Cunningham052913br0177State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) is supporting a measure to help protect the retiree health benefits of Chicago Police and Firefighters.

Senate Bill 450 seeks to extend a state law that grew out of a 1987 lawsuit when the City of Chicago attempted to roll back retiree healthcare benefits for former employees.  As part of the settlement, retirees and the pension funds started paying for a portion of retiree health insurance costs.

SB 450, of which Cunningham is a co-sponsor, extends that agreement. 

“Our Chicago police and firefighters worked throughout their careers to protect the public safety of the residents.  They should not be denied these benefits,” Cunningham said.

Currently, the police and firefighter pension funds transfer $95 per month for each annuitant, including widows and children, whom are not eligible for Medicare benefits and $65 per month for each annuitant that is eligible for Medicare.  These payments are scheduled to end on June 30, 2013.  If it becomes law, SB 450 will extend the benefits until June 30, 2015. 

Senate Bill 450 is pending in the General Assembly. 

Category: Press Releases

dog-fightingIllinois law enforcement agencies have seen increasing numbers of dog fighting incidents in recent years, prompting State Senator Bill Cunningham to sponsor legislation to raise awareness and end the cruel practice.  

House Bill 3388 would train police officers how to detect and respond to animal fighting. Cunningham passed the legislation through the Senate May 15 and sent the bill to the governor for his signature. 

“These dog fights need to stop and we need to train our police officers to detect this criminal activity,” said Cunningham.  

Animal fighting is on the rise in Chicago and it occurs on street corners, playgrounds and in back alleys and basements.  This illegal activity is often organized and associated with street gangs. 

“Animal fighting is cruel and barbaric, and a blight on society,” said Vicki Deisner, state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Midwest region. “Illegal gambling, drugs and other crimes are frequently entrenched in this cruel blood sport, which often results in the death of the animals involved.”

Animal fighting is a public safety issue and an animal welfare issue. The dogs are often bred, raised, and trained specificly for fighting for the entertainment or financial gain with no regard to the torment and torture the dogs suffer. This law will also train law enforcement officers on how to respond to animal abuse, cruelty and neglect. 

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Two libraries and two schools in State Senator Bill Cunningham’s district have been awarded grants from the Illinois State Library to buy fiction and nonfiction books.

“This extra money to buy books and other educational materials will greatly benefit members of our community and provide resources the libraries otherwise wouldn’t have,” Cunningham said.

The “Back to Books” program is an initiative from Secretary of State Jessie White’s office funded by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services and the state’s library funds.

The eligible materials include: books, large print books, audio books, graphic novels and educational CDs or DVD s.   100% of the grant funds must be spent on materials. 

The list of libraries and schools who received the grants includes:

  • Chicago -  Marist High School      $3,510
  • Chicago Ridge  -  Chicago Ridge Public Library   $5,000
  • Evergreen Park  -   Evergreen Park Public Library   $5,000
  • Palos Hills  -  North Palos School District #117   $5,000
Category: Press Releases

Cunningham032013 js 0172Illinois State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) voted to expand gaming in the state. The measure will send new dollars from casino expansion to public education to offset, and possibly eliminate, the proposed cuts from the governor’s projected budget. Sen. Cunningham made this statement after the Senate vote:
“This bill will help stop the flow of dollars from Illinois residents to the casinos in Indiana and provide Chicago and the South Suburbs with a new source of revenue for schools and infrastructure improvement. It will also ensure that important safeguards are in place to help the state Gaming Board shield casinos from political and criminal corruption.”

Key components of Senate Bill 1739:

  1. Chicago Casino
    • 4,000 positions: land- or water-based and at airports
    • Run by a licensed operator subject to management contract
  2. Ethics
    • New Executive Inspector General for Gaming
    • Gaming Board oversight of Chicago casino is equal to all other gaming facilities
    • Political contribution ban for gaming licensees
  3. Slots at race tracks
    • 1,200 positions in Cook County/ 900 for non-Cook
    • Racinos must be licensed by Gaming Board
  4. 4 new riverboats/casinos
    • Rockford
    • Danville
    • South suburbs: either Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton or Worth Township
    • Lake County: either Park City, Waukegan or North Chicago
  5. Tax rate reduction
    • Separate tax rate for slots vs. table games
    • New tax rates take effect in the fiscal year following the opening of the Chicago casino, but not before July 1, 2015
  6. Distribution of Revenues
    • Upfront license fees to fund increased headcount at the Gaming Board, remainder to old bills
    • Local shares to host communities
    • A portion of the tax revenue will go to various funds for example a small portion will go to the State Fairgrounds Capitol Improvement fund as well as DHS will get revenues to pay for compulsive gambling treatment
    • The remaining tax revenues will go to the Education Assistance Fund
  7. Minority Participation
    • Contracting goals for all licensees
    • Hiring goals for all licensees
    • Reporting requirements for all licensees
Category: Press Releases

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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