SPRINGFIELD – Families in Mount Greenwood, Beverly and Morgan Park will soon see increased enrollment opportunities to the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHAS) because of a measure being signed into law.

“Unique public education experiences should be available to all students in Chicago and throughout Illinois,” State Senator Bill Cunningham said. “The Ag School will now have more seats to offer to more students in our community because of this new law.”

Senate Bill 447, sponsored by Senator Cunningham, would allow for 40 more seats to be opened up to local families and would statutorily authorize the special education cluster that currently exists at the school

CHAS was created by state law more than 20 years ago. During that time, the school has provided special education services. But those programs were not recognized by state law until the introduction of Senate Bill 447.

“We need to ensure that special education services are provided wherever there is a need,” Cunningham said. “Today, we have guaranteed access to those critical services will continue to exist right here in our community.”

The legislation will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Category: Press Releases

052916CM0269ResizeSPRINGFIELD – A bipartisan measure to close a conflict of interest loophole in Illinois statute became law on Tuesday.

“Good government should apply to everyone throughout the state,” said State Senator Bill Cunningham. “This new law will help ensure grant awards aren’t compromised by conflicts of interest.”

The new law bans members of the Illinois Energy Conservation Advisory Council from receiving any state grants for teaching continuing education regarding any rule proposed by the council. The measure received unanimous support in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.

“This is not the end of our work. We need to continue as a state to close these loopholes and this law is just a step in the right direction,” Cunningham said.

The new law is effective immediately.

Category: Press Releases

Senator Cunningham on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD—Local communities will soon have new protections to stop squatters from legally taking possession of abandoned homes or businesses thanks to a measure signed into law this week.

The new law, sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham, was introduced when a squatter attempted to take control of an abandoned building in Beverly by utilizing a loophole in an obscure housing law.

"An individual moved into an abandoned storefront on a commercial street and attempted to claim ownership of the property under a law designed to improve dilapidated housing," Cunningham said. "If alert neighbors hadn't called the police, the scheme might have succeeded in civil court."

Introduced by Cunningham as Senate Bill 1562, the new law requires that local government zoning boards be alerted by the court if any group or individual attempts to claim ownership of property under the Abandoned Housing Rehabilitation Act.

"Local government officials and zoning boards have a much better idea of what's going on with residential and commercial properties than a judge in a downtown courtroom," Cunningham said. "The new law will allow those local officials to intercede in court almost immediately if someone is improperly attempting to take ownership of an abandoned house or place of business."

Category: Press Releases

032013 js 0172resizeSPRINGFIELD – School districts throughout the southwest suburbs and the state, ignored by Illinois’ worst-in-the nation education funding formula, could see much needed resources sent to them soon after the Senate voted to override the governor’s veto of significant education funding reform.

“Our worst-in-the-nation education funding formula needed to go,” Cunningham said. “But it shouldn’t go at the expense of economic development and punishing school districts. I voted to override to provide a new system that will deliver some stability and fairness in funding.”

Senate Bill 1 was vetted by multiple organizations throughout the state. It had the support of superintendents, school boards and teachers.

The estimated overall gain that area school districts would experience under Senate Bill 1 based on the current-year funding levels:

  • Chicago Ridge School District 127-5 — $880,000
  • Community High School District 218 — $409,448
  • Cons High School District 230 — $209,950
  • North Palos School District 117 — $315,924
  • Oak Lawn Community HS District 229 — $135,174
  • Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 — $146,644
  • Worth School District 127 — $193,129
Category: Press Releases

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