I want to express my sincere thanks for all of you that have taken the time to write, call, email, and fax your opinion to my offices. I pledge to remember your opinions when weighing difficult decisions before the House.
For pictures, videos, and articles documenting my activities in and out of Springfield, please visit my web page www.repbryant.com. During the legislative break, I will be conducting traveling office hours and legislative updates in several locations. Read below for more details and stay tuned to my web page and to your local newspaper and radio stations for more information.
A Look Back
Last week was indeed a busy one in Springfield. In addition to House floor action, I was excited to pass my first and second pieces of legislation through House committees.
HB 3430 bill would require the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to provide a letter of explanation to businesses that are denied a permit to begin drilling for oil or natural gas. Currently, after a 20 day time period passes, applications are automatically denied and no notification as to why is provided. This law would change that. It now moves to the full House for consideration.
Also last week, I was pleased to receive unanimous Committee support for HB 3797. The bill proposes to lower the vehicle title transfer fee to help widows and widowers more easily afford the transfer of a car title upon the passing their spouse. The idea for this bill came as a result of a request from a constituent who experienced the hardship after losing her husband.
Right now, this title transfer costs the surviving spouse $95. When we add an amendment to this legislation a littler later in the process, that fee will drop down to $15, making it much more affordable.
To follow the progress of these, and the other legislation that I’m co-sponsoring, please visit www.ilga.gov.
Pizza and Politics at SIU Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute
|Speaking to the crowd at Pizza and Politics at SIU|
Last Monday, I took questions and spoke at length about my legislative agenda during the latest edition of Pizza and Politics at SIU Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy 0Institute.
Pizza and Politics is a part of the Leadership and Civic Service Series. The event features local elected officials talking with students, voters, and University officials about the issues of the day. This month’s topic was “Women’s History Month.”
I am always very happy to meet face to face with my constituents, hear their concerns, and take their questions. I am also proud to have been a part of Pizza and Politics, especially in celebration of Women’s History Month.
|I was glad to see Dr. Lacey and her grandson at the event!|
There are many young and politically active students at SIU. I think that’s wonderful. I encouraged the students at the event to pursue their dreams, find their niche, take that extra class, and to never let anyone or anything discourage them from achieving success. To view media coverage of the event, please follow these links.
WSIL-TV Coverage & Southern Illinoisan Coverage
A Look Ahead
This coming Friday is the deadline for substantive bills to receive approval from Committees in the House. Several major pieces of legislation will begin to take shape and move this week. One of the major bills that will be considered is a proposal to fix a $1.6 billion gap in the FY 15 budget.
Several constituents have reached out to me regarding the massive budget deficit. I share the concern expressed by so many about Illinois’ fiscal condition and its real impact on working families. Folks, it is a mess.
When former Governor Quinn and Senate and House leaders passed the FY 15 budget last May, they did so without taking the expiration of the “temporary” income tax hike into consideration. This led agencies that rely on state government funding to spend money as if they had enough revenue for 12 months, when in reality they only had 6 months’ worth of money.
Now we are facing many major crises. To name just a few, childcare subsidies are short $300 million with four months left to go in this fiscal year. Working families, and children and their care providers are facing the prospect of layoffs and service cuts. I cannot abide these cuts and will work tirelessly to find funding for childcare services.
Other areas of the budget that are in need of an immediate fix include funding for court reporters’ paychecks and funding to pay front line prison staff. There are already news stories detailing layoffs of court reporters. Without a fix for these issues, our courts will not run, county jails will be overcrowded, and our prisons will be understaffed and under served, causing dangerous situations for staff and inmates alike.
It is imperative that we find a fix for these issues as soon as possible. The news out of Springfield will not be good for many that rely on the state of Illinois for funding. However, there are essential services that must be maintained in the interests of working families and public safety. As the situation develops in Springfield, I will continue to keep you updated.
Traveling Office Hours in Anna:
On Wednesday, April 1, my staff and I will be available for satellite office hours at the Shawnee College Extension Center in Anna from 1:00 – 3:30 PM. To set up a time for an appointment, please call my office at (618) 242-8115. I hope to see you there!
COUNCIL OF WOMEN LEGISLATORS: The Conference of Women Legislators is currently taking applications for COWL Scholarship pursuing an undergraduate degree. The COWL Scholarship seeks to maximize educational opportunities for all income levels by offering tuition assistance to female students 25 and older.
Applications are due by April 15, 2015 and must include an application form, two reference letters, your personal background, transcripts and other notarized documents. Full details and application forms are available at www.cowill.com. For more information, interested applicants can also email COWL at email@example.com.
SARA ELIZABETH STUBBLEFIELD FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP: The family and friends of Sara Elizabeth Stubblefield have established a foundation for the purpose of creating a scholarship to honor her life and her advocacy that “not another moment will be lost to seizures”. The scholarship is a one-year, $2000 award. To qualify, applicants must be under a physician’s care for epilepsy (also called seizure disorder), be a college-bound or vocational/technical school bound high school senior, and be a resident of the state of Illinois.
For more information or to find application information for the Sara Elizabeth Stubblefield Foundation Scholarship please visit:
Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois – www.efgreatersil.org or the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago – www.epilepsychicago.org.