voting booths 350SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation Tuesday that would have ended Illinois’ participation in the controversial Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which is used to detect voters who are registered in more than one state. Critics say the system is a cybersecurity liability has been used to suppress minority voters by purging valid voters from voter rolls in other states.

The legislation, Senate Bill 2273, would have required Illinois to use the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) instead of Crosscheck. ERIC uses tougher security protocols and more information to guarantee that personal information is correct and safer from hacking.

Rauner’s veto came days after the U.S. Justice Department announced it had indicted 12 Russian military officers for hacking voter data systems throughout the nation, including systems in Illinois.

State Senator Bill Cunningham, a Democrat representing Chicago and the Southwest suburbs who chairs the Senate’s Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee, issued the following statement in response to the governor’s veto:

“It’s inexcusable that within days of federal prosecutors indicting Russian cyber-spies for hacking the personal data of Illinois voters, Gov. Rauner vetoed a bill designed to secure Illinois election systems. Gov. Rauner chose to leave Illinois vulnerable to data breaches in order to preserve the Crosscheck system, which has been used in blatant voter suppression tactics for partisan advantage. He placed the political benefit of his party over the personal data security of Illinoisans.”

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052916CM0269ResizeSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) had the following statement after votes being taken on a property tax freeze.
 
“The Illinois Senate has voted to deliver much needed property tax relief to homeowners throughout the state,” Cunningham said. “This is another step the Senate has taken to make a serious attempt to end the impasse by passing a balanced budget and significant reforms that protect working families.”

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01252017CM0217ResizeSPRINGFIELD – On Tuesday, the Senate Higher Education Committee heard testimony on the governor’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year. The testimony showed that higher education has been irreparably damaged because of the budget impasse.

“Universities and community colleges have been cut to the bone because of the games being played in Springfield,” State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) said. “Yet the governor blocked the so-called grand bargain legislation that would have paved a path for a balanced budget.”

When asked what universities could afford to cut, many universities said there is nothing left. If the governor’s proposal for fiscal year 2018 is realized, state universities will have seen a 42 percent cut to their funding since 2015, when the governor took office.

“We need a budget that properly funds higher education so that we can start to repair the damage done by the governor’s failure to propose a balanced budget,” Cunningham said.

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devel dis 030717300Stories pop up every day all across Illinois about the effects of the budget impasse. Those stories range from facility closures to students who may be on the hook for thousands of dollars for their education. One story in the 18th District shows that the developmentally disabled are especially at risk during the budget impasse.

“Sertoma Centre is just one example of the crisis that the state is facing,” Senator Bill Cunningham said. “We need real governing to ensure that we can end this fiscal crisis that is doing real harm to our community.”

Sertoma Centre has been open in the Alsip area since 1971. The group was created to provide opportunities that empower individuals with disabilities to achieve success. The group serves over 200 people and has three facilities throughout the south suburbs. In the 1990s, Sertoma opened its first Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) home.

Unfortunately, the budget impasse has hit Sertoma Centre hard. The Centre is primarily funded through Medicaid. But due to the budget impasse, delays in payment have meant a financial crisis for the community service center.

“All our services are dependent on state funding with the exception of our school transition program, which is funded through local school districts,” said Gus van den Brink, the executive director of Sertoma Centre.

The agency though has seen declining reimbursement rates for the services they provide. It could only be a matter of weeks before the facility has to start laying off staff due to the budget crunch they face.

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