Bertino Tarrant2016cPLAINFIELD— State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is slated to join the seventh class of the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs’ Edgar Fellows Program, a group of 40 emerging leaders from across Illinois.

Bertino-Tarrant was chosen from a field of 168 nominees to for this bipartisan program. The group of fellows includes elected officials from all levels of government, leaders of non-profit organizations and individuals who are making their mark in the business world.

“We have a great responsibility as legislators, community members and business leaders to come together in service to our community,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I look forward to working and hearing from people with different backgrounds, paths and problems and take those lessons to be a better leader for the 49th Senate District.”   

The Edgar Fellows week includes an intense executive training program designed and hosted by Former Gov. Jim Edgar and the UI Government and Public Affairs. The fellows will listen to and engage with policy experts, experienced practitioners and each other in discussions of issues such as economic development, health care, education and intergovernmental cooperation.

Bertino-Tarrant will be joining a network of Will County Officials who have participated in the program, including State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) and State Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet).  

“My colleagues and I understand the importance of working together to address the issues we are facing at the local and state level,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Senator McGuire and Representative Manley exemplify the values of compromise and leadership and I am excited to join them with this prestigious honor.”

Click here for a full list of the 2018 Edgars Fellows.

20180314 KS 3900 RSPLAINFIELD — A new law co-sponsored by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) will put an end to misleading accounting practices in the governor’s office.

House Bill 5121, which was signed into law Tuesday, ends the practice of “offshoring” the governor’s payroll costs within state agencies – a practice that depletes funds for vital state programs.

“Taxpayers deserve to know how state dollars are being spent,” Bertino-Tarrant said, “This new commonsense law promotes transparency and responsible accounting to ensure state dollars are spent wisely and responsibly.”

This measure was passed in response to reports that nearly 60 percent of employees currently working for the governor’s office are paid by state agencies with funds intended for priorities such as economic development, public safety and child protection.

Offshoring has been utilized by governors of both parties for years to make it appear their office budgets are smaller than they actually are.

Examples of offshoring include paying the governor’s education advisor $250,000 from the Department of Human Services budget or a deputy chief of staff $140,000 from the Illinois State Police budget.

The most recent payroll data shows only 44 of 102 employees in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office are paid from the governor’s budget. The rest – 58 staffers – are hidden in other agencies’ payrolls.

If the governor’s entire staff was accurately reported, his office budget would come in at more than $10 million, instead of the $4.9 million budgeted for the current fiscal year.

“No one wins when the government uses deceptive accounting practices,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new law will ensure all governors play fair with taxpayer’s trust regardless of political party.”

House Bill 5121 passed with bipartisan support and goes into effect immediately.

Bertino Tarrant2016cPLAINFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) issued the following statement in response to WBEZ report that hundreds of Chicago public schools collectively need more than $3 billion in repairs, include structural maintenance for leaky roofs, unreliable boilers and decaying windows that have been made worse throughout the years as critical needs have been deferred:

“The management of the CPS system creates a quandary. The City of Chicago continues to push for local control but fails to prove that their unique school board leadership is a true representation of its community’s wants and needs.

“There is a balance that the administration needs to remember when making decisions that addresses the need for new technology contrasted to the fundamental health and safety needs of our children.  The priority should remain that our children spend time learning in structurally safe buildings that promote an excellent learning environment.

“If local leadership cannot make decisions in the best interest of our students, it may be time for the state to step in.”

The article can be found here.

05262017AM3381RSSPRINGFIELD – To make college more affordable, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is working to increase the availability of dual-credit classes in Illinois.

Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, Senate Bill 3190, requires public universities and community colleges to work with local high schools to grant dual credit to a student who completes an accredited course.

“While the cost of college continues to escalate nationwide, dual credit provides a great economic benefit for families and students by empowering students to accumulate college credit while still in high school,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “As the mother of a sophomore in high school, I know what parents are going through. Like any other parent, I want my children to graduate college full of opportunities, not burdened with student loans.”

Dual credit, which allows students to enroll in postsecondary coursework while still enrolled in high school, is a promising approach to improving academic outcomes for students.

Bertino-Tarrant said it helps prepare students for college coursework while helping them meet general high school requirements.

Research has shown that student participation in dual enrollment curriculum often leads to improved academic outcomes, especially for students from low-income backgrounds as well as first generation college students. Students who enroll in dual-credit courses are more likely to get better grades in high school and pursue a secondary education.

Under this bipartisan proposal, students are allowed to receive up to 60 hours of dual credit. Bertino-Tarrant believes this is a step toward making college more affordable by allowing students to meet general requirements at little to no cost.

“We need to continue to explore ways to make college more affordable and help students graduate without mountains of debt,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

Senate Bill 3190 passed the Senate’s education committee with bipartisan support and now heads to the full senate for consideration.

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