Bryant E News August 5 2017

Dear Friend,
For the past several weeks, I have used this space to support Governor Rauner’s plan to fix Senate Bill 1, the school funding formula bill, using his amendatory veto powers. This week in Springfield, the Governor followed through on his promise to eliminate provisions that allow a bailout of Chicago school pensions and a block grant for transportation and other services that no other school in Illinois gets.

Now that the bill has been changed by the Governor, the responsibility to ensure that schools open on time and stay open all year falls to Chicago Democrats Mike Madigan and John Cullerton.
The Republican plan to fix the school funding formula is presented in the form of the Governor’s amendatory veto. But, Democrats don’t want to accept our plan. Many are either too beholden to Speaker Madigan’s political agenda, or they truly believe that Chicago deserves a pension bailout, even though Chicago’s public school system has totally mismanaged their pensions by skipping payments for years.

I feel strongly that if Democrats can’t accept the Republican plan to fix the formula, they need to propose their own alternative that bridges the gap between SB 1 and the Governor’s veto. So far they’ve refused to do that. Time is running out, as many Illinois students start back to school either next week or the week after. It is time to accept the Governor’s changes to SB1 and stop using school kids as pawns in this political blame game.

I 57 Safety Efforts

As you may know, Route 57 between Mt. Vernon and Marion has been the scene of more than 30 fatalities caused by vehicle accidents just this year. A new story about a major wreck closing down a section of the interstate is a seemingly weekly occurrence. Awareness is increasing. 
One post that I made to Facebook regarding an accident was viewed more than 11,000 times. The same post was filled with dozens of comments detailing drivers’ frustrations with certain issues, and suggestions for increasing safety. Please know that I am working with my fellow Representatives and Senators from Southern Illinois

I want to take this opportunity to help the State Police with their education program on the “Fatal Four” of driving. These items are known to police to be contributing factors in fatal accidents. Please, as you head out on the highways, pay attention to these aggravating factors and do all you can to improve roadway safety for you and for other drivers.

1.      Speeding– speed is often the number one contributing factor to fatalities in car accidents

2.      Distracted driving – talking on the phone, texting and driving, eating, etc. Anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road contributes to crashes.

3.      Driving under the influence – Just. Don’t. Do. It. You have the choice of driving safely or going to jail. A DUI in Illinois can now cost you more than $10,000 in fines and increased insurance rates.

Occupant restraint
– This goes without saying.  According to Illinois Law all vehicle occupants, regardless of seating position, are required to use a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt. Fines start at $25 and may vary depending on associated court costs and number of violations. The Child Passenger Protection Act was enacted to further protect the most vulnerable occupants of vehicles, young children. The fine for failing to properly restrain a child is $75 for the first offense and $200 for the second offense.
Mt. Vernon Senior Fair
We thoroughly enjoyed Thursday’s Senior Health Fair in Mt. Vernon. Senator Paul Schimpf and I want to thank the more than 3 dozen vendors, and the hundreds of seniors that came out to enjoy the event. Here are some photos. I hope to see a great crowd there again next year!

Associated Firefighters Association Award
Sen. Paul Schimpf and I joined our hosts, the Desoto, Illinois Fire Dept. , and many other southern Illinois fire department on Thursday night for a special awards presentation.
Sen. Schimpf and I were awarded helmets making us Honorary Fire Chiefs! Special thanks to the Illinois Firefighters Association and Margaret Vaughn for visting southern Illinois to make the presentation. I sincerely appreciate this special honor!

Eclipse Preparedness
The Rend Lake Area Tourism Council has put together a fantastic list of items to note to help prepare you for the coming total solar eclipse event. Thousands of people are expected to descend on Southern Illinois to view the eclipse. These tips can help you be ready! Click the picture below for more information. 

Stay Connected!
My office in Mt. Vernon is open Monday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open 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 – Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!