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Castro urges the governor and his administration to take charge

castro 020718SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) continues to look for answers from state officials regarding a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that caused 13 deaths in the last three years at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

“I want to be part of a solution,” Castro said. “But that requires the Rauner administration – the people who are supposed to run state government – to come clean, be honest and actually put forth a plan to solve the problem.”

At the Wednesday Veterans Affairs Committee meeting, Castro focused on a 2016 engineering report that the Rauner administration commissioned to try to solve the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Quincy home.

The plan included replacing the plumbing in select facilities, including those that house the veterans most susceptible to infection. That 2016 report was never acted upon by the Rauner administration. Its existence was not made public until the evening prior to the committee hearing.

Castro was stunned to learn of its existence and the administration’s failure to do anything with it even as the public health epidemic continued at the Quincy facility.

“Why did the Rauner administration sit on this report and do nothing?” Castro asked. “The governor and his administration failed our veterans and now they’re trying to paper over their failure with new reports and bureaucratic red tape. That’s unacceptable.”

The engineering firm is now being asked to expand the plumbing replacement to the entire campus, and Castro said it is long past time to act.

“If the governor would have taken charge of the situation, he could have solved the problem back in 2016,” said Castro. 

Harmon measure providing alternative to opioids passes committee (VIDEO)

harmon 020718SPRINGFIELD – Legislation giving patients access to medical alternatives to prescription painkillers passed the Senate Executive Committee today.

Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) introduced the Alternatives to Opioids Act to tackle the opioid crisis, an epidemic that killed more than 60,000 people nationwide last year.

The measure would allow people who have been prescribed opioids for a medical condition to apply for a temporary medical cannabis card instead.

Manar calls on State Board of Education to finalize school funding details

manar 031617State Senator Andy Manar is urging state education officials to submit a plan to disseminate the $350 million in additional state funding that was promised when a new school funding formula was signed into law Aug. 31.

During a hearing Tuesday, members of the Senate’s Education Committee discussed the nearly 20 changes that the Illinois State Board of Education has suggested should be made to the new school funding formula.

Manar: Override vote helps put school funding back on track

Manar 013118 sb444SPRINGFIELD – Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s erroneous veto of Senate Bill 444:

"The Senate's override vote helps to correct a poor governing decision that so far has delayed execution of the new school funding formula by nearly three months. I look forward to the House taking the same course of action so that we can put this sorry situation behind us and allow the Illinois State Board of Education to move forward with its work. Schools and communities all over the state are anxious for this to be ironed out once and for all."