AquiferSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced legislation this week to strengthen protections for the Mahomet Aquifer, the primary water source for Central Illinois.

Bennett sponsored Senate Bill 2027, which would direct the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to identify potential hazards to groundwater and focus further study on those that pose a hazard to surface water and groundwater resources.

It would also establish the Pekin Metro Landfill Pilot Project to allow for the identification of potential and current threats to the water quality of the Mahomet Aquifer from the landfill.

“After the detrimental impacts of the Peoples Gas Leak, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect this vital resource,” Bennett said. “This bill will help us ensure that 500,000 people in Central Illinois know the water coming out of their faucets is clean and safe to drink.”

This proposal comes from the legislative recommendations of the Mahomet Aquifer Task Force, established last year to help maintain clean water and determine any action to protect the natural resource.

SB 2027 was approved by the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee and is scheduled for consideration in the Senate.

ILAAward100918PEORIA – The Illinois Library Association presented State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) with the Robert R. McClarren Legislative Development Award at their annual conference on Tuesday.

The award is given to a worthy recipient from the Illinois library community who has contributed significantly to legislative development in Illinois.

“Serving a broad constituency, Bennett has balanced political ideology with the needs and opinions of his constituents,” said the Illinois Library Association’s release. “In his short time in the legislature, he has shown himself to be a strong supporter of education and library issues.”

Bennett was a Trustee on the Urbana Free Library board from December 2010 through September 2014, and more recently was the primary sponsor of legislation on local library appropriations.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Illinois Library Association,” Bennett said. “Libraries are essential to our communities and provide access to resources and information that give people vast opportunities to learn, make decisions and expand their imagination.”

The 2018 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference Awards Luncheon was held October 9 in Peoria.

CHAMPAIGN – A bill to help end the long-standing practice of “offshoring” governor staff salaries to state agencies to mask the governor’s budget was signed into law this week, thanks to State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign).

Bennett co-sponsored the Truth in Hiring Act to prohibit the governor from using state agency appropriations to pay for governor’s office employees for the current administration and all going forward.

Bennett says that it’s past time for these deceptive accounting practices to end. Nearly 60 percent of employees currently working for the governor’s office are paid by state agencies for funds intended for priorities such as public safety, economic development and child protection.

“The people of Illinois foot the bill for government and they deserve to know how and on whom their tax dollars are being spent,” Bennett said. “I am glad that the governor’s office is now committing to being open and honest about his office’s expenses.”  

House Bill 5121 goes into effect immediately.

05022018CM0563SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) issued the following statement on today’s budget vote in the Illinois Senate:

“As a legislative body, it is our responsibility to enable our youth to have a bright future in this state and to provide for the most vulnerable in our society. Today’s budget vote shows that the Illinois Senate is able to work across party lines to achieve much-needed compromise.

“The balanced budget agreement that the Senate passed sets responsible funding levels that allow us to reprioritize spending to tackle some our state’s most critical issues. In this budget, we commit to allowing social service providers to keep their doors open, increasing funding for public universities and community colleges, maintaining MAP grant funding and even creating a new tuition grant program for Illinois students.

“It’s a plan that will provide fiscal stability and certainty for families, businesses, social service providers and schools and universities in Champaign and Vermilion County.

“I’ve always believed that our state gets stronger when we empower working families, care for the most vulnerable and provide opportunities through education. I am proud to have voted for these investments today in order to move our state forward.”

The budget package now moves to the House for consideration.

 
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