Cigarette350SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham voted Wednesday to override the governor’s veto of legislation that would increase the age to legally purchase tobacco products in Illinois to 21.

“Big tobacco has a long track record of targeting young people to sell their products,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This legislation demonstrates our commitment to improving the health of Illinois teenagers by limiting their access to tobacco and preventing lifelong addiction from developing.”

The bill would make Illinois the sixth 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 Senate voted 36 to 19 to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2332.

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MedicareMadeEasy650

Free counseling assistance is available locally through Dec. 7 for Medicare-eligible residents and their caregivers during the Medicare Open Enrollment period.

During open enrollment, eligible adults can adjust Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage, move from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan – or vice versa, switch between Medicare Advantage plans, join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or switch or drop existing drug plans without penalty.

Because these can be overwhelming and confusing decisions, assistance is available to help clients find the closest State of Illinois Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) office, where they can schedule appointments to get help with open enrollment.

Those offices are at the following area locations:

  • Little Company of Mary Hospital, 2800 W. 95th St., Evergreen Park – 708-229-5456
  • Advocate Christ Medical Center – Senior Services, 4440 W. 95th St., Oak Lawn – 708-684-4150
  • Orland Township, 14807 S. Ravinia, Orland Park – 708-403-4222
  • Palos Community Hospital, 12251 S. 80th Ave., Palos Heights – 708-923-4785
  • PLOWS Council on Aging, 7808 W. College Drive, Suite 5 East, Palos Heights – 708-361-0219

SHIP counselors work through the Medicare.gov system to help seniors and people with disabilities make the best choices for their individual situation. Residents can contact SHIP by calling 800-252-8966 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

For more information, including a complete list of SHIP locations, visit http://www.illinois.gov/aging/ship/Pages/default.aspx.

To compare 2019 drug and health plans or to find out more about Medicare options, including preventive services now covered, visit the federal website at medicare.gov. Medicare customer service representatives are available around the clock at 800-633-4227.

SHIP is not affiliated with any insurance company, and counselors do not sell or solicit any type of insurance. SHIP counselors in the field help seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare understand the options available to them. They also educate and answer questions about Medicare plans and options.

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VoteButtons350SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham (18th District) is cautioning suburban Cook County and Chicago residents about misleading reports that the window for voter registration has closed.

In fact, there are still plenty of opportunities to register to vote ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

“Of all the excuses people use not to vote, claiming that it is too hard to register might be the least valid,” Cunningham said. “Thanks to recent changes in the law, there are plenty of opportunities remaining to register to vote between now and the General Election, including the ability to register on Election Day itself.”

Online registration

The easiest way to register is online at the Illinois State Board of Elections website – https://ova.elections.il.gov. Online registration is open until Sunday, Oct. 21 and is available to any Illinois citizen who has a driver’s license or state-issued identification.

‘Grace period’ registration

So-called “grace period” registration is available at all Cook County and City of Chicago early voting sites until Nov. 5. New voters can register and vote in-person on the same day at each site as long as they bring two forms of identification.

A full list of early voting sites for Cook County suburban residents is available on the county clerk’s website – http://bit.ly/CookEarlyVote. A list of early voting sites for Chicago residents is available on the Chicago Board of Elections website – http://bit.ly/ChiEarlyVote.

Both websites offer information about what forms of identification are accepted.

Same-day registration

Eligible voters can register to vote in-person on Election Day. Same-day registration is only possible at a voter’s assigned local polling place. The voter must present two forms of identification to participate in same-day registration, one of which must show a current address.

Suburban residents can find their assigned polling location by entering their home address in a search bar on the clerk’s website at http://bit.ly/CookPollingPlaces. City of Chicago residents can find their assigned polling place on the Chicago Board of Elections website at http://bit.ly/ChiPollingPlaces.

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More than $7.6M in new money funneled to area students in just two years

AppleBooksSPRINGFIELD – Southwest suburban families will continue to benefit from Illinois’ new school funding formula, which guarantees local schools will receive nearly $4.3 million more this year than they did last year, State Senator Bill Cunningham said today.

That means the new formula will have pumped more than $7.6 million in additional money into schools in the 18th State Senate District during its first two years on the books.

“Superintendents are making meaningful changes in schools and classrooms across the southwest suburbs because of the new formula,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who supported the overhaul of Illinois’ archaic school funding formula. “Schools that have gotten the short end of the stick for years are moving to the front of the line for support, and that’s how it should be.”

Statewide, many school districts are rehiring teachers and counselors who were laid off because of budget constraints, reinstating vital programs, creating innovative new learning programs, and establishing much-needed stability so they can budget for the future.

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 18th District
311B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5145
(217) 782-2115 FAX
 
District Offices:
10400 South Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643
(773) 445-8128
(773) 672-5143 FAX

16033 S. 94th Avenue
Orland Hills, IL 60477
(708) 233-9703