CunninghamSPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham is pushing for a measure that would ensure local police departments are held accountable when it comes to sexual assault kits.

The legislation, Senate Bill 2221, would require that if the local police department did not follow up on the positive match, then the proper state’s attorney would be notified by the state police. It would also require that an inventory be taken both at the state police and the local police departments of all DNA kits in their possession.

“It is a travesty that many cases that have potential DNA matches are not being followed up on,” Cunningham said. “These are cases that could have closure and we need to be taking steps to ensuring criminals are being caught and that they have their day in court.”

According to the Cook County Sherriff’s Office, several law enforcement agencies still have untested sexual assault kits or cases that have not yet been pursued even though a potential DNA match has been found.

Recently, the Village of Robbins was alerted to a positive match on a DNA test kit yet the police department did not follow up with that positive match.

“We need to ensure that we know what happens to these cases and that action is being taken on them. We should hold local law enforcement agencies accountable to protect and serve their communities,” Cunningham said. “That is what this legislation does. It ensures that evidence is being utilized and criminals are being brought to justice.”

The Senate Criminal Law committee passed the legislation without objection. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

TazewellCoResizeSPRINGFIELD—Students looking to get into agriculture could be without the necessary educational opportunities to spring them forward in the industry.

In the most recent budget proposal from the governor’s office, agriculture education in Illinois is set to be cut completely out of the budget. In past years, agriculture education has received nearly $2 million.

Senator Bill Cunningham has proposed legislation that puts a priority on agriculture education instead of slashing it to zero.

“We need to be prioritizing the industries that make Illinois great. Agriculture is one of those industries,” said Senator Cunningham. “We need to continue to invest in agriculture education, not just end it.”

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated that in the coming years there will be about 60,000 new ag-related jobs. Yet only about sixty-one percent will be filled with qualified graduates.

Senator Cunningham proposed Senate Bill 2975, which would also put a priority on training and preparing the next generation of agriculture education teachers. The legislation recently was assigned to the Senate Education Committee.

“I have a high school in my district that emphasizes the importance of agriculture to students in Chicago. Now is not the time to quit emphasizing that importance,” Cunningham said.

Last fiscal year the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences received $12,000 from the state for ag education. Now the governor is proposing the school absorbs the loss of funding, while Chicago Public Schools is set to lose $78 million in state support this fiscal year.

Category: Press Releases

040114 CM 0304csResizeSPRINGFIELD—On Wednesday, Senator Bill Cunningham urged his colleagues on the Higher Education Committee to pass legislation that would reform the financial practices surrounding how higher education administration is compensated.

The reforms were launched after a report revealed inappropriate financial practices occurring at institutions of higher education, including the recent scandal at the College of DuPage.

“Our institutions of higher learning throughout Illinois have continued to be plagued by controversies involving excessive compensation for college administrators, which only cost the taxpayers and the students more money,” Cunningham said. “We need to be protecting our students with reforms that put transparency and accountability into college administrations.”

The legislative package would institute multiple new reforms on both state universities and community colleges. It would require more transparency in the hiring process for executives by requiring the contract to be disclosed in a public meeting. There is also legislation that would ban the use of taxpayer and tuition dollars to fund bonuses that go to college presidents. Another bill will forbid the use of car and housing allowances being from added to one’s salary to ensure a higher pension.

“Illinois has several excellent institutions of higher learning with superb faculty,” Cunningham said. “It is unfortunate that we have to focus on the negative issues. But we need to learn from the mistakes of the past to create a system of higher education that is above board in all of its financial practices.”

Cunningham’s reform package, Senate Bills 2155-2159 and 2174, passed out of committee and is scheduled to be voted on later this spring.

Category: Press Releases

031913br0205resizeSPRINGFIELD—Senator Bill Cunningham voted on Wednesday to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2043, which would fund MAP grants and send money to community colleges.

“This administration made promises to more than 125,000 students that they would receive the MAP grant. What we did over a month ago was give the governor the opportunity to keep those promises,” said Senator Cunningham, “But the governor’s veto concerns me. There seems to be no intention to keep those promises and that will only deal irreparable damage to our integrity as a state.”

“We also have to consider community colleges in this situation. Many of them have approved or will be approving faculty layoffs. These are faculty members that have an impact in the classroom and yet this governor has once again said no to ensuring that the classrooms are properly staffed.”

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

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Springfield Office:
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