16951186580 e56150c930CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced that the Governor has issued a statewide harvest season emergency today to assist farmers and grain handlers who are grappling with the fallout of weather-related delays.

The declaration will allow farmers to apply to the Illinois Department of Transportation to get a free permit to haul 10 percent over their gross vehicle weight and axle weight limits on state highways. The aim is to help farmers get their product, when harvested, to storage faster.

“Illinois farmers work tremendously hard all year-round,” Bennett said. “This will allow us to help them transport their products efficiently. I encourage all farmers to apply for all necessary permits to allow them to move their crops in a timely manner.”

The emergency declaration is in effect from Monday, Sept. 10, to Dec. 31, 2018. The hope is that crops are collected before any major unexpected weather might complicate the process, as well.

More information is available at https://truckpermits.dot.illinois.gov/.

1Parkland js 2712CHAMPAIGN – More than $215,000 in funding has been released to Parkland College to update and repair campus buildings, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Friday.

“Parkland College is an integral part of the community here in Champaign,” Bennett said. “This investment will help Parkland continue to provide a safe and secure environment for students and faculty.”

The capital funds will go to the construction of an addition to the student services center and other improvements throughout campus. The two projects, totaling $215,000, will maintain and update infrastructure.

“Nothing is more important that the health and safety for our students, and I will continue to advocate for funding so that we can provide the learning environments they deserve,” Bennett said. “I’m thrilled that Parkland received these funds from the State and can help maintain an educational environment that will help students achieve the best opportunity for success.”

The General Assembly approved the Fiscal Year 2019 capital budget in May. It includes more than $100 million to address the needs of higher education facilities to complete ongoing construction projects and begin new ones.

4827388834 33014313d0SPRINGFIELD – People with certain criminal convictions on their record will be banned from working at a carnival, amusement park or fair under a new law passed by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign).

Senate Bill 3240 will increase fines for amusement park companies for failing to check the criminal history of new hires. Right now, only ride operators must undergo background checks.

“This is a matter of public safety,” Bennett said. “If a carnival company is bringing someone into our community to interact with our children, it doesn’t matter whether or not they are operating a ride or a carnival game; they should have a background check to make sure they are not a criminal.”

In 2014, Blayne Benefield was killed in Farmer City by two brothers who were employees of Big H Amusements, formerly known as A & A Amusements. While the amusement ride company was required to perform background checks on employees that operate rides, it did not have to do so for other employees.

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