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Senate overrides veto of Holmes’ government reform measure; will provide for election of Fox Metro Water Reclamation trustees

Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 05:24 PM

holmes 111418SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) this week overrode a veto of a measure to address the election of trustees for the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District. Senate Bill 2830 requires the trustees be elected rather than appointed. The bill had been vetoed by the governor in August and Holmes successfully overrode that veto today in the Senate.

“I believe it is important that those who represent the citizens of our communities should be elected and not appointed,” Holmes said. “This bill provides for trustee candidates to go on the ballot during consolidated elections. It represents government reform that will better serve water quality needs in the future for people in the Fox River Valley.”

The Water Reclamation District was created in the late 1920s and today serves nearly 300,000 residents in Aurora, North Aurora, Boulder Hill, Montgomery, Oswego, Sugar Grove and portions of Yorkville and Batavia, according to the Board’s website.

Senate Bill 2830 provides that trustees will be elected at consolidated elections, rather than appointed by members of the General Assembly, beginning with the 2019 consolidated election. Current members of the Board can continue to serve until their terms expire, at which time an elected trustee will take their place on the Board. Trustees will be elected to staggered 4-year terms. The Board will continue to have 5 total members. 

Approved on a vote of 50-5 by the Senate, the measure now moves to the House for concurrence.

Senate helps crime victims, overrides governor’s veto

Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 04:18 PM

jjc 053118SPRINGFIELD — As part of an ongoing effort to combat human trafficking, the Illinois Senate voted Wednesday to speed up the process through which victims can get federal immigration relief. The 40-12 Senate vote set aside a veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, the chief sponsor of SB 34, issued the following statement regarding the successful vote to override the governor and protect victims of human trafficking and other heinous crimes.

Manar urges changes to state pre-K grant award process

Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 04:13 PM

manar 052818SPRINGFIELD – Illinois should reassess how it awards pre-K grants after school districts throughout central Illinois were unexpectedly rejected for money they’ve long relied upon to run their programs, State Senator Andy Manar said Tuesday.

“How can we ensure every student arrives at kindergarten ready to learn when the state is pulling the rug out from under school districts that are trying to help?” Manar said. “We have to ensure these grants get to the communities that need them the most so that we can continue to help the children who need it the most.”

School districts throughout Illinois earlier this year were denied pre-K grants by the Illinois State Board of Education without warning, even though they have been receiving the grants for years.

Bunker Hill CUSD 8 in Macoupin County is among those that were denied. Last year the district received $104,000 for its preschool program; this year it received $0. The district has received a pre-K grant since at least 1995, according to records.

Manar said the Illinois State Board of Education cut Bunker Hill’s pre-K funding by 100 percent with no warning and little explanation. Half of all students in the district are considered low income.

Studies show that early childhood education is vital to a lifetime of successful learning and that children from disadvantaged homes are less likely to attend preschool.

Manar noted that the abrupt decision by ISBE to change the way it awards early childhood grants undercuts priorities identified in school funding reform discussions, including equity, poverty and need. ISBE’s new process benefits wealthy school districts that can afford to pay consultants to write their grant applications, he added.

“Bunker Hill is not alone in this. Numerous rural and downstate communities are in the same boat, wondering how to move forward,” he said. “Like funding for K-12 schools, pre-K grants should be based on need, not on who wrote the best grant request.”

Cunningham votes to override Rauner’s veto of Tobacco 21

Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 03:59 PM

cunningham 052418SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham voted Wednesday to override the governor’s veto of legislation that would increase the age to legally purchase tobacco products in Illinois to 21.

“Big tobacco has a long track record of targeting young people to sell their products,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This legislation demonstrates our commitment to improving the health of Illinois teenagers by limiting their access to tobacco and preventing lifelong addiction from developing.”

The bill would make Illinois the sixth state in the country to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21. More than 300 municipalities across the United States have adopted Tobacco 21, including 24 communities in Illinois.

Raising the tobacco purchasing age has been proven to reduce the number of high school students who use tobacco products. In Chicago, where Tobacco 21 is currently in effect, the high school smoking rate dropped from 13.6 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2017.

The Senate voted 36 to 19 to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2332.

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