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School funding reform updates unveiled (VIDEO)

manar-sb1-2-3-15The statewide effort to transform Illinois school funding is continuing at the Capitol.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), Rep. Will Davis (D-Hazel Crest) and Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) joined supporters to announce updates to last year’s need-based reform proposal and called for increased overall school funding during a press conference Tuesday.

Manar introduced the School Funding Reform Act of 2015 as an amendment to Senate Bill 1. It replaces Senate Bill 16 from last year and the previous General Assembly. The announcement follows the Illinois State Board of Education’s call for a 10.7 percent increase in school spending last month.

Illinois should ban alcohol powder: Silverstein

Silverstein-alcpowderSPRINGFIELD – A recently introduced proposal is aimed at banning powdered alcohol, a new product that last year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved but then reversed its approval days later.

State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) introduced the proposed ban.

“When the FDA reneges on an approval, it’s a huge warning sign. Alcohol powder could lead to more cases of alcohol poisoning, abuse by minors and its potential use in date rape is alarming,” Silverstein said.

School funding formula top priority for Manar, Senate Dems

manar-hutchinson-edState Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) continues his efforts to overhaul the state's outdated public school funding system. He's traveled the state over the past year listening to supporters and critics in an effort to put together the best plan for all Illinois students. That new plan centers on the state providing funding to schools based on their needs.

To reflect education's standing as the top priority for Senate Democrats, the first piece of legislation in the Senate -- Senate Bill 1 -- will carry Manar's reform efforts.

"Everybody ... knows our formula's broken. That sets us on a path to fixing it," Manar said in a recent interview with the Associated Press.

Former NBC’s “The Voice” contestant sings “National Anthem” at Illinois Senate Inauguration (VIDEO)

Michael-LynchMichael Lynch may be best known for his time on NBC’s” The Voice,” this week, he sang the “National Anthem” at the Illinois Senate’s 99th Inauguration.

Lynch is a Chicago native whose bilingual singing ability has wowed audiences for some time now, including Christina Aguilera, his coach on “The Voice”. Lynch’s interpretation of Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailamos” is one of the highlights from season 5.

Unfortunately, Lynch could not stay for the entire ceremony. He had to make his way to the United Center in Chicago to sing the “National Anthem” at the Wizards vs. Bulls game that same night.