punitive practice and protect licensed professional from becoming trapped in insurmountable debt.”

Under the current law, state officials reserve the right to suspend or revoke a person’s occupational license for defaulting on student loan payments. Teachers, dieticians, marriage and family therapists, veterinarians and engineers are among the dozens of occupations affected by this law.

Illinois is one of 19 states that revoke licenses due to student loan debt. Additionally, more than 60 percent of Illinois’ four-year college graduates from the class of 2016 had college debt, according to the Institution for College Access and Success.

“For many people, the reward of a fulfilling career is what makes an investment in higher education worth it,” Bennett said. “We need to protect that investment and ensure that borrowers can stay current on their payments – instead of severely punishing them when they fall behind.” 

SB 2439 passed with bipartisan support and will now move to the House for consideration.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) welcomed 2017 Miss Illinois Abby Foster to the Illinois State Capitol today.

A Danville native, Foster competed in the Miss America beauty pageant last September where she was voted as “America’s Choice” and finished in the Top 15.

“Abby really has done a terrific job as Miss Illinois,” Bennett said. “She is an impressive young woman, a tremendous student and a very involved and visible member of our community. We could not be prouder of how she has represented Danville, Vermilion County and our state.

Foster has spent the past year touring the state of Illinois as an ambassador for Character Counts! and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

04262018CM0203SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) measure to address the sale of counterfeit airbags was approved by the Senate this week.

Senate Bill 560 increases the penalty for fitting a car with any device instead of an airbag from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Class 4 Felony. A Class A Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in the county jail, whereas a Class 4 Felony is punishable by one to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and up to two-and-a-half years of probation.

“This measure is a step in the right direction to cracking down on organized criminals who are selling dangerous counterfeit airbags to consumers and suppliers with little to no regard to their deadly consequences,” Bennett said. “Increasing the penalty will deter criminals from selling these defective devices.”

Bennett said that due to the significant cost of modern airbags, their design and the technology involved in making them, scammers have taken to producing counterfeit and/or nonfunctional airbag replacements. These products often go unnoticed because airbags are only opened in the event of a collision.

“Airbags are critical in helping to protect drivers and passengers,” Bennett said. “We need to make sure that everyone has the appropriate equipment that meets proper safety standards to keep them safe in the event of a crash.”

SB 560 passed with bipartisan support and will now move to the House for consideration.

Sen. Scott Bennett welcomes Schlarman Academy state champions to the Capitol

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) welcomed the much-accomplished Schlarman Academy girls’ basketball team to the Illinois State Capitol today.

Last month, The Lady Hilltoppers dominated the Class 1A state title game, easily defeating Stockton 53-31 to claim the program and Danville’s first-ever state championship.

Their win capped a magical 33-1 season for Schlarman as the Hilltoppers ended the season on a 19-game win streak.

“I would like to congratulate Coach Keith Peoples, Principal Gail Lewis and the entire team on their victory and on a superb end to a great season,” Bennett said. “The Hilltoppers were already winners in the way they represented their school, their families, Danville and Vermilion County so well during their season, but a state title is a great way to finish out the year.”

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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

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Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-2507