State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) is sponsoring legislation to allow students with disabilities the opportunity to receive physical education credit if they participate in outside athletic programs. 

Under current state law, high school students who participate in interscholastic athletic programs can receive waivers that allow them to skip P.E. classes. But Illinois students who have physical and developmental disabilities can't take advantage of such waivers because the high schools they attend rarely offer athletic programs designed for students with disabilities.

“We can’t treat some students differently than others. If student athletes can get P.E. waivers, students with disabilities who participate in athletic programs should be able to get P.E. waivers, too,” Cunningham said. 

Parents of a student with disabilities brought this idea to the senator because their child participates in sports outside of school, and they believe he should have the same right to a P.E. waiver as other children. 

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.

“I want people to know my door is always open, and I encourage my constituents to bring me ideas for legislation,” Cunningham said.

Category: Press Releases

Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) is sponsoring legislation to provide more funds for the Chicago Police and Fire pensions by using any newly established gaming revenue generated by a Chicago casino.

 Senate Bill 1564 will deposit a minimum of 20% of all proceeds collected by gaming revenue in the City of Chicago into each the Chicago Police and Fire department pension funds. 

“Should the General Assembly grant the City of Chicago the ability to open a casino, a badly needed source of revenue will become available. It would be wise for the city to use a portion of that revenue to address its most pressing financial issue—funding pensions for our public safety workers,” Cunningham said. 

The Chicago Police and Fire pension funds are among the worst funded in the state. In addition to years of government underfunding, the Police and Fire pensions have been negatively impacted because Chicago public safety employees are not part of the workers’ compensation system. As such, the police and fire pension funds are drained of millions of dollars to pay officers and firefighters who have been injured on duty. No other government pension funds are as dramatically affected by disability payouts.

"Because the Police and Fire Funds have this additional drain on their financial resources, they need a new, additional source of revenue to make up the difference," Cunningham said. "Tapping casino revenue is the best potential solution to this underfunding problem."

Category: Press Releases

Governor Pat Quinn spoke to the 98th General Assembly this week in his annual State of the State Address. Senator Bill Cunningham reacted to the 38-minute speech shortly afterward.

Category: Press Releases

Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) is helping to spread awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of men and women here in Illinois. 

“The least I can do is wear red today to show my support for spreading awareness of heart disease,” said Sen. Cunningham. “Not everyone knows that heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women here in Illinois. My hope is that women and men will become more informed of the risk factors of heart disease, and that more lives will be saved because of this effort to increase awareness.”

Legislators and statewide elected officials were asked to wear red today in support of the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement by the Conference of Women Legislators. 

Sen. Cunningham will be wearing a red tie to show his support.

Category: Press Releases

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