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Senator Stadelman's Weekly Bulletin - April 28, 2017

Stadelman passes legislation to help domestic violence victims leave

SB 57
State Senator Steve Stadelman secured passage of legislation this week allowing domestic violence victims to continue using their cell phone plans after separating from their abusers.
"One of the reasons people stay in abusive relationships is financial dependence," Stadelman said. "This legislation removes the roadblock of having to find money to set up a new phone plan. Anything we can do to make it easier to leave is a positive step."

The measure requires wireless providers to transfer the right to continue to use phone numbers on an account the victim shares with the abuser. Similar legislation was recently enacted in California, Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin.

"As we know, cell phones have become nearly essential in modern life," Stadelman said. "This legislation allows men and women leaving abusive situations to keep their photos, addresses, contacts and emails, and to continue using their phone to seek housing and employment." 

The measure amends current law to allow victims to petition the court for the right to continue use of a phone number as part of a petition for an order of protection. 

Senate Bill 57 passed unanimously in the Senate and will move to the House for consideration.
WATCH VIDEO of Senator Stadelman discussing the legislation.
Stadelman measure to direct federal funds to low-income student passes Senate in unanimous vote
Legislation introduced by State Senator Steve Stadelman that would put tens of millions of federal dollars intended for the education of at-risk students back into local schools, rather than into teacher pension accounts, won Senate approval this week. The measure to reform the use of federal Title 1 money would take effective July 1 and free up as much as $1.6 million for Rockford public schools.
"Right now, school districts are being required to use federal funds that are meant to go to students to pay down the state's pension debt," Stadelman said. "This disproportionately affects at-risk students in the districts that need help the most." 

The legislation allows school districts to pay into federally funded teachers' pensions at the same rate as all other teachers, cutting the districts' contribution rate from 45 percent to 7 percent. Individual teachers' pensions would not be affected. 

Dr. Ehren Jarrett, Rockford Public Schools Superintendent, testified in committee in favor of the legislation last month. "What we're advocating for is to let those federal dollars go to what the teachers and the principals in those schools say they need most, which is support for struggling students," Jarrett said. "This is an opportunity for equity for those schools." 

Title 1 funding provides federal assistance to school districts with high percentages of low-income students to make sure their educational needs are met. Schools can use the money for individual, classroom or building-wide programs so long as they are designed to bring students up to state academic standards. 

Senate Bill 0195 passed unanimously in the Senate and now moves to the House for consideration.
Happiness is yelling bingo!
Residents at Alden Debes Rehabilitation and Health Care in Rockford asked some tough questions when Senator Stadelman spoke to them about state legislative issues, including an update on the budget impasse, but bingo numbers were what they really wanted to hear. Bingo, as Senator Stadelman discovered, bingo has become more high tech. Gone are the old wire cage filled with pinpong balls: The purple box he's holding provided digitally generated numbers with a push of the yellow button. In the foreground, Marjorie and Georgia eagerly await the right call.

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