TazewellCo2RSSPRINGFIELD—Illinois will begin planting the seeds for stronger agriculture education programs in its schools under legislation sponsored by Senator Bill Cunningham that was signed into law Tuesday.

Senate Bill 2975 creates a grant fund to help school districts defray 50 percent of the personnel costs for an agriculture education teacher. If a school district is creating a new agriculture education program, they could receive a grant to fund 100 percent of personnel costs in their first two years, and 80 percent in the third and fourth year.

“Today the state of Illinois said we prioritize one of our state’s strongest industries,” Cunningham said, who represents the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, which is located in the Mt. Greenwood section of his district. “We should continue investing into the successes of Illinois during these tough times.”

The legislation would also add agriculture education as an area of identified staff shortage which would make scholarship money available for those who want to go into agriculture education. Only 61 percent of agriculture jobs will be filled with qualified graduates in the coming years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Currently, there is a shortage of qualified agriculture professionals. That means there are job openings to be filled but no one there to fill them,” Cunningham said. “We should be emphasizing the great careers agriculture offers to all of our students.”

The legislation was signed into law on Tuesday during Agriculture Day at the Illinois State Fair.

Category: Press Releases

053015CM0579resizeSPRINGFIELD—Local law enforcement will work to keep guns out of the hands of people who have orders of protection against them thanks to a new Illinois law.

House Bill 6331, sponsored by Senator Bill Cunningham, will require the state police to notify local police agencies to assist in seizing a Firearm Owners Identification Card when that person’s card has been revoked by a judge in an order of protection case.

“If law enforcement is going to successfully protect victims of domestic violence, all police agencies must have the information they need to enforce court orders," Cunningham said. "As the law stands today, the state police must shoulder the entire burden on their own. That's not fair to the state police or to the victims of domestic violence."

Category: Press Releases

Cunningham PhotoSPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham during the spring legislative session pushed to expand and extend the successful accelerated resolution court, also known as Rocket Docket, in Cook County.

The legislation, signed into law today, would add minor traffic and drug offenses to the program and extends the program’s sunset date to 2019. The Rocket Docket program expedites the adjudication of minor offenses by requiring they be tried with 30 days.

“This program has been a success since day one in controlling overcrowding of Cook County Jail,” Cunningham said. “It also has been a success in lowering the financial burden on taxpayers who fund the jail.”

Currently, the Cook County Sheriff refers defendants to the program and the Cook County State’s Attorney approves those referrals. For any defendant to be eligible they are not allowed to have any prior convictions for violent offenses within the past 10 years and must be unable to post bond.

“It only made sense to keep a successful program running,” Cunningham said.

Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago.


Category: Press Releases

CunninghamHurleyRoadProjectRCHICAGO – Drivers who travel near Marist High School will enjoy a faster commute and less congestion because of a road widening project backed by Senator Bill Cunningham and Representative Fran Hurley.

“For years the residents of our community have been dealing with the extreme congestion that occurs at the intersection near Marist,” Cunningham said. “We needed a solution.”
The local project includes adding a turn lane to smooth out traffic at 115th Street and Pulaski Road. Cunningham and Hurley pushed the Illinois Department of Transportation to prioritize widening the intersection.

“Projects like these continue to be critical drivers in our economy,” Cunningham said. “We can’t let road projects lapse. It harms our communities and allows our infrastructure to degrade.”

“This intersection has been a traffic-clogging nuisance to motorist in our community for decades,” Hurley said. "Not only will widening the intersection make for quicker commutes, it also will make the intersection safer for both motorists and pedestrians."

The project is part of the nearly $63 million dollars planned to be invested in roadwork throughout the 18th Illinois Senate district over the next six years.

Prior to the stopgap spending plan passed by the General Assembly on June 30, the director of IDOT announced that all projects would be stopped on July 1 due to the lack of a budget. But Senator Cunningham and Representative Hurley pushed for a stopgap measure that would keep projects on schedule.

From Left to Right: Edward Moody, Worth ​Township Highway Commissioner, Senator Bill Cunningham, 18th Senate District, Patrick Kitching, Mayor of Alsip, Representative Fran Hurley, 35th House District, Kevin Hughes, Supervisor of Worth Township, Brother Hank Hammer, President of Marist High School,
Larry Tucker, Principal of Marist High School

Category: Press Releases

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Springfield Office:
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