04102019CM0749SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate passed a measure Thursday introduced by State Senator Bill Cunningham that would crack down on assault and public indecency in prisons and jails.

Senate Bill 416 would allow a prison warden to revoke up to 90 days of pre-trial credit or good behavior credit from an individual if the prison disciplinary board sustains charges of public indecency, assault or battery on a peace officer.

The legislation would further allow prison wardens to revoke up to 365 days of credit for each subsequent charge that has been sustained by the prison disciplinary board.

“Peace officers have dangerous jobs and it’s imperative that we protect these men and women just as well as they protect us,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “These penalties will be an effective deterrent against inappropriate behavior in our prisons and make them safer for both the guards and the inmates, themselves.”

The Senate approved the measure in a 57-0 vote. The bill will now go before the House of Representatives.

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11132018CM1014SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate passed a bill sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham Wednesday that would prohibit diesel trucks from idling excessively in residential areas.

Senate Bill 1256 would prevent diesel trucks over 8,000 pounds from idling for more than a total of ten minutes in an hour if the vehicle is within 200 feet of a residential area in Cook County.

Cunningham credited Cook County residents living near a trucking yard for bringing the issue to his attention. The residents identified persistent noise and air quality issues with the trucking yard, located near the corner 119th St. and Central Park Ave. in Merrionette Park, that needed to be addressed.

“Residents of my district are sick and tired of the noise and pollution coming from trucking lots located near residential areas,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This is a straightforward measure that will make a positive difference in the lives of many Cook County residents.”

The measure passed with no opposition. It will now go before the House of Representatives.

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03142018CM1029RSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham has introduced a measure that would create groups tasked with retrieving Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) cards after they have been revoked.

Although state law already allows the state to revoke FOID cards if an individual is deemed unfit to carry a firearm, there is no system currently in place to ensure that a FOID is physically revoked to prevent further gun purchases. Senate Bill 715 would create firearm Revocation Enforcement Groups charged with recovering FOID cards that have been revoked by the state of Illinois.

The bill is an initiative of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Circumstances under which the state has the authority to revoke a FOID card from an individual include instances when a card holder commits a felony, becomes addicted to narcotics, has committed acts of domestic violence or is diagnosed with a mental condition that presents a clear and present danger to oneself or others.

“If an individual has been found unfit to possess a firearm due to criminal activity or mental illness, there needs to be a process by which his or her FOID card is physically revoked,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This is a common sense law that will make Illinois safer.”

Cunningham introduced the bill in response to the February 15 mass shooting in Aurora that killed five people and injured several others, including five police officers.

“The Aurora shooter was a felon with a long history of violent behavior, and yet he was still allowed to retain his FOID card and purchase a gun,” Cunningham said. “This is a clear and persistent problem around our country and we need to act now to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.”

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03072019CM0719SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham voted Thursday for legislation that would increase the age to legally purchase tobacco products in Illinois to 21.

“The tobacco industry’s long history of targeting young people has shown that they’re willing to sacrifice teenagers’ health to line their own pockets,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This is a public health issue and I’m proud to support a bill that protects Illinois teenagers by helping prevent what could become a lifelong addiction.”

House Bill 345 would make Illinois the seventh state in the country to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21. More than 300 municipalities across the United States have adopted Tobacco 21, including 24 communities in Illinois.

Raising the tobacco purchasing age has been proven to reduce the number of high school students who use tobacco products. In Chicago, where Tobacco 21 is currently in effect, the high school smoking rate dropped from 13.6 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2017.

The measure passed the Senate 39-16. It will now go to the governor’s desk.

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