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The Majority Report 9/17/18 - Jobs, schools and the future of energy in Illinois


Chicago State receiving $14M for deferred upgrades

Sen. Elgie Sims, Jr.

The state is investing nearly $14 million in long overdue renovations at Chicago State University, State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. announced.

“The Rauner administration has not made higher education a priority, so during this last round of budget negotiations, I’m glad I was finally able to successfully fight to invest in CSU,” Sims (D-Chicago) said. “The future of our students is one of my highest priorities, and I will continue to fight to make CSU, along with all of our colleges and universities, the world-class institutions we all know them to be.”

Public universities and colleges suffered as a result of Illinois’ two-year budget impasse. During that time, CSU struggled just to keep its doors open, laid-off 400 people and saw enrollment decline. As a Senate budgeteer, Sims has been an outspoken advocate in the effort to restore funding and support to these institutions.

The construction funds CSU will receive include $7.5 million for renovations at the Robinson Center and other capital improvements, $3.6 million to replace inoperative generators and $2.6 million for elevator renovations. Read more.

In the news: Bennett announces $215K for Parkland College projects


Morrison to Rauner: Time to focus on jobs

Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Deerfield

State Senator Julie Morrison expressed frustration at the Rauner administration’s failure to keep the U.S. headquarters for Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Deerfield last week.

“This is a devastating blow to our community. I’m disappointed in the move. I’m even more disappointed that the Rauner administration did nothing to prevent these job losses. This is another example of the governor’s inability to run this state and focus on what matters,” Morrison of Deerfield said.

The Japanese drugmaker announced last week it will close its U.S. headquarters in Deerfield, where about 1,000 people work, and move their positions to Boston. Takeda has about 5,000 U.S. employees total.

“Takeda is leaving behind hundreds of talented workers that are an asset to the Illinois research industry,” Morrison said. “The governor has the opportunity to help pick up these pieces and move Illinois forward.” Read more.



Taylorville students benefit from new funding formula

Taylorville students with Sen. Andy Manar

Taylorville students are going places – on an architectural tour of the Golden Gate Bridge, to explore a tomb deep inside an Egyptian pyramid, to experience action on a Civil War battlefield, to a virtual automotive shop to learn how to take apart an engine and to a biology lab to see what’s inside humans and animals.

They're are able to do all of this because of the investment the Taylorville school district is making in 21st-century technology, made possible because of Illinois’ revamped school funding formula.

“This is about stability. Yes, we were able to pick up additional money through the formula. That’s good and we’re able to capitalize on that,” Taylorville CUSD 3 Superintendent Gregg Fuerstenau said. “But the financial stability the new funding formula offers is what really allows us to make investments like these and enhance our ability to do more things with local resources.”

State Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill is touring schools in his Senate district to observe how the new formula is making a difference.

“I’m elated to see the Taylorville school district leveraging school funding reform to expand students’ exposure to new places, new ideas, new ways of learning and career opportunities they may have never considered before,” Manar said. “That’s what school funding reform was all about – ensuring students in rural and downstate school districts have the same educational opportunities as students elsewhere in Illinois.” Read more.


Hunter leads hearing on AI and future of energy

Sen. Mattie HunterState Senator Mattie Hunter led a hearing on energy innovation and ways that artificial intelligence could be applied within the energy market in Illinois.

“There’s a proven need for clean, affordable and reliable energy,” Hunter (D-Chicago) said. “It’s essential to fight poverty and climate change. Artificial intelligence is one of the resources we can tap into to help us meet that need.”

Representatives from Siemens, Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois Institute of Technology, the Illinois Department of Military Affairs, the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Citizens Utility Board and ComEd provided testimony on how AI can affect the way that energy is generated, transmitted, sold and consumed.

The discussion touched on how AI in energy could affect the economy, save millions of dollars in energy costs, detect cybersecurity threats and manage high volumes of data.

“Although AI is in its early stages, it’s clear that it’s supposed to revolutionize how we produce and distribute energy,” Hunter said. “As this technology develops, we will continue to discuss ways and look for opportunities for Illinois to become one of the leaders in AI within the energy sector.” Read more.


Illinois at 200

On This Day, Sept. 12, 1973To mark the countdown to Illinois’ bicentennial on Dec. 3, all this year the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus has published daily tributes to the people, places and events that have helped forge the state’s rich history.

From inventors and entertainers to our communities and the Capitol, Illinois has a lot to celebrate.

Last week’s bicentennial countdown featured the death of socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1973, the dedication of a Sept. 11 memorial in Quincy in 2011, and a record set by Bears running back “Sweetness” Walter Payton in 1984.

To find all of our historical vignettes, visit I Like Illinois online, on Facebook and on Twitter. #IllinoisProud


In case you missed it


State Senator Tom Cullerton, Villa Park: Cullerton leads charge to protect veterans | Chicago Tribune

State Senator Linda Holmes, Aurora: Holmes considering parole reforms after Reimann release | Daily Chronicle

State Senator Iris Y. Martinez, Chicago: Puerto Rican official offers grim assessment of recovery | WBBM

State Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill, and State Senator Heather Steans, Chicago: Lawmakers want answers on emergency pharmacy funding | WAND

State Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: Remembering first responders with Patriot Dinner | Central Illinois Proud

State Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: Letter: Town halls key to making progress | The News-Gazette


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