News came fast and furious out of Springfield this week. In order to get you up to date on everything that happened, this week’s e-news update will focus on three key points.
|Gov. Rauner and legislative leaders met for an historic
public meeting this week. More meetings on the budget
are planned in the coming weeks.
First, Governor Rauner and the 4 legislative leaders, (House Speaker Madigan, Minority Leader Durkin, Senate President Cullerton and Minority Leader Radogno) met for an historic public meeting on Tuesday. The meeting was the first of its kind and unique in that all 5 leaders made public statements detailing their positions on the major issues facing Illinois. After their public statements, the leaders went into a private meeting for several hours.
Though a final solution was not reached during the meeting, I am encouraged that more meetings are planned.
Our leaders need to be talking to each other. The people of our state have suffered because of hyper-partisanship and the lack of willingness of our leaders to come together and compromise to reach a budget solution. Getting the people in charge of ultimately solving our budget impasse in the same room was a positive first step.
Building on the cooperative spirit of the leaders’ meeting, on Wednesday the House took action on a bill to provide more than $3 billion in funding for various critical services. The bill covers spending from dozens of special funds that are dedicated to specific issues. SB 2039 passed the House with near unanimous support. Below is a list of items covered under the bill:
Low Income Energy Assistance
The LIHEAP program provides low income families and seniors with assistance paying for energy costs to heat their homes. Uncertainty has swirled around this program, and with the cold winter months approaching it was necessary that we take action to help with this critical area. SB 2039 frees up $165,000,000 to assist families and seniors with their energy bills. If you or someone you know would like to explore signing up for assistance through LIHEAP, please visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s LIHEAP website by clicking here
Lottery Winners to be Paid
Many of you have probably heard that lottery ticket winners in Illinois lucky enough to win more than $600 on a single ticket were unable collect their winnings until a budget was passed. As part of SB 2039, money to pay lottery ticket winners was made available. This is just one element of the bill, but probably the most famous and glaring example of the far reaching effects of our budget impasse.
Emergency Service/911 Funding
911 service is funded by taxes you pay on your land line and cell phone bills. Administrators of 911 service across Illinois have been feeling the pinch of no state budget during this past six months of gridlock. SB 2039 gives legal authority to the State to distribute 911 money, and will ensure that this critical public safety service continues uninterrupted.
Motor Fuel Tax Disbursements
Every time you fill your gas tank, you pay taxes that go to the Motor Fuel Tax fund. That money is supposed to be returned to townships, counties, and local governments to maintain roads and bridges.
Our office has received figures showing how much revenue was generated in 2014 for the Motor Fuel Tax for local municipalities, which give an idea of how much revenue was generated this year: Carbondale nearly $650,000, Murphysboro nearly $200,000 and Mt. Vernon nearly $380,000. I also represent dozens more municipal and township governments that generate millions more in motor fuel tax in Washington, Perry, Union, Jackson, and Jefferson Counties.
More funding items
SB 2039 will also provide funding to pay vendors that provide food to our prisons, service to the Anna Veteran’s Home, the Special Olympics, road salt and supplies to keep our roads safe this winter, veterans, and victims of domestic violence.
Though it should not have taken this long to reach agreement on distributing these special funds, it is expected that the Senate will accept these changes and that Governor Rauner will sign the legislation.
|Wounded warriors duck hunt in Jonesboro|
DUCK HUNTING WITH OUR
WOUNDED WARRIORS IN JONESBOROOn Thursday, I was honored to travel to the Grassy Hunt Club in Jonesboro to join several wounded warriors on their annual duck hunt.
Thanks to all those that put on this special annual event and thank you to our heroes for your service to our country!
To stay up to date on action in Springfield, please stay tuned to www.repbryant.com. You can sign up for my e-newsletter there and sent correspondence to my office.
You can reach my office in Mt. Vernon at 618-242-8115 and my office in Murphysboro at 618-684-1100. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you!