08152019CM0240SPRINGFIELD – The governor has signed into law two measures sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham that would help prevent suicide and promote mental wellness among first responders.

 “Suicide and mental health are among the biggest issues facing first responders today,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “These pieces of legislation are major steps in combating these problems and showing first responders that help is available and it’s okay to ask for it.”

House Bill 2766, which Cunningham cosponsored, creates the First Responders Suicide Prevention Act. The act includes provisions to implement training for individuals tasked with providing peer support counseling to colleagues, requires police and fire departments to develop disciplinary measures for those who violate confidentiality agreements and creates a civil cause of action for employees whose employment status is adversely affected by information obtained during a counseling session.

“Peer support counseling is a critical tool in the fight against first responder suicide and I’m proud to support measures that ensure it remains a viable and confidential option for those who need it,” said Cunningham. “No one understands the issues these men and women face more than their peers and by fostering the development of peer counseling programs, we’re taking steps to save lives.”

House Bill 2767, on which Cunningham was the primary sponsor, requires the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board to develop a course addressing the issues of officer wellness and suicide prevention. The course will be included in the training requirements police officers must complete before graduating the police academy and would also need to be completed every three years after graduation.

The training will be required to include recognizing signs of work-related cumulative stress, issues that may lead to suicide and solutions for intervention with peer support resources.  

“By educating officers, we’re hoping to eliminate the stigma that mental health challenges are a sign of weakness and somehow disqualify officers from being able to do their jobs properly,” Cunningham said.

House Bill 2766 will take effect immediately. House Bill 2767 will take effect January 1, 2020.

Category: Press Releases

Cunningham FloorSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham’s legislation that would prohibit diesel trucks from idling excessively in residential areas was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker last week.

Senate Bill 1256 will prevent diesel trucks over 8,000 pounds from idling for more than a total of ten minutes in an hour if the vehicle is within 200 feet of a residential area in Cook County.

Cunningham credited Cook County residents living near a trucking yard for bringing the issue to his attention. The residents identified persistent noise and air quality issues with the trucking yard, located near the corner 119th St. and Central Park Ave. in Merrionette Park, that needed to be addressed. 

“People in my district are tired of dealing with endless noise and air pollution in their neighborhoods,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This legislation is a direct response to their concerns and I’m proud to have brought some relief on this issue to my constituents.”

The measure will take effect January 1, 2020.

Category: Press Releases

Cunningham 2017 PresserCHICAGO RIDGE – The Chicago Ridge Public Library is the recipient of a $7,642 mentoring grant from the Illinois secretary of state, State Senator Bill Cunningham announced.

The grant was awarded through the FY20 Project Next Generation program, which is a mentoring program administered through Illinois public libraries. Mentors work with middle and high school students to help them develop skills needed to use technology and find success through project-based learning. Mentors also help with developing life skills, such as effective communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.

Chicago Ridge is one of 29 public libraries in the state to receive the grant.

“This program provides students with the tools that they need to succeed both in and out of the classroom,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “Mentorship can make an incredible differences in the lives of young people and I want to thank Jesse White for his commitment to serving at-risk students in the south suburbs.”

In all, the secretary of state awarded more than $464,000 in Project Next Generation grants statewide. The money is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Grants are awarded to public libraries that serve culturally diverse, low-income and underserved populations.

“I am committed to improving the lives of at-risk youth in Illinois,” said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. “I established this innovative program when I first became secretary of state to give students an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the latest technological tools at their local library.”

For more information, visit https://ilsendems.co/2GtOQzP.

Category: Press Releases

05302019CW0092SPRINGFIELD – Communities in the 18th Senate District and across the state will see new investment in their public infrastructure thanks to a new statewide construction plan approved by the General Assembly this spring and signed into law by the Gov. JB Pritzker today.

The package will release over $45 billion in funding to improve Illinois’ roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other public infrastructure.

“We’re committing ourselves to making Illinois’ public infrastructure system one of the best in the country,” said State Senator Bill Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “We’ve been kicking the can down the road on this issue for far too long and it’s time to step up and make a serious investment to better the lives of Illinois residents.”

The construction plan is the state’s first in a decade, and since the last major infusion of infrastructure funding in 2009, ratings groups have increasingly raised red flags about the state of Illinois’ infrastructure.

“We’ve seen firsthand how severe our infrastructure problems have gotten right here in the Chicago area area with the recent closure of the Lakeshore Drive bridge, which delayed thousands of commuters for hours,” Cunningham said. “This new funding is long overdue and I’m glad to see that we’re making a serious commitment to investing in our infrastructure.”

The construction plan also includes the creation of the Illinois Works Task Force, which will help recruit and train individuals to work on the newly funded construction projects. The program is expected to bring thousands of new jobs to the state.

“We’re not just rebuilding our state, we’re putting Illinoisans to work doing it,” Cunningham said. “This package represents an investment in both our infrastructure and the people of our state.”

Category: Press Releases

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