052616CM0794RSPRINGFIELD—State Senator Bill Cunningham on Tuesday voted to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 440.

The legislation will bring pension parity to retiring Chicago police officers and fire fighters born after 1955. It would also ensure that a widower’s benefit would never decrease below 125 percent of the federal poverty level.

“All public safety workers put themselves in the line of duty to protect and serve our communities,” Cunningham said. “After protecting our communities for their whole careers, they should be able to retire knowing that they will be able to provide for their families.”

The legislation now moves to the House for an override vote.

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052616CM0794RSPRINGFIELD – After learning about an outlandish severance package given to an outgoing community college president by a lame duck board of trustees, Senate Bill Cunningham knew something had to change.

Cunningham proposed a package of reforms that was signed into law today, making the hiring and firing process of college administrators more transparent and fair to both taxpayers and students.

The package includes a proposal that would require community college boards and university boards partake in a minimum of four hours of professional development training that ranges from labor laws to ethics training.

“We need to protect taxpayers and tuition payers,” Cunningham said. “Tuition is on the rise in part because of abuse in the hiring and firing of chief administrators of our state universities and community colleges.”

Another proposal in the package would ban a lame duck community college board from approving a new contract with less than 45 days left before the next election.

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Senator Bill Cunningham spoke with Comcast Newsmakers' Ellee Pai Hong about his legislation to reform higher education administration pay and severance.

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Cunningham: Governor should take the opportunity to keep promisesSPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham joined colleagues in the Illinois Senate to pass legislation that would fully fund the MAP grant program for fiscal year 2016.

House Bill 4167 would appropriate $227 million for MAP grants which would fund the program for the current fiscal year. This comes at a time when many universities and community colleges fronted the students.

“The state needs to keep its promise to the neediest of students. We partially funded MAP but we all agreed that was not enough,” Cunningham said. “This is our step in saying we are going to keep our promise. I hope the governor shares the General Assembly’s priority in keeping our promises to our students.”

The legislation would allow the governor to ensure students who were promised MAP grants are allowed to keep them.

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