Haine

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  • Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) shares his thoughts after listening to the governor's State of the State address on January 27, 2016.


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  • haine ussteelSPRINGFIELD – When US Steel announced last March it were going to temporarily idle its Granite City plant, Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) reacted quickly by filing a Senate resolution urging the president and Congress to review the national tariff policy on steel goods.

    While the Granite City plant was able to avoid a temporary idle in May, bad news was delivered to the families across the Metro East just in time for the holiday season. The plant announced the temporary layoff of 2,000 workers. Senator Haine released the following statement:

     “This is catastrophic,” Haine said. “I cannot emphasize enough how important the steel industry is to the Metro East, Illinois and the United States. The Granite City plant has been in the area for generations. If this plant closes I cannot imagine negative impact it would have. Congress must do something to stop the dumping of Chinese steel into the American market. I am yet again calling on Congress and the president to do something about this. These trade practices are unfair and they result in Americans losing out important, quality jobs.”

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  • haine ussteelSPRINGFIELD — Millions of dollars owed to local communities will soon be on their way, Illinois Senator Bill Haine said Monday. The Illinois Senate voted to approve funding for items such as winter road maintenance, critical funding for mental health facilities and funding for community colleges.

    “This measure is a great step forward in getting Illinois back on track,” Haine said. “These funds are important to local communities and should have never been tied up in the first place. Today, we were able to compromise and now municipalities across Madison and St. Clair counties will receive the funding they need in order to provide essential services. I am pleased to see that Governor Rauner is willing to compromise with us on this important issue.”

    The House passed SB 2039 last week and the Senate concurred on the measure today. It will now be sent to the governor for his approval.
    The measure also includes funding for the following:

    •    $582.5 million to IDOT for local governments share of motor fuel gas tax revenues.
    •    $43 million to the Community College Board for career and technical education activities.
    •    $45 million to the Department of Revenue so local governments can receive their share of video gaming proceeds.
    •    $3.1 million to the Illinois Math and Science Academy to allow them to access their income funds and pay operating costs.
    •    $31 million to IDOT to purchase road salt.
    •    $2.5 million for breast cancer services and research.
    •    $1 billion to the Lottery for prizes.
    •    $28 million for nursing home licensing and inspections.
    •    $165 million for home heating bill assistance.
    •    $77 million for 911-related costs.
    •    $3.1 million to the Illinois Department of Public Health for the Tobacco Quitline.

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  • haine lgdfSPRINGFIELD – In response to the meeting Governor Bruce Rauner held with legislative leaders today, State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) released the following statement:

    “I am happy to see this meeting happen. This is an important first step in getting a constructive dialogue going in order to compromise on tough issues. It is extremely important we take concrete steps to end this impasse. There is still much to be done to bring Illinois to its rightful place as a leader in manufacturing, agricultural production and shipping.  

    “Illinois has always been a leader in education and infrastructure, such as highways, bridges and levee repairs. We need to ensure that Illinois fights its way back into a leadership role in the industrial, financial and agricultural sectors. Our economic base is at stake and we need to get down to business. We need to deemphasize the agendas and move toward cooperation for the common good.”

  • Haine levee 1EAST ALTON– Eighty-six miles of levees separate the Metro East from the waters of the Mississippi River, and those levees are receiving much needed upgrades.

    State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) state and county officials visited one construction site to review the progress of these updates to the Southwestern Illinois Flood Prevention District.

    “These upgrades are an investment in the safety of the entire Metro East. Every dollar of this project goes toward protecting businesses, property and—most importantly—lives. It’s impressive to see a project of this scale and complexity on schedule and under budget,” Haine said.

    Chuck Etwert, SWIFPD’s chief supervisor, conducted the tour and gave the officials an update on the system-wide upgrades.

    “High river stages earlier in the year delayed the project, but we continue to make substantial progress toward our goal of achieving FEMA certification,” Etwert said.

    The SWIFPD consists of 86 miles of levee systems that stretch between Alton and Columbia along the Mississippi and its tributaries. The levees protect 174 square miles including more than 155,000 people, 4,000 businesses and 55,000 jobs.

    FEMA and the 100-Year Flood
    In 2007, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported major issues with the existing levees. The ruling led Haine and other Metro East lawmakers to pass legislation that authorized the creation of the flood protection districts, which fund, maintain and improve the existing levees in Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties.

    haine levee 2The current construction will bring the flood prevention district back to FEMA’s acceptable levels of protection.

    When completed, the improvements will bring the levee system up to a 100-year flood protection level. The ‘100-year flood’ is used to describe a flood event that has the probability of occurring once in a 100 year period. Flood stage in St. Louis for the Mississippi is 30 feet. A 100-year flood would occur if the river reached 54 feet.

    The estimated price tag for the project work is $72 million, with $41 million having been paid out as of October and an expected surplus of $15 to $20 million.

    Overall construction is on track to be completed by next summer.

    Wood River Cutoff Wall
    The specific work site Haine toured was the construction of a deep cutoff wall where the Wood River feeds into the Mississippi in East Alton.

    Work crews are building a 1,900 feet long, 140 feet deep subterranean wall made of cement and bentonite, a type of absorbent clay. The wall stabilizes the levee and prevents water from seeping through or beneath the earthworks at a cost of $13.9 million.

    The 500-Year Flood
    As SWIFPD completes its upgrades to protect against a 100-year flood, it has already began planning and work to be able to handle a 500-year flood, the maximum federally authorized protection level.

    “The 500-year level of protection has always been the “long term goal” of the Council,” Etwert said.

    The governing council has already approved the designs for 500-year flood level improvements in the Wood River and Metro East Sanitary District Levee Systems, with construction expected to start in October 2016.

    The council will proceed with designs of Prairie Du Pont and Fish Lake levee improvements to once the Corps of Engineers has identified needed projects.  

    The improvements to SWIFPD are closely coordinated with the Army Corps of Engineers to make sure all work is eligible for Work In-Kind Credit, with the corps providing 65 percent of the shared funding.


    PHOTOS:

    1.) Rep. Dan Bieser, Rep. Jay Hoffman, Sen. Bill Haine, Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan, SWIFPD Chief Supervisor Chuck Etwert and engineer Jim Solari pose for a photo after Monday's tour.

    2) Haine and Beiser listen during the tour as Chairman Dunstan explains the impact the levees have on Madison County businesses.

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  • Haine Vets fair 1EDWARDSVILLE – Metro East veterans came together to learn about job opportunities, educational options and benefits during a veterans resource fair Thursday.

    State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) and Representative Dan Beiser (D-Alton) hosted the fair at Edwardsville American Legion Post 199 to give area veterans the opportunity to access multiple state, local and federal resources in one convenient location.

    “All veterans should be fully aware of the tools and services they have earned through their service. This fair had opportunities for both younger veterans looking for education and career resources and older veterans who may need assistance with benefits,” Haine said.

    "There are a variety of different services and opportunities available to veterans, and our goal throughout the Veterans Resource Fair was to bring as much of that as possible to a central location.  Our military heroes deserve to know about their rights as veterans, as well as the different services that they have access to,” Beiser said.

    The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Madison County Veterans Assistance Commission and the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs provided information and assisted veterans who had questions about local, state and federal programs.

    The Illinois Attorney General’s office and Madison County Recorder Amy Meyer gave veterans information on fraud prevention and legal services.

    Representatives from Lewis and Clark Community College, Southwestern Illinois College and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission talked to veterans about special programs and scholarships for former service members.

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security provided employment information and resources for job seekers. Members of IBEW Local 649 were also on hand to tell veterans about apprenticeship opportunities.

    “I appreciate the Edwardsville American Legion Post 199 for opening its doors for this event,” Haine said.

  • haine alton godfrey rdSPRINGFIELD – On Monday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a measure offering relief to fatally injured burn victims by cutting the red tape to qualify for disability benefits.

    The act, also called the George Bailey Memorial Program, provides that burn victims who doctors expect to live for less than 18 months will immediately receive the five months’ pay they would have received from Social Security had there not been a mandatory five-month waiting period.

    “When people suffer traumatic and fatal injuries they should not be denied the funds they would have received under better circumstances. This measure offers relief to individuals and their families in a time of hardship,” said Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton).

    The measure was originally filed in the House by State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville).  

    “George Bailey’s family has worked very hard to see this law through,” said Hoffman. “The story of the late George Bailey is tragic, and I want to ensure that families do not have to go through the same painstaking process of waiting months for reimbursements. When someone suffers traumatic burn injuries, they should not have to wait to receive help with the high costs of medical care.”

    Currently under the Social Security Act there is a mandatory five-month waiting period applied to Social Security Disability Income claims. A disabled person may only receive payments beginning on the sixth month after their injury. This law removes that waiting period for severely injured burn victims.

    Janie Bailey, cousin of the late George Bailey said, “We are so excited that this legislation has passed. This bill will help so many people. Thank you to everyone that made this bill a reality and in the name of George Bailey.”

    The measure, HB 4006, was signed into law today by Governor Rauner and will go into effect January 1.

  • map grant mrSPRINGFIELD – Next week the Illinois State Senate plans to take up funding for financial aid for qualified college students. The Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) provides needy Illinois students with funding to pay for college tuition.  This funding is currently being held up as a result of the budget impasse.

    “In the coming weeks students will be returning to college campuses,” said State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton). “Many of these students rely on MAP grants for their college tuition. It is important we invest in the future of our state and make sure students have the opportunity to better themselves. That is why I am urging lawmakers to vote in favor of this measure."

    In May, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation specifically aimed to help college students. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the plan thereby taking away college funding for students who rely on state assistance.

    Illinois Senate Democrats have issued an online petition urging students and stakeholders to support MAP grant funding on their website: www.IllinoisSenateDemocrats.com.

    The Senate expects to take up the legislation on Wednesday, August 19.

  • haine organ donSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Bill Haine (D- Alton) was signed by the governor on Tuesday. The measure will improve the organ and tissue transplant process throughout the Metro East.
     
    House Bill 4120, a bipartisan measure that passed both houses of the legislature without a single no vote, will enable a better process for tissue and organ donors by allowing donations to occur at a state-of-the-art facility in St. Louis.
        
    “I am thrilled to see this legislation gain such great support and to see it signed into law,” said Haine. “Every minute counts when it comes to tissue and organ donations. This legislation allows for a better process so those who need organ and tissue donations are able to receive them quickly, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful recovery and saving lives.”

    The legislation allows Illinois funeral directors or transporters to move bodies across state lines to state-of-the-art facilities in St. Louis.  It also eliminates unnecessary regulations and paperwork in order to expedite the process.
     
    This measure was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner on Tuesday and goes into effect January 1.