cunningham 052320CHICAGO – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham that will help bring a casino to the city of Chicago and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the city’s police and fire pension funds was signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker Tuesday.

“A Chicago casino has been years in the making, and I’m glad we were able to get this legislation over the finish line and make it a reality,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This project will provide a major economic boost to the entire region and provide critical revenue to Chicago’s police and fire pension funds to help ensure our first responders get the retirement benefits they’ve earned.”

Senate Bill 516 makes various changes to the state’s gaming laws and will enable Chicago to open its long-sought casino. When fully operational, the casino is expected to funnel more than $200 million dollars a year to Chicago’s police and fire pension funds.

Shortly after taking his seat in the Illinois Senate in 2013, Cunningham introduced legislation that would have required the city of Chicago to dedicate future revenue to the city’s financially strapped police and fire pension funds. 

As chief sponsor of Senate Bill 516, Cunningham was able to ensure the intent of his 2013 legislation remained in the law. The measure passed both the Senate and House with comfortable, bipartisan majorities. As a result, the taxes collected by the city on all slot machines and table games in the new casino will go exclusively to Chicago’s police and fire pensions.

“Although a Chicago casino seemed a long way away in 2013, it was critical to put a marker down then to help ensure it provided funding for Chicago’s police and fire pension systems,” Cunningham said. “This is going to provide a major investment in those pension funds, and, as an added bonus, it’s going to reduce the pressure placed on Chicago property taxes, which were the only source of revenue for police and fire pensions.”

Senate Bill 516 will take effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

energyCHICAGO – State Senator Bill Cunningham is encouraging Illinois families to take advantage of a new support package from ComEd and the Illinois Commerce Commission to help them pay their electric bills.

“Many Illinois families are facing unique financial challenges as a result of this pandemic,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “Programs like this one are critical to helping them get back on their feet as our state begins to recover from COVID-19.”

The support package is designed to assist customers who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes an extension of ComEd’s current policy suspending disconnections until the state moves to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan or Aug. 1, whichever comes first. Residential and small business customers will have an additional 30-day grace period, during which ComEd will not disconnect service for nonpayment.

Low-income households earning less than 150% of the federal poverty level are also eligible for financial assistance for past-due balances. These customers will have more flexible payment options, including longer payment plans, and ComEd will waive reconnection fees and new deposit requirements for residential customers. 

These new options supplement relief measures ComEd has already established, such as budget billing options, grants, and debt assistance. 

“This is an excellent program, and I encourage anyone who needs assistance with their electric bills to take advantage of it,” Cunningham said.

Customers who are struggling to pay outstanding balances and electric bills are encouraged to contact ComEd’s customer care team at 800-334-7661, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. More information is available at http://www.comed.com/CARE.

Category: Press Releases

Cunningham. Budget signing FBCHICAGO – State Senator Bill Cunningham is pleased that the budget signed into law today by Gov. JB Pritzker funds critical services during the COVID-19 pandemic for Fiscal Year 2021.

“These are uncertain times, but the budget that was signed into law today will provide stability for the people of Illinois,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “It’s critical that we ensure the services Illinois families need remain available while our state recovers from this pandemic.”

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois has seen record levels of unemployment, causing challenges for the state’s unemployment insurance system. In response, the budget provides nearly $60 million to the Illinois Department of Employment Security to help them respond to increasing demand.

“The job losses we have seen over the last few months are unprecedented, and our unemployment system has struggled to keep up with skyrocketing claim numbers,” Cunningham said. “This funding is essential to protecting Illinois families during this crisis and providing workers with resources to get them back to work as soon as possible.”

The budget also provides significant investment in public health to help Illinois recover from COVID-19, including an additional $600 million for the Illinois Department of Public Health and an additional $400 million for local health departments throughout the state. The plan also includes a funding increase for Medicaid to ensure everyone can access the health care they need during this crisis.

“This budget recognizes the importance of supporting our state and local health departments as we guide Illinois through this emergency,” Cunningham said. “This additional funding will be critical to helping public health officials keep families safe.”

Category: Press Releases

cunningham floor 052220CHICAGO – Shortly after taking his seat in the Illinois Senate in 2013, Senator Bill Cunningham introduced legislation requiring the city of Chicago to dedicate future revenue from a proposed casino to the city’s financially strapped police and fire pension funds. At the time, the thought of Chicago ever getting legislative approval to open a casino seemed like a distant and remote possibility.

That possibility became a reality last week when Cunningham, serving as chief sponsor, helped push Senate Bill 516 through the General Assembly. The legislation made a number of changes to the state’s gaming laws and will enable Chicago to open its long-sought casino. When fully operational, the casino is expected to funnel more than $200 million dollars a year to Chicago’s police and fire pension funds.

“The idea of a Chicago casino was purely hypothetical in 2013, and some were convinced it would never happen,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest subrubs. “But we knew that was the best time to put a marker down, before a fight began over how to spend the money. If the casino ever opened, we didn’t want to see the new revenue going to newly created programs, not when the city owed billions of dollars to its pension funds.”

As chief sponsor of SB 516, Cunningham was able to ensure the intent of his 2013 legislation remained in the law. The measure passed both the Senate and House with comfortable, bipartisan majorities. As a result, the taxes collected by the city on all slot machines and table games in the new casino will go exclusively to Chicago’s police and fire pensions.

“This massive new revenue source won’t solve the pension funding crisis overnight,” Cunningham said. “But it is a big step in the right direction. And best of all, the new casino dollars will reduce the pressure placed on Chicago property taxes, which until now has been the only source of revenue for the police and fire pension funds.”

SB 516 is expected to be signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker in the coming weeks.

Category: Press Releases

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