Thursday, September 14, 2023 | 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Coffee and Conversations with Senator Tom Bennett
Building relationships, one cup at a time.
Uncle Vait’s Plazza
905 W Main St, Lexington, IL 61753Office Hours: Click here for the weekly office hours.
DMV Facility Changes Take Effect on September 1
On Friday, September 1, all Secretary of State Driver Services Facilities (DMV) are adopting new hours of operations, while many are moving to appointment-only for select services.
As of September 1, all DMVs will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Only 16 facilities will be open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Affected DMVs utilized by people in the 53rd district with Saturday hours include Peoria, Morris, Bloomington, Bradley, Pekin, Champaign.
Additionally, appointments are now required for driver services at many DMVs, including the issuance or renewal of drivers’ licenses/State ID cards, REAL IDs, and in-car driving tests. Vehicle-related services, such as titles, registrations, or license plate renewals, do not require an appointment. Affected DMVs utilized by people in the 53rd district that require appointments for driver facilities include Bloomington, Champaign, and Peoria. Appointments can be made by visiting ILSOS.gov, or by calling (844) 817-4649.
Madigan Ally Found Guilty of Perjury, Obstruction of Justice
On August 24, Tim Mapes, often referred to as the gatekeeper to former House Speaker Mike Madigan, was found guilty in Federal Court of lying to a federal grand jury and obstructing the federal investigation into his former boss.
Jurors deliberated for five hours before bringing forth a “guilty on all charges” verdict. Mapes could face up to 25 years in prison for his crimes and will be sentenced in January. Madigan goes on trial for a long list of charges that include racketeering, bribery, wire fraud, and attempted extortion in April 2024.
Senator Bennett continues to advocate and push for measures that bring about meaningful ethics reform to root out political corruption in Illinois and says this case is just another example of why reforms are needed.
Mental Health Grant Program for Rural Farmers Expanded
Following the great success of a six-county pilot program in Fiscal Year 2023, a state grant program that provides funding for mental health services for farmers has now been expanded to all 102 counties in Illinois. Through the Farm Family Resource Initiative (FFRI), farmers and farm families can access a telehealth helpline and access six free telehealth mental health sessions. The Farmer Assistance Helpline is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 1-833-FARM-SOS.
The program is also funding up to 20 grants of $1,000 each to support Illinois FFA chapters that put local initiatives in place that encourage access and increase awareness of mental health resources and overall personal wellness. Schools will be able to apply for these grants in the fall of 2023.
The funding for the program was obtained from a grant application to the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
How much do we owe?
As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $1,542,861,413.53 to state vendors, including 16,743 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?
In the north part of Iroquois County there is the Village of Iroquois. The last street on the south end of the village is called Iroquois. Then, not too far from here is a river. Yes, you guessed it! It is called Iroquois River. This past week Senator Bennett was on a street, in a village, by a river, in a county all with the same name – Iroquois!
This Week in the 53rd District
State Senator Tom Bennett – Working full-time to represent you