welding student 020722SPRINGFIELD – A new law backed by State Senator Scott Bennett will give students more career options following high school graduation.

“Most high school students are funneled into two- or four-year universities,” said Bennett (D-Champaign). “Little thought is given to other paths toward adulthood, and students aren’t always fully aware of their options.”

The new law ensures students have more options for careers to pursue by requiring school counseling services to include Career and Technical Education to help students consider secondary education plans following high school.

Earlier this year, Bennett celebrated the importance of career and technical programs across the state by supporting an effort to designate the month of February as Career Technical Education Month in Illinois.

“College is a wonderful experience, but it should not be promoted at the expense of trade schools and skilled labor jobs,” said Bennett. “This law will make students aware of other career opportunities beyond graduation.”

The law, originally Senate Bill 3990, was signed into law Friday.

BennettCreditStudentBooksSPRINGFIELD – In an effort to save students money, Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Scott Bennett spearheaded a new law to make course materials more accessible.

“In the fight to make college more affordable and accessible for Illinois families, we can’t overlook the rising costs of textbooks,” said Bennett (D-Champaign). “It’s become apparent that traditional publishers are not providing students the materials they need at a cost they can afford so we have to consider cost-saving alternatives.”

Under the law, previously known as House Bill 4724, students will receive digital access to their online course materials at a significantly reduced cost. These materials can be viewed on a computer, laptop or smartphone on the first day of class.

Bennett worked closely with the University of Illinois on the legislation to ensure students are set up for success by offering maximum choice in selecting the learning resources that are right for them at the lowest market price.

“With this new law, higher education institutions will put course materials in students’ hands the right way and at the right price,” said Bennett.

The law was signed by the governor Friday and takes effect immediately.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) supported a new law that curbs organized retail theft and holds ringleaders accountable.

“When an organized retail crime is committed, our communities are harmed in ways that extend beyond lost revenue and stolen products,” Bennett said. “This new law gives our state the opportunity to hold people responsible by enacting one of the most comprehensive crime-curbing efforts in the country.”

In partnership with Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the office of the attorney general, the law defines Organized Retail Crime as a specific criminal charge and provides prosecutors with additional resources to hold perpetrators accountable. The law codifies ORC as the theft of retail merchandise with intent to sell.

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Tractor farming Agriculture 1URBANA – In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, State Senator Scott Bennett is reminding farmers and ranchers experiencing stress to take advantage of the Farm Family Resource Initiative hotline.

“It’s important for farmers to break the stigma of internalizing their stress and understand they can ask for help,” said State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “The FFRI program has already proven its success over the past couple years and has given farmers the opportunity to talk about their struggles to avoid negative consequences.”

Initiated through the legislative leadership of Senator Bennett, the Farm Family Resource Initiative started as a joint pilot program of SIU School of Medicine and the Illinois Department of Agriculture in 2019.

The SIU School of Medicine’s Center for Rural Health and Social Services Development led the effort to build a statewide network of support and resources for Illinois farm families, starting in six counties. Two years later, the program then expanded to all 102 counties thanks to funding from a United States Department of Agriculture grant.

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