01132021CM0190CHAMPAIGN – In search of answers for out-of-work residents in central Illinois and across the state, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) will question representatives from the Illinois Department of Employment Security regarding unemployment insurance issues during the pandemic at the Senate Labor Committee’s subject matter hearing Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 10 a.m.

The unprecedented flood of claims in the last year, when more than 1 million Illinoisans lost their jobs, overwhelmed the department.

“Unemployment cases have been, without a doubt, the number one issue my office has been handling since March,” said Bennett, a member of the Senate Labor Committee. “I hope we can learn more about the problems the agency is facing and what legislators can do to allow them to successfully help folks navigating the unemployment system.”

The public and lawmakers continue to express concerns about claimants being able to reach and receive assistance from the agency with their unemployment claims, as well as to get their payments. Illinois is also one of many states dealing with a wave of fraudulent claims, and the agency is seeking to implement tougher security measures to ensure benefits are only paid to verified recipients.

Since the pandemic began, Bennett has solicited input from colleagues and constituents about specific and ongoing issues to help shape long-term solutions. This hearing will give members serving on the Labor Committee an opportunity to ask for details from IDES officials.

WHAT: Senate Labor Committee

WHO: Senator Scott Bennett, Labor Committee members and representatives of IDES

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: To view virtual committee proceedings, visit https://ilga.gov/senateaudvid.asp and click "Watch Live Virtual Committee Video." The link will become available when proceedings begin.  Blue Room Stream, a subscription-based service, will also stream the hearing.

DCFS scholar 012921

CHAMPAIGN – The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is accepting applications for the 2021 DCFS Scholarship Program, and State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) encourages eligible students to apply.

“Scholarships help reduce the financial burden of a college education, and it’s vital that we provide opportunities for students to have the means to be successful,” Bennett said. “Eligible students should take advantage of this opportunity so that they can focus on their studies instead of stressing about how they will pay for school.”

Scholarship recipients receive up to five consecutive years of tuition and academic fee waivers to be used at participating Illinois state community colleges and universities, a monthly grant of $1,235 to offset other expenses, and a medical card. On average, the department receives 200 application packets each year, and over 1,400 scholarships have been awarded since the program began in 1971.

The DCFS Scholarship Program is open to youth who have an open DCFS case, whose cases were closed through adoption or guardianship, or who aged out of care at 18 or older. Youth who are at least 16 years old and not yet 21 on March 31 may apply.

Applications are available at any DCFS regional office and online by clicking here. For more information or questions, call 217-557-2689.

05092019CW1352CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) will serve as chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee in the 102nd General Assembly.

“I’m honored to have been appointed as chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee,” Bennett said. “Higher education in all forms is vital for the workforce and economy, and I’m eager to serve in this new role.”

The Senate Higher Education Committee primarily deals with legislation and policy that will affect both state and private institutions.

Bennett is a longtime advocate for higher education institutions and has worked on legislation to provide opportunities for all students to find a path towards a secondary education. The district Bennett represents includes the University of Illinois, Parkland College and Danville Area Community College, which has given him a deep understanding of the needs of Illinois schools, staff and students, as well as their surrounding communities. 

As committee chair, Bennett aims to create an equitable, accessible and innovative higher education ecosystem across Illinois that ensures students and communities thrive.

Bennett has previously served as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate Criminal Law Committee.

Valentines for Seniors

CHAMPAIGN – During a time when many older adults could use a little extra love, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) invites people of all ages to get creative and donate homemade or store-bought valentines to local long-term care facilities in Champaign County.

“Last summer your cards made a huge difference to older adults in our community, who have been isolated from their family and loved ones during the pandemic,” Bennett said. “I encourage you to take a few minutes to create a Valentine’s Day card to spread love to our older neighbors.”

Bennett is encouraging churches, schools and community members in Champaign County to write Valentine’s Day cards, which can be dropped off or mailed to his district office. Once all the cards have been collected, they will be delivered to various long-term care facilities in Champaign.

The collection of Valentine’s Day cards will run through Wednesday, Feb. 10. Those wishing to participate can drop off cards in the collection box outside Bennett’s Champaign office or mail them to:

State Senator Scott Bennett
45 E. University, Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820

For those choosing to deliver cards in person, Bennett reminds people to maintain social distancing and to wear a mask when entering the building.

With questions or for additional information, contact Sen. Bennett’s office at 217-355-5252.

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Office Info

Champaign Office:
45 E. University Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820
P: (217) 355-5252

Danville Office:
201 N. Vermilion St. Suite 323
Danville, IL 61832
P: (217) 442-5252

Springfield Office:
311C State House
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-2507