021418 KS 9889SPRINGFIELD – To protect some of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) is seeking higher criminal penalties for felonious scams that target the elderly and disabled.

Bertino-Tarrant advanced Senate Bill 69, which would institute tougher penalties on Class 2 felony offenses against an elderly person or a person with a disability.

“There are scammers actively cheating our seniors every day, partly because they are lucrative while being comparatively less risky than other forms of crime,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “To discourage this growing epidemic, we must put laws in place to protect the financial well-being of Illinois’ seniors and people with disabilities.”

This measure expands the Class 2 felony offense of theft by deception over $5,000 to include offenses committed against a person with a disability.

It also clarifies that consent cannot be used as a defense in a case of financial exploitation of an elderly person or person with a disability if the accused knew or should have known that the victim lacked the ability to consent.

Nearly 5 million older Americans are financially exploited. While scammers are to blame, more than half of cases involve exploitation by a family member. A 2014 study by Mark Lachs, co-chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital found that almost 60 percent of cases involve a perpetrator who is a family member.

Lachs also reported that elder abuse victims—including those who suffer financial exploitation—die at a rate three times faster than those who haven’t been abused.

“This measure would give law enforcement officials further resources to prosecute those attempting to exploit elderly Illinoisans,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “These higher restrictions will help make scammers think twice before attempting to manipulate seniors and people with disabilities.”

Senate Bill 69 passed the Senate’s Committee on Criminal Law with bipartisan support and is scheduled for consideration before the full Senate.

MinookaPrimaryCenter8.28.18 RSSPRINGFIELD – Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Chair of the Senate’s Education Committee, said Gov. JB Pritzker’s first budget proposal does right by Illinois schoolchildren, with more than the mandated education funding outlined in the monumental evidence-based funding formula.

Pritzker’s proposal outlines $375 million for schools across Illinois, $25 million more than required.

“The state is meeting its promise to ensure our schools receive predictable and stable state dollars to help our school administrations make sound financial decisions that are in the best interests of our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

The governor’s budget plan outlines greater investment in early childhood education by proposing a $100 million increase for Early Childhood Block Grants and a $3.8 million boast for preschool “Birth through 5 Grant.”

Bertino-Tarrant, who has worked to ensure the state invests in career and technical education, said she approves of the proposed $5 million new investment in career and technical education.

“Illinois businesses are ready to hire,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Enhancing job training programs will expand the pool of solid job candidates to ensure these businesses are hiring from within our communities.”

During her tenure in the state, Bertino-Tarrant has strived to promote policies that ensure Illinois’ children who would have worked hard to attend the state’s public universities and community colleges have the financial means to be successful.

The governor’s proposal allocates $35 million to the AIM HIGH grant program, which provides merit-based awards to undergraduate students. The program is designed to encourage Illinois students to attend an in-state university, improve college affordability and reduce student loan debt.

“We need to take action to ensure our children graduate college with opportunities, not mountains of debt,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The governor’s budget has prioritized keeping our best and brightest in Illinois.”

Bertino-Tarrant is looking forward to budget discussions this spring that commit to educational opportunities for children across the state.

 

03012017CM0381WebSPRINGFIELD – Illinois seniors may soon no longer need to reapply for Senior Citizens Homestead Exemptions, thanks to State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) introduced Senate Bill 140, which would eliminate the need for senior citizens to reapply for an exemption once the assessor or chief county assessment officers grants a Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption.

“This new measure will cut redundant bureaucratic hurdles our seniors need to repeat every year,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Once you are an approved for an exemption, it is already verified that the senior meets the age and legal requirements.”

Senate Bill 140 provides that all senior citizens in Illinois only need to apply once for an exemption.

This year as of January, Cook County reported there were more than 270,000 applications and approximately 80,000 seniors were mailed notices to remind them to renew their exemptions.

“This measure will not only save our seniors an extra headache, but also reduce paper and save vital taxpayer dollars,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Streamlining the process for Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption will cut the red tape and allow seniors to see savings without needless paperwork.”

The Senior Homestead exemption is an annual tax write off available for residential property where the occupant is at least 65 years of age.

Senate Bill 140 is assigned to the Senate’s Revenue Committee. Bertino-Tarrant expects to have a hearing in the coming weeks.

Bertino Tarrant2016cPLAINFIELD— To help put a stop to political waste, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) filed legislation today that would prohibit appointed short-term legislators from receiving taxpayer-funded stipends.

Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, Senate Bill 112, changes the General Assembly Compensation Act so that any member of the General Assembly who is appointed to the House of Representatives or Senate after May 31 of an even-numbered year may not receive additional salary for service as a chairman or minority spokesperson.

“Doling out frivolous taxpayer funded stipends is a blatant abuse of the public’s trust,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We cannot afford to waste a single dime in our state’s budget. Tax dollars should be directed toward funding vital programs, not lining the pockets of political insiders.”

Bertino-Tarrant was astounded at news that a recent appointment made to fill a short-term gap for an outgoing senator not only received base pay, but also an extra stipend to serve on a committee that had no meetings scheduled.

“It’s absolutely crucial that the General Assembly work in a bipartisan manner to end waste,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to root out all forms of abuse and send a message to those attempting to take advantage of Illinois’ taxpayers.”

Bertino-Tarrant hopes to have a hearing in the coming weeks on Senate Bill 112.

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