Monday, November 6th, 2023 | 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Coffee and Conversations with Senator Tom Bennett
Building relationships, one cup at a time.
Old Route 66 Family Restaurant
105 S Old Rte 66, Dwight, IL 60420
Traveling Office Hours, we are coming to you! Click here for the weekly traveling office hours.
Illinois becomes first state in nation to eliminate cash bail
Illinois’ SAFE-T Act has been highly criticized by the public, law enforcement, and state’s attorneys since it was forced through the Legislature on the final day of the 2021 lame-duck session.
The “no cash bail” provisions of the law are set to take effect statewide on Sept. 18, making Illinois the first state in the nation to do away with the system completely. Effective Monday, September 18, Illinois will replace its current cash bail system with a new set of strict standards that prosecutors must meet to be able to detain certain offenders.
Sen. Bennett says he opposed the SAFE-T Act when it passed the General Assembly because the law fails to provide judges enough discretion to be able to keep the public safe. He also notes that the new law fails to address the financial impacts that the elimination of cash bail will have on counties and victims’ services.
Eliminating cash bail, without identifying another funding source for counties, will impact local courts’ ability to function. The “no cash bail” provision completely ignores the financial hit on local courts systems that are now going to have to make up that revenue on their own. Leaving a gap in funding for local courts and critical victims’ services could soon force counties to reduce services, raise taxes or both.
Sen. Bennett says lawmakers must address this issue during the upcoming fall veto session to make sure Illinois’ local court systems have the financial resources they need and that victims can continue to receive the support they deserve.
Nominate outstanding school personnel
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) wants to know more about outstanding educators, administrators, or school professionals.
ISBE will be accepting applications until Oct. 15 for the 2024 Those Who Excel & Teacher of the Year Awards.
Awards are presented in seven categories: classroom teachers, early career educators (teachers 1-4 years), school administrators, student support personnel, educational service personnel, community volunteers, and teams.
ISP encourages traffic safety during harvest season
National Farm Safety and Health Week begins September 17, and the Illinois State Police (ISP) is reminding motorists and farmers about traffic safety during the fall harvest season, which typically begins in early September and can last into November.
As farmers are traveling between fields, ISP is asking motorists and farmers to share the road to help reduce crashes involving tractors, implements, and other farm equipment.
ISP is encouraging motorists to
• Allow extra travel time during harvest season.
• Don’t pass until it’s safe and legal to do so.
• Use extra caution around tractors and slow-moving vehicles.
• Adjust to a greater following distance to increase sight lines when following behind wide, slow-moving vehicles.
How much do we owe?
As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $1,485,748,342.96 to state vendors, including 30,163 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?
This past week was National Suicide Prevention Week, and individuals in crisis can now call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at any time to connect with a trained crisis counselor. As of July 16, 2022, all calls and text messages to “988” route to a 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline call center, which provides free and confidential support for people in distress 24 hours per day and seven days per week. You can learn more about the 988 hotline here.
This Week in the 53rd District
State Senator Tom Bennett – Working full-time to represent you