Senator Luechtefeld and Rep. Bryant Call for Compromise on Higher Ed, Immediate Return to Springfield

Carbondale, IL – During a Friday morning media tour, State Sen. David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) and State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) expressed their willingness to compromise on the issue of higher education funding and urged House Democrats to end their vacation and get back to work.

WSIL TV News 3 Reporter Matthew Nordin speaks to Sen. Luechtefeld
and Rep. Bryant during an interview Friday morning. 

“This week, SIU officials released information on the potential for 180 layoffs and millions in programmatic cuts for the Carbondale, Edwardsville and School of Medicine campuses,” Luechtefeld said. “Compromise is needed to fix the financial crisis affecting higher education; however, it is hard to achieve compromise when House Speaker Michael Madigan and his legislative majority take a month off to vacation and focus on reelection while Southern Illinois University, John A. Logan and other institutions face historic cuts and layoffs.”

Luechtefeld and Bryant discussed multiple bills they are each sponsoring, including House Bill 4539, which would fund MAP grants, community colleges and four-year universities.  However, unlike the Democrat proposal on MAP funding (SB 2043) or the newly proposed $3.7 billion spending plan (HB 2990), Republicans are calling for a funding stream tied to any proposal that advances.  

Sen. Luechtefeld and Rep. Bryant took
questions from Rae Daniel of KFVS-12
in the Carterville studio on Friday.

The legislators were critical of the fact the House adjourned until the month of April despite a legitimate motion made by Republicans to stay in session. At the conclusion of House session on March 3, Republicans made a motion to bring the legislature back the following day.  The motion, despite being completely in line with the House Rules, was ruled out of order with Democrat leadership scurrying quickly from the chamber to prevent debate on the issue.

“When the majority Democrats passed yet another grossly unbalanced budget bill and decided to leave for vacation, I voted to stay and keep working to fix this crisis and get a budget,” Rep. Bryant said.

 “There’s a picture on my Facebook page of House Republicans standing in the House Chamber, ready to work. At that moment, Democrats were high tailing it out of town to campaign and vacation.”

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who determines the session schedule, put in place a four-week gap in the month of March for what many assume is political reasons.  The House is not set to be back in session until April 4th.