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Koehler voices support for Dickson Mounds at state hearing

Koehler voices support for Dickson Mounds at state hearingSPRINGFIELD – In late June, Governor Bruce Rauner made the surprising announcement that he plans to close all of the Illinois State Museum sites, including Dickson Mounds in Lewistown. State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), who sits on the legislative panel that reviews all facility closing, voiced his opposition to the idea at a recent hearing.

“This is another prime example of the governor’s misplaced priorities,” Koehler said. “The economic and educational value of Dickson Mounds and the State Museum far outweigh their costs. The governor continues to single out low-cost programs and services that benefit middle-class families for cuts, while leaving expensive programs that benefit the wealthy few, like corporate tax breaks, untouched.”

Dickson Mounds is one of the major on-site archaeological museums in the nation. It chronicles the mound-building Mississippian culture that dominated much of the Eastern United States for centuries before European explorers and settlers reached North America.

Forby supports common-sense measure for gun owners

Forby supports common-sense measure for gun ownersSPRINGFIELD – Recently, a measure supported by State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) that updates the FOID and concealed-carry acts was signed into law.

The legislation stemmed from the case of a lifelong hunter whose FOID card was revoked by the state after 13 years. The gun enthusiast has a mild intellectual disability, and the 2013 law that allowed concealed carry in Illinois prevented people with mild disabilities who seek services from the state from possessing or using firearms.

“If someone is capable of safely using firearm either recreationally or in cases of self-defense, we shouldn’t take that right way,” said Forby.

Scott Bennett refuses pay during budget impasse

Scott Bennett refuses pay during budget impasseSPRINGFIELD - In light of the budget impasse, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) has filed paper work to forego his pay until there is a budget in place to protect essential programs in Illinois.  

People who work or receive services from important programs such as child care assistance programs, in-home health care for seniors and people with disabilities and services for veterans’ are faced with few choices without a state budget in place.   

“I stand up in solidary with the hard working men and women in our community who provide essential services to our most vulnerable populations. It is unjust for elected officials to continue to take home their pay while in-home child care providers struggle to keep their doors open and seniors are forced to choose between picking up their prescriptions or keeping their lights on at night. These are real people with real responsibilities forced to make difficult decisions,” said Bennett.

Legislation improving student teacher background checks signed into law

Legislation improving student teacher background checks signed into lawSPRINGFIELD - Last Friday, the governor signed a legislative proposal into law that will improve the process of conducting criminal background checks for student teachers.

Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) co-sponsored the measure in the Illinois Senate.

“This new law makes conducting background checks for student teachers more efficient and ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect our students,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It addresses concerns from colleges, schools and parents.”

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