carnivalCHAMPAIGN—Starting Jan. 1, 2019, Illinois law will require carnival companies to conduct criminal background checks of all employees.

The new law, sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), will increase fines for amusement park companies that fail to check the criminal history of new hires. Right now, only ride operators must undergo background checks.

“These additional background check requirements will increase 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.”

The measure was a response to a 2014 tragedy in Farmer City, when Blayne Benefield was killed 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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5567478a008e9.imageDANVILLE – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) today renewed his commitment to ensuring that any state gaming expansion include a facility in Danville, not just Chicago as suggested by its mayor, Rahm Emmanuel.

“A Chicago casino cannot be a stand-alone proposal,” Bennett said. “Vermilion county is ideal ground for a facility to create jobs, fund local schools and become a draw for patrons from across the state border. I remain determined to including our region in a final gaming plan.” 

In an address to the Chicago City Council last Wednesday, Emanuel disclosed that he has been talking with top legislative negotiators to craft a 2019 plan to include a casino for the south side of Chicago.

Under Emanuel’s plan, the revenue generated from the facility would help pay down the city’s pension debt that has accumulated after decades of underfunding. Bennett said gaming revenue from a Vermilion county casino should be dedicated to funding local schools, not retirement fixes for Chicago.

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Charlie DukesGEORGETOWN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is partnering with the Georgetown American Legion to honor World War II veteran Charlie Dukes this week as a part of Illinois’ bicentennial celebration.

Dukes is one of the recipients of the Bicentennial HONOR 200, which honors the work of 200 veterans who continue to make extraordinary contributions to the people of Illinois. The event will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Georgetown American Legion Dornblaser Post 203 at 106 E West St.

“Our country and our state are great because of the sacrifices our veterans have made,” Bennett said. “Charlie’s courage, sacrifice and devotion to duty played a significant role during World War II, and I am truly honored to serve as his State Senator. I can’t thank him enough for the personal sacrifices he has made to preserve our freedom and to keep us safe.”

Recipients of the Bicentennial HONOR 200 award were recognized at the state’s official 200th birthday celebration at the United Center in Chicago on Monday, Dec. 3, but due to difficulties with traveling, Dukes could not attend.

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CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) has been named to governor-elect JB Pritzker’s Growing our Agricultural Economy Committee.

Bennett, the vice chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, will be joining the 22-member transition team chaired by Colleen Callahan, a former rural development state director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and John Sullivan, a former state senator from Rushville.  

“Agribusiness is the backbone of our state economy and it is crucial that we do everything we can to support the hard work of Illinois’ farmers,” Bennett said. “I am looking forward to bringing my experience to help advance policies that will help agriculture and rural communities in Illinois thrive.”

Bennett grew up in Gibson City, where five generations of his family worked on their family farm. As vice chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, he has been a tireless advocate for protecting local farmers, natural resources, and the environment.

The committee will focus on investing in farm-to-market infrastructure and expanding access to capital for family farmers, defending agricultural education and growing rural communities in downstate Illinois.


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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