Illinois Legislative Session Begins
The Illinois General Assembly kicked off the 2024 regular session on Jan. 15.
Lawmakers spent much of the week in meetings with constituents, other lawmakers, and drafting legislation that they plan to file.
The General Assembly is expected to take up a number of serious issues during the session, including the ongoing immigration crisis and its associated costs. So far, Gov. JB Pritzker has chosen to deal with the crisis through executive action, bypassing the legislature while spending hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.
State Senator Terri Bryant says that Pritzker needs to be more transparent about how much is actually being spent on immigration services, and how much money is being taken away from programs designed to help Illinois citizens.
The regular legislative session resumes at the Capitol on Feb. 6.
Republicans Call on Governor to Reverse Proposed Cuts to Developmentally Disabled Community
Recently, the Pritzker Administration announced plans to make significant cuts to funding for programs that help the developmentally disabled community. The specific cuts would amount to 2.5 million less hours that Direct Support Professionals (DSP) could provide services in group homes, where approximately 10,000 adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) reside. The reduction would total around $87.7 million dollars, affecting 90% of all group home residents.
In response, every member of the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus signed a letter calling on the Governor to rescind these cuts to one of the state’s most vulnerable populations. They also noted that these cuts come at the same time that spending for immigrant services has skyrocketed into the billions.
Senator Bryant says that Gov. Pritzker needs to immediately rescind this proposal that would be devastating to people who are already some of the most underserved. She says that the Governor has already shorted the I/DD community half a billion dollars over the last five years by not implementing recommendations from a report by the independent Guidehouse Company.
Bryant introduces legislation to help safeguard students
State Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) has taken an important step in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Illinois students by filing legislation aimed at preventing inappropriate relationships between teachers and students.
Senate Bill 2823 makes it illegal for any teacher to engage in sexual activity, whether consensual or nonconsensual, with a high school student even if that student is 18 or older.
Senate Bill 2823 builds upon existing Illinois law to further protect students from potential abuse of power. Teachers who violate the proposed law would face a Class 3 felony for their first offense and a Class 2 felony for subsequent offenses or if multiple victims are involved. Additionally, Senate Bill 2823 mandates the inclusion of individuals who violate the law in both the sexual predator and sex offender database, ensuring public awareness and continued monitoring.
The initial idea behind this legislation came from Sen. Bryant’s Youth Advisory Council, which is made up of local high school students throughout the 58th Senate District. During the Senator’s fall Youth Advisory Council meeting, the students proposed the creation of legislation meant to stop inappropriate relationships between teachers and students, regardless the age of the student.
IDNR Seeking Summer Instructors for 2024 Urban Fishing Program Clinics
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is accepting applications now for instructors for 2024 summer fishing clinics through the department’s Urban Fishing Program. The Illinois Urban Fishing Program was established in 1985 to teach people of all ages to fish, to provide better local fishing opportunities, and to offer participants an understanding of and a greater appreciation for natural resources.
Fishing instructors are the department’s boots on the ground at free clinics hosted in communities throughout Illinois. These temporary positions are not to exceed six months, making them perfect for teachers, retirees, students, and others eager to help people learn about fishing skills and ecology. The deadline to apply is approaching quickly. To learn more about the positions, qualifications, and how to apply, visit https://bit.ly/IDNRjobs. Look for positions titled “conservation education representative.”
Bryant relaunches annual Valentines for Seniors program
As Valentine’s Day approaches, State Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) is once again working to uplift the spirits of local senior citizens through her annual “Valentines for Seniors” card drive.
Senator Terri Bryant says that her Valentines for Seniors card drive is an opportunity for our communities to show local seniors that they are loved and cherished.
To help with this goal, Sen. Bryant is asking students, scout groups, churches, and other groups to consider creating homemade cards that will be delivered to nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other long-term care facilities throughout the 58th Senate District.
Cards can be mailed or dropped off from now until February 5th to one of Sen. Bryant’s district offices, which are located at 1032 W. Industrial Park Road in Murphysboro and 2929 Broadway Street, Suite 3 in Mt. Vernon. Cards that are being dropped off in-person can be placed in the marked mailbox inside the offices between normal business hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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