CunninghamSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham passed a bill through the Senate on Friday, which aims to provide mental health support and education for law enforcement officers who are facing post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We are not passing any new mandate on law enforcement,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the Southwest Suburbs. “We are creating a supportive resource that officers can utilize for specific traumatic situations and for PTSD."

The Statewide PTSD Mental Health Coordinator will be appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall serve for a term of four years. The coordinator will be responsible for providing resources, information and assistance to law enforcement officers who may be experiencing PTSD symptoms or other mental health issues related to their work.

47% of law enforcement officers screen positive for PTSD using the Primary Care Screen, which is ten times greater than the general population. The bill is not intended to mandate that local police departments implement a plan to address PTSD or a set of requirements for how to operate mental health and wellness plans within their department, but rather to provide a supportive resource that departments and individual officers can turn to when seeking help.

"We can’t just talk about mental health – we have to put our money where our mouth is and give law enforcement access to more resources,” said Cunningham.

Senate Bill 1543 passed the Senate and awaits further action in the House.

Category: Press Releases

CunninghamSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham is leading legislation that requires sports wagering apps to display a pop-up message directing individuals to a website with resources for gambling addiction assistance after every 10 wagers made.

"Illinois has been a leader in the regulation of sports betting, and we need to ensure that we are also addressing the potential harms associated with gambling addiction," said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the Southwest Suburbs. "By requiring sports wagering apps to display a pop-up message with resources for gambling addiction assistance, we can help individuals who may be struggling with problem gambling access the help they need."

The Sports Wagering Act and Illinois Administrative Code currently require a sportsbook to display a statement on its portal, internet website, or computer or mobile application regarding obtaining assistance with gambling problems. However, Senate Bill 1508 goes a step further to ensure that individuals who may be struggling with problem gambling have additional access to resources and support.

The pop-up message would direct individuals to a website with information about the voluntary self-exclusion program established by the Illinois Gaming Board and the Department of Lottery. The program enables individuals to prohibit themselves from establishing a sports wagering account.

"Problem gambling can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families, and we need to do everything we can to prevent and address it," said Cunningham. "Illinois will continue to be a leader in the modern sports gambling industry and we need to make sure that those who need help won’t have to ask how to find it.”

Senate Bill 1508 passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and now awaits a vote before the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases

CunninghamSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham advanced a measure through the Senate Executive Committee which aims to provide mental health support and education for law enforcement officers who are facing post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We owe it to our law enforcement officers to provide them with the support and resources they need to manage their mental health, especially in light of the demanding nature of their work,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the Southwest Suburbs. “This legislation creates a supportive resource for officers seeking help after specific traumatic situations and for PTSD."

The Statewide PTSD Mental Health Coordinator will be appointed by the governor and serve for a term of four years. The coordinator will be responsible for providing resources, information, and assistance to law enforcement officers who may be experiencing PTSD symptoms or other mental health issues related to their work.

Senate Bill 1543 is an initiative of the Illinois Fire and Police Commissioners Association, who have found that 47% of law enforcement officers screen positive for PTSD, which is ten times greater than the general population. The bill is not intended to mandate that local police departments implement a plan to address PTSD or a set of requirements for how to operate mental health and wellness plans within their department, but rather to provide a supportive resource that departments and individual officers can turn to when seeking help.

"This is about helping our law enforcement officers manage their mental health, so they can continue to serve and protect our communities effectively,” said Cunningham.

Senate Bill 1543 advanced through the Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday and awaits further action in the Senate.

Category: Press Releases

CunninghamSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham advanced a measure through the Senate Executive Committee to outlaw unregulated electronic sweepstakes machines.

"Sweepstakes machines are not subject to the same licensing and regulation requirements as video gaming terminals, which can lead to illegal gambling activities and harm consumers,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the Southwest Suburbs. “This bill will help protect Illinoisans from the negative effects of unregulated electronic sweepstakes machines."

Sweepstakes games are a type of game where customers put money into machines, usually kiosks, and the machine prints a coupon which can be used to purchase goods at a particular website. In addition to the coupon, the customer is allowed credits to play slot-like games on the machine, and if the customer wins, any winnings he or she receives based on playing the machine are printed on a receipt which may be redeemed at the bar or machine location for cash.

Unregulated sweepstakes machines have recently been tied to organized crime and corruption. This regulatory measure will move Illinois in a direction away from the breach of public trust committed by bad actors.

Under current Illinois law, all video game terminals must be licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board before placement or operation. However, there is nothing in statute to prohibit the use of a game device only if the game device is used in an activity that is not gambling. A violation amounts to a Class 4 felony.

“As Illinois looks to be a model for the rest of the country on video gaming and sports wagering regulation, we must ensure that protections are in place for those who are following the rules and serious repercussions are handed down to those who abuse the system,” said Cunningham.

Category: Press Releases

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 18th District
309-J Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5145
(217) 782-2115 FAX
 
District Offices:
10400 South Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643
(773) 445-8128
(773) 672-5143 FAX