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

Senator Bill Cunningham was pleased to welcome representatives of the Oak Lawn and South Suburban park districts to the Capitol yesterday for their annual Parks Day. Representatives of more than 50 park districts from throughout the state came to Springfield to advocate for programs to maintain and expand parks, natural areas, forest preserves, and other recreational facilities in the state.





Category: Press Releases

Cunningham-041113State Senator Bill Cunningham’s (D-Chicago) legislation to allow students with disabilities to receive physical education credit if they participate in outside athletic programs has passed the Illinois Senate.         

Currently, many student-athletes in Illinois do not qualify for waivers simply because their schools do not offer sports programs that accommodate students with disabilities.  Senate Bill 2157 would correct this problem by giving local school boards the ability to grant P.E. waivers to disabled students who are engaged in athletic activities outside of school. 

Under current state law, high school students who participate in interscholastic athletic programs can receive waivers that allow them to skip P.E. classes.

“If a student with a disability participates in an athletic program, he should have the opportunity to receive a P.E. waiver just like his peers who play basketball and football,” Cunningham said. 

In a past education committee, Adam Woodworth, a parent from the senator’s district testified with his son, Tyler, a student at Lockport High School.  Tyler participates in sled hockey, an athletic program for students with disabilities outside of school.  Adam wants the ability for Tyler to receive a P.E. waiver for his participation.

If Cunningham's bill becomes law, students with disabilities who participate in athletic programs outside of school could apply to their local school board for a P.E. waiver. A number of sports programs could qualify for the waiver, including wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, the Special Olympics and many others. 

SB 2157 passed the Senate and now awaits a vote by the full House.

Category: Press Releases

UPDATE 8.22.13: Cunningham’s legislation targeting "gang funerals" signed into law

CHICAGO – Thanks to a new law sponsored by Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago), Chicago streets will now be a little safer. It will allow police to impound the cars of drivers who dangerously swerve in and out of traffic waving firearms and flashing gang signs during so-called “gang funerals.”

"Gang funerals create major safety concerns for area residents and all of Chicago area.” Cunningham said. “We must give our police the tools they need to keep our streets safe.” 

In 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel began pushing for a stronger law enforcement presence at funerals of gang members. In the past, these funerals have ended with offenders throwing loaded weapons out of cars, dangerous high-speed car chases, and even shots fired. Senate Bill 2154 will continue to crackdown on the gang members that choose to abuse these funerals. 

This legislation was a joint effort with Alderman Matthew O’Shea. Cunningham and O’Shea met with area residents whose neighborhoods have been plagued by gang funerals for years. O’Shea, who represents Chicago’s 19th Ward, testified on behalf of the legislation before the General Assembly.



UPDATE 4.18.13: SB2154 was approved by the Senate on April 17 and now awaits action in the House. Senator Cunningham recorded this video to further explain the need for and intent of this measure.



4-11-13  -  In an effort to punish motorists who drive recklessly in so-called "gang funerals," State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) won the approval of a senate panel Wednesday for Senate Bill 2154. The legislation would allow police to impound the cars of drivers who swerve in and out of traffic or allow passengers to hang out of the windows and doors of their vehicle during funeral processions.

"Reckless driving during funeral processions of known gang members is a growing problem on the South Side of Chicago and in the Southwest Suburbs," Cunningham said. "Too many times the streets of my district have been endangered by funeral processions in which gang members recklessly swerve their cars into oncoming traffic while passengers hang out of car windows and flash gang signs at pedestrians. This behavior not only creates a threat to public safety, it is highly disrespectful to the families of the deceased."

Senate Bill 2154 authorizes municipalities to impound vehicles used in reckless driving offenses if the car is part of a funeral or if the vehicle interferes with a funeral procession. Cunningham presented the bill to the Senate Transportation Committee and was joined by Alderman Matthew O'Shea of Chicago's 19th Ward, who testified in favor of the bill. O'Shea told the committee that the legislation was developed after a series of meetings with residents and police officers in his community, which has been plagued by gang funerals in recent years. 

SB 2154 now awaits a vote by the full Senate. 

Category: Press Releases

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