This week, SIU President Randy Dunn detailed proposed cuts to the budget for the Southern Illinois University system. The SIU Carbondale campus is situated within the 115th district, and is a major research and economic engine for Southern Illinois.
Like you, I am troubled at the numbers outlined in President Dunn’s proposal. The budget impasse is having a severe impact on higher education as a whole in the State of Illinois. I have been meeting with President Dunn and Chancellor Colwell on a regular basis, both in Springfield and at various events in the district to identify the needs of the university system.
When this session began, I requested to be made a member of the House Higher Education Committee. That request was granted and I am now a standing member of the Committee. I am using my time on the Higher Ed committee to work to ensure healthy growth and proper maintenance of all three of SIU’s campuses and to increase awareness among my colleagues of the dire situation facing the University.
More must be done to protect Southern Illinois’ flagship university. Every week, I am continuing to work to bring my colleagues together to fashion a balanced budget that will grow our economy and create jobs.
SIU President Dunn and FFA Students Meet at the Capitol
Speaking of President Dunn, a group of Future Farmers of America students from Mt. Vernon High School met with Mr. Dunn and myself in the Capitol rotunda this week. The students were accompanied by former Ag Teacher of the Year, Mr. John Kabat, Sponsor of the Mt. Vernon High School FFA. Thanks to President Dunn and Mr. Kabat for joining us for pictures!
Special Olympics of Southern Illinois Visits Springfield
I had a terrific time meeting with Special Olympians visiting Springfield this week. Thank you for visiting your Capitol!
Poshard Foundation Recognizes April as Child Abuse Prevention Month
As you may know, April is recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Earlier this morning, I was proud to join Glenn and Jo Poshard at John A Logan College on Friday for a special event to help raise awareness. I want to thank Jo and Glenn Poshard and all that contribute to the Poshard Foundation to help combat the scourge of child abuse in our communities.
To learn how you can help the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, please click here.
House Gives Unanimous Support to DuQuoin State Fair Funding Bill
On Thursday evening, I was proud to earn unanimous support for a bipartisan measure intended to help protect funding for maintenance and activities at the DuQuoin State Fair. HB 3274 requires any income derived from the sale of advertising at the DuQuoin State Fair to be deposited into the Illinois State Fair Fund rather than the Agricultural Premium Fund as is the current practice.
The change in law will help protect scarce financial resources at a time when the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds is in need of significant repairs and upgrades.
Thousands of families visit the DuQuoin State Fair every year, and it is a source of pride for me, the city of DuQuoin, and Southern Illinoisans in general. My bill will ensure that any advertising dollars spent at the DuQuoin State Fair come back to Southern Illinois to help fix up the fairgrounds and keep the fair safe for generations to come.
This bill accompanies Republican efforts last year to provide further funding avenues for the State’s two fairgrounds. In 2016, I sponsored legislation to establish a foundation to allow private fundraising to aid in repairs to the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. HB 4990 was bottled up in Speaker Madigan’s Rules Committee and never allowed a hearing.
Enhanced DUI Penalty Bill Passes House
Also this week, I successfully passed legislation to allow enhanced penalties for impaired drivers involved in vehicle-property collisions through the Illinois House. The need for this change in the law comes from a case in Mt. Vernon where several families’ apartments were destroyed and much of what they owned was destroyed in a fire caused by a drunken driving accident.
HB 2606 would allow prosecutors to charge offenders with aggravated DUI when catastrophic damage to property occurs as a result of a collision between a vehicle and a business or residential property The minimum threshold for damages under the bill would be $50,000. The bill is now waiting consideration in the Senate.
My office in Mt. Vernon is staffed Monday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is staffed Monday through Thursday, each from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. You can find me on Facebook to keep up with my travels throughout the district. You can also contact me directly through the Contact Form on my website at www.repbryant.com – Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!