Update from Senator Bennett: Sept 29

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New DCFS Audit Shows Alarming Problems Still Persist 

A new report released Tuesday by the Auditor General shows problems within the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) still persist despite several calls from Senate Republicans to overhaul and reform the broken agency.  

The audit, released on September 26th, revealed that the department repeatedly failed to immediately report evidence of abuse and/or accusations of abuse to state’s attorneys and other officials. The audit also specifically called out “misstatements” that it said were “both material and pervasive.” 

Despite numerous promises from the Governor to improve the situation at DCFS, the most recent findings show an increase in the number of areas where the agency was found to be noncompliant to a total of 33, with 23 findings repeated from previous audits. 

On top of numerous scathing audits and reports on DCFS, the agency and its director have also been found in contempt of court multiple times for failing to properly place children. So far, Governor Pritzker has stood by the embattled director of the agency.  

Sen. Bennett says it is long past due for the Governor to act.

Congressional Committee Holds Hearing on Chicago Crime 

Members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee met in Chicago this week to discuss rising crime in the Windy City.  

The committee, hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police, brought congressional members in to hear testimony from crime victims and retired officers including, retired Chicago Police Officer Carlos Yanez Jr., retired Chicago Police Department Lt. John Garrido, and Gianno Caldwell, whose brother was murdered last year.  

Members of the committee heard their testimony and asked questions relating to policies and statistics involving crime, as well as the potential negative impact of the SAFE-T Act on police departments.  Committee Chairman Jim Jordan says the forum was the second stop in a series called “Violent Crime in Major Urban Areas.” During the hearing, he noted that Chicago has led the nation in the number of homicide cases for the past 11 years.  

Applications for Illinois’ Electric Vehicle Rebate Program Open Soon 

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will soon start incentivizing the purchase of electric vehicles with cash.  

Starting November 1st, state residents can earn up to a $4,000 rebate for the purchase of an all-electric vehicle or a $1,500 rebate for the purchase of an all-electric motorcycle.  

Applicants must apply for the rebate within 90-days of a vehicle’s purchase. The next application period will run from November 1, 2023 to January 31, 2024, or until funding runs out.  

For a list of eligibility requirements for the rebate, click here. The application and instructions will also be included on the listed website starting October 18, 2023.  

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $1,291,038,318.56  to  state vendors, including 17,306 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?

With the official welcome of fall on September 23rd, many households are already putting up their Halloween decorations. Typically, that means a lot of pumpkins, and luckily the Land of Lincoln continues to lead the nation in pumpkin production.  

According to the USDA, in 2021 Illinois harvested more than twice as many pumpkin acres as any other top state, at 15,900 acres.  

Illinois is home to two major pumpkin processors, including Nestle Libby in Morton and Seneca Foods in Princeville, Illinois, who produce over 85 percent of canned pumpkins sold across the US.  

The top 10 pumpkin-producing counties in Illinois are Tazewell, Kankakee, Mason, Logan, Will, Marshall, Kane, Pike, Carroll, and Woodford. 

This Week in the 53rd District

State Senator Tom Bennett – Working full-time to represent you

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