Update from Senator Bennett: July 7

Bennett-Sponsored Law Encourages Motorcycle Operators to Take a Two-Day Safety Course

Young prospective motorcycle riders now have another reason to consider taking a motorcycle safety class, due to legislation sponsored by State Senator Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City), that was recently signed into law. Bennett’s legislation allows riders under 18 the option of taking Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) comprehensive motorcycle safety course and exam in lieu of the basic driving and written tests conducted at DMV offices.

Senate Bill 2582, filed by Bennett, gives younger riders the same options as those over 18. The safety lessons and background education this course provides aim to help increase the number of better motorcycle operators in the long term.

IDOT’s two-day Basic Rider Course (BRC)provides approximately 20 hours of classroom and on-motorcycle instruction. All students who successfully complete the course receive a BRC completion card that will waive the SOS’s motorcycle written and driving tests.

Under prior law however, riders under 18 were allowed to take the IDOT class, but they were still required to take the written and driving tests at a local SOS office as well, giving them less incentive to enroll in the comprehensive IDOT classes.

Bennett Legislation Providing Access to Oxygen in Schools Signed into Law

State Senator Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) continues his work to help prioritize the safety of students, including students with disabilities. Legislation sponsored by Bennett will help improve access to critical and potentially life-saving oxygen for students at special education facilities.

House Bill 3613, sponsored by Bennett, will allow school districts that provide special educational facilities for children with disabilities maintain a supply of undesignated oxygen tanks in a secure location that is accessible before, during, and after school. The legislation was recently signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker.

“Some students with certain disabilities may need to have oxygen administered to them, especially in case of an emergency,” said Bennett. “This new law aims to be another step toward addressing the unique needs and potential risks faced by individuals with disabilities.”

New Legislation Honors Senator Scott Bennett’s Efforts to Support the Illinois ABLE Program

In recognition of the contributions that the late Senator Scott Bennett made to the Illinois Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program, State Senator Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) helped pass legislation that allows the program to be marketed as the Senator Scott Bennett ABLE Program.

“The Illinois ABLE Program was very near and dear to Scott’s heart in so many ways and it’s an honor to be able to recognize his commitment to it.” said Senator Bennett.

Senator Scott Bennett was the chief sponsor of the legislation establishing the Illinois ABLE Program in 2016.

The Illinois ABLE program makes it possible for people with disabilities and their families to save and invest for expenses related to living with a disability without losing, or losing access to, federal means-tested benefits such as SSI, SSDI, and Medicaid.

To honor and recognize the hard work of Senator Scott Bennett, the program can now be officially marketed as the Senator Scott Bennett ABLE Program.

HAFHR Program Applications Open

Through July 31, the Homeowner Assistance Fund Home Repair Program (HAFHR) is accepting applications. This program awards grants to nonprofits and governmental entities to make home repair grants to homeowners negatively impacted or housing insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and unaddressed home repairs.

In total, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has awarded $25 million in funding for this program. The grants received will be between $1 million to $5 million, and the organizations awarded will be responsible for then awarding home repair grants of up to $60,000 per eligible homeowner.

The application process can be completed online, and applications are due by Monday, July 31 at 3 p.m. If potential applicants have any questions, the IHDA is hosting an Application Workshop Webinar on July 13 at 10 a.m., which you can register online. Please keep in mind that this application is not for homeowners, as the program will not be open for the public until sometime in 2024.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $508,537,856.45 to  state vendors, including 2,295 pending vouchers. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $139 billion. At the same time last year, the state’s accounts payable stood at a little less than $2 billion.

Did You Know?

Coming up on Monday, July 10th, Uncle Bob’s Homemade Ice Cream will be celebrating their 43rd anniversary. Uncle Bob’s Homemade Ice Cream opened in 1980 at the Heart of the Illinois Fair. Uncle Bob’s Homemade Ice Cream works with local dairies, bakeries, and the best suppliers to ensure their product is fresh and homemade. Uncle Bob’s has close to 80 different flavor options to choose from. Senator Bennett just had the opportunity to stop at Uncle Bob’s permanent location in Eureka, IL and thought the ice cream was delicious! Congratulations Uncle Bob’s Homemade Ice Cream on your 43 years of service!

Upcoming Event:

Friday, July 28, 2023 | 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Coffee and Conversations with Senator Tom Bennett

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Coffee will be provided!

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