02082017CM0383 RZSPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents may soon have a clearer picture of the state’s finances, thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton.

Cullerton passed House Bill 313, which requires the Illinois Comptroller to include the expenditure amounts and dates of expenditures by state agencies to vendors, the salaries of each state employee and graphical data whenever possible to the comptroller’s online website.

“Illinois taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent,” Cullerton said. “While this online database provides residents with an excellent resource, this legislation will expand the scope of the website to create an even clearer picture of the state’s finances.”

The website currently shows all of the state financial records and reports, with the same up-to-date numbers and information that are used by the Comptroller’s office in carrying out its Constitutional duties, including employee salaries. Cullerton urges Illinois residents to visit https://illinoiscomptroller.gov/financial-data/state-expenditures/employee-salary-database/ to inspect state revenues, expenses, contracts and salaries.

In addition to increasing transparency about individual employee salaries, the legislation will also extend to information about private-sector firms that seek contracts from the state.

“Our goal is to ensure this comprehensive financial database gives taxpayers an up-to-date and reliable method to inspect state revenues and expenditures to improve fiscal transparency in our state,” Cullerton said.

The bipartisan legislation passed the Senate and House with unanimous support and now heads to the governor’s desk for his approval.

05312017CM0529RSSPRINGFIELD – Units of local government may soon be required to disclose municipal pension deals.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed House Bill 303, which would require local government bodies to disclose more information about how certain lump-sum payouts at the end of an employee’s career are used to increase that person’s retirement benefits.

“This open and transparent process will help put a stop to pension boosts that end up costing Illinois taxpayers thousands of dollars,” Cullerton said. “Expanding the disclosure laws to require sick days to be included in the process will help ensure there isn’t any misconduct.”

In 2016, the General Assembly passed the Local Government Wage Increase Transparency Act, which requires disclosure of certain large lump-sum payments such as severance packages and unused vacation.

These payments can have the effect of enhancing an employee’s final average salary, which is used to calculate benefits.

However, payouts for unused sick time are not included under current law. An investigative report released by CBS 2 Chicago revealed a Calumet City School Superintendent improperly claimed he never had taken any sick days in 13 years of employment. The superintendent claimed to have accumulated 532 sick days and 350 vacation days, which equaled $1.7 million. The official was later fired.

“It is plain and simple, Illinois taxpayers should know when and where their money is going,” Cullerton said. “This measure will help remind officials that people are watching. I will not allow taxpayer dollars to be misused and abused.”

House Bill 303 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support and now heads to the governor’s desk for his approval.

tcullerton 053116SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Tom Cullerton is taking action to help eliminate the backlog of evidence sitting unchecked at state forensic labs.

Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed House Joint Resolution 7, which directs the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit of the Illinois State Police Division of Forensic Sciences.

“Forensic evidence can make or break the outcome of a case,” Cullerton said. “These scientific procedures are increasingly important in solving crimes. It is imperative that we speed up this process to ensure that justice is delivered swiftly.”

The resolution directs the Auditor General to examine crime labs’ equipment, procedures, and staffing levels with the goal of identifying and reporting to the General Assembly on factors preventing them from compliance with federal rules on swiftly processing evidence.

The current backlog of biological evidence includes numerous cases of violent crimes, including murders, shootings, and criminal sexual assaults, that end up being delayed for long periods of time. It typically takes at least one year for biological evidence to be processed by the state crime labs.

In today's climate where police and prosecutors are increasingly scrutinized about their procedures, DNA evidence is crucial to the successful prosecution of criminal cases.

“One of the most important players in any type of testimony often isn't a person but the forensic evidence,” Cullerton said. “Our hope is this report will provide the General Assembly with the knowledge to help give the Illinois State Police the necessary tools to drastically improve turnaround and ensure they are in compliance with federal protocols.”

This bipartisan initiative is sponsored by State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in the House.

House Joint Resolution 7 passed the Senate’s State Government Committee with bipartisan support and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

06292017CM0261RSSPRINGFIELD – Companies that profit off the use of their customers’ data would need to disclose precisely how they’re using it under new legislation by State Senator Tom Cullerton.

Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed the Data Transparency and Privacy Act, which requires companies that collect personal information about consumers to identify what type of information is being collected and to what third parties the company is disclosing the consumer's personal information.

“Illinois residents deserve to know what personal information companies are storing and sharing,” Cullerton said. “It’s plain and simple: This is your personal information, and you have the right to know who has access to it.”

The proposed law requires companies that share personal information to a third party to make that information available to consumers, free of charge.

“Our entire financial livelihoods occur online now, from paying our electric bills to buying our groceries,” Cullerton said. “Using the internet should not require you to sacrifice privacy and personal security.”

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office would have the authority to enforce the law.

“It’s vital, as we embrace new technology in our business practices, that state laws evolve with the needs of the people of Illinois,” Cullerton said. “This change will help protect residents’ privacy and security.”

The legislation is House Bill 3358. It passed the Senate’s Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Petition: Do Not Tax Retirement Income

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CONTACT SENATOR CULLERTON

Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

Springfield Office
122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463