• trotter sb2046Today, the Illinois Senate passed legislation that could essentially end the 2016 budget year stalemate.

    Some 90 percent of the state spending plan already is in place because of various court orders, leaving just higher education and many social services, which serve thousands of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens, left unfunded. This afternoon the Senate concurred with the House on Senate Bill 2046 and approved spending authority for the state’s public universities and social services left unfunded during the budget impasse.

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  • forby siu surplusSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) allowing the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University to sell, lease or transfer and convey surplus real estate and retain the proceeds to be used for a scholarship fund was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

    “Last week the SIU president reported the reality of the troubles the university faces due to the lack of a budget. This bill would help SIU in a time of uncertainty,” Forby said.

    “At a time when students are feeling the burden of tuition costs, MAP grants aren’t being funded and the state lacks a budget, this measure allows SIU to help themselves and the students attending the university. It’s really a common sense action to take. The legislation would help SIU to keep pushing forward and provide Southern Illinois students with a quality education.”

    Senate Bill 2970 was introduced by Forby in February as a way to assist the university in letting go of surplus land, thereby putting funding back into the SIU system, 100 percent of which would go into a scholarship fund.

    The measure passed favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will now go to the Senate floor for a vote.

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  • forby bailoutBENTON — State Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) said Southern Illinois schools are his top priority and that Governor Rauner is sadly mistaken if he thinks the senator supports taking over and bailing out Chicago schools.

    “Dumb idea,” said Forby. “I mean really, dumb idea. He’s laying people off, closing the Sparta shooting range and slashing our schools. Oh, but now he’s going to use our tax dollars to bail out Chicago and he thinks I’m going to help him? I don’t think so. What is he going to do next, come tell us how to run our schools in Southern Illinois too?”

    Forby’s comments come as Gov. Rauner is trying to bail out Chicago schools and is calling on downstate Democrats to help him.

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  • forby rtwzonesToday, Senator Gary Forby supported legislation ensuring several critical services remain operational and local municipalities get the gas tax money they are owed.

    The legislation provides:

    • $45 million to the Department of Revenue so local governments can receive their share of video gaming proceeds
    • $582.5 million to Illinois Department of Transportation for local governments share of motor fuel gas tax revenues
    • $31 million to Illinois Department of Transportation to purchase road salt
    • $165 million for the State’s supplement to Low Income Home energy Assistance Program
    • $77 million for 9-1-1 related costs

    “We got a lot of stuff our community needs,” Forby said. “But, we still have students who don’t know if they will receive tuition assistance the state owes them.”

    The measure that Senator Forby supported passed along local gas tax money for winter road clearing and funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The legislation also funds 9-1-1 related costs to ensure residents have a line of communication in cases of emergency.

    “Many of the programs we funded today were held hostage by Governor Rauner in return for his anti-worker agenda,” Forby said. “Since winter is here, he decided to release funds for services that are necessary for road clearing and energy bill assistance. The game he’s playing is too easy to see through.”

    The measure now advances to the Governor’s desk where he will either sign or veto the measure.

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  • You pay at the pump, why is Springfield keeping your money?

  • biss forby carbondaleSouthern Illinois is disproportionately affected by the state’s budget impasse, with numerous counties south of Interstate 70 reeling from the loss of mental and public health services, growing wait lists for treatment and increased uncertainty for families, children and seniors.

    That was the alarming message from panels of social service and health care providers who testified before the Senate’s Human Services Committee last week at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, is chairman of the committee and traveled to Carbondale for the hearing. Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, joined Biss to listen to the providers.

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  • forby map training centerState Senator Forby (D-Benton) toured several rehabilitation and healthcare facilities to discuss the consequences Southern Illinois faces if Governor Rauner doesn’t work with legislators to pass a budget. Senator Forby listened to suggestions from the community affected by the budget so he can bring their recommendations to Springfield.  

    “Governor Rauner is holding the budget process hostage in exchange for proposals in his wage-killing turnaround agenda,” Senator Forby said.

  • so il hi ed hearingCARTERVILLE- Illinois higher education institutions are still running despite the absence of a higher education budget.

    John A. Logan Community College, like many state universities and community colleges, is absorbing costs up front to allow students to return to school this fall. However, this may force colleges and universities to cut vital services.

    Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) assembled the panel at John A. Logan to hear from community college representatives like Vice President for Business Services Brad McCormick, who is struggling to finance on-campus child care assistance and tutoring services for students.

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  • forby afscmeThe fight for employee equality advanced today when the Illinois Senate voted on two critical measures that ensure working families are given fair wages and benefits. The first measure Senate Bill 1229, which was overridden by the governor, aims to bar the American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees from striking or being locked out while a collective bargaining agreement is negotiated.

    The union’s collective barging contract expired on July 1st. The Governor’s office and the state largest labor union AFSCME have yet to reach an agreement.

    State Senator Gary Forby (D- Benton), who serves as the Senate’s Labor Committee Chairman, thinks the measure takes bureaucracy out of the negotiations, which will create a platform for non-politicized negotiations.

    “Since Governor Rauner began his term, he has waged an all-out war against organized labor and working families,” said Forby. “It’s clear the Governor doesn’t want fair negotiations, so if we take the bureaucracy out of the negotiation process, then it gives us a clearer path to reach an agreement.”