Manar

  • 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."

  • school library grants 0118BUNKER HILL – Seventeen local school districts will receive more than $22,000 in grants through the Illinois secretary of state’s School Library Grant program, Senator Andy Manar announced today.

    The grants, which are issued by the Illinois State Library, are meant to help public schools offer more library books and materials to students.

    “I am pleased that so many deserving central Illinois schools will benefit from this year’s library grants,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “This support will go a long way toward helping school libraries offer new and updated materials as children hone their reading skills and discover the thrill of picking up a great book.”

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  • manar 052517BUNKER HILL – A series of deadly and serious car crashes near a work zone on Interstate 55 in northern Madison County has prompted Senator Andy Manar to request a review by state transportation officials.

    The latest crash on Friday involved 10 vehicles and sent numerous people to the hospital, including a Livingston woman who died from her injuries Monday night.

    That pileup was near the site of a grisly November wreck that killed four young women and injured numerous others. Two of the victims were from Staunton and were Manar’s constituents.

    Several other crashes have occurred in the area of the construction zone between Hamel and Illinois 143 since late October, according to police and local officials. That’s when traffic was reduced by one lane in each direction for road repairs. The work is expected to last through late September 2018, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

    “Clearly, there is a problem that needs to be addressed,” said Manar (D-Bunker Hill), whose district begins just north of the construction zone. “I have constituents who drive this stretch of highway every day, or have loved ones who do, and they are extremely concerned about their safety in light of these crashes.”

    Manar sent a letter to IDOT Secretary Randall Blankenhorn today asking him to determine if more can be done to minimize crashes and improve safety on behalf of motorists and construction crews who are working on the highway project.

    “I don’t know if drivers need more warnings to slow down and pay attention, if more police patrols are required, or if some other measure is needed to ensure this stretch of I-55 is safe,” Manar said. “I am confident that IDOT will assess the situation responsibly and recommend changes that will help protect drivers and put people’s minds at ease, particularly during this busy holiday travel season.”

    Copy of letter attached.

  • manar 032417SPRINGFIELD – Senator Andy Manar’s commitment to public service and his ability to talk openly with leaders on both sides of the aisle earned him this year’s Dawn Clark Netsch “Straight Talk” award from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

    Manar was presented with the award Monday night. It is given annually in honor of Netsch, who was an ICPR board member and public servant who spent decades working on behalf of Illinoisans as a state senator and state comptroller. The award acknowledges her legacy as a straight talker who was known for her ability to tell it like it is.

    A tireless advocate for schools and voter access, Manar was presented with the award because of his outstanding efforts on major legislation this year, including school funding reform and automatic voter registration.

    “I am honored to receive the ‘Straight Talk’ award from ICPR, but it must be said that neither of these historic reforms was successful because of the work of one individual,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “They each passed because I had the help and support of countless state legislators, passionate advocates and grassroots organizations.”

    Sarah Brune, executive director of ICPR, said that, like Netsch, Manar’s approach to government can serve as a model for honesty and openness for leaders today.

    “Manar’s commitment to public service and his ability to talk openly with leaders on both sides of the aisle recall the tireless spirit of the late Netsch,” Brune said. “ICPR congratulates Senator Manar on his successes this year, and we look forward to working with him on important initiatives moving forward.”

    The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform was founded in 1997 by the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon and former Lieutenant Gov. Bob Kustra. Its mission is to initiate reforms and promote public participation in government; address the role of money in politics; and encourage integrity, accountability and transparency in government. Among its areas of focus are campaign finance law, government ethics, judicial selection and voter education.

  • PCH11292017 3PANA – Senator Andy Manar toured Pana Community Hospital and the site of its $20.1 million expansion project, currently under construction.

    The visit was part of his district-wide health care listening tour, during which he met with local hospital leaders to learn more about the challenges they face in providing health care in central Illinois, as well as suggestions they have for regulatory changes that could be addressed through legislation.

    “I continue to be impressed by the hard work, innovation and leadership that occur every day at Pana Community Hospital,” Manar said. “The institution’s roots in Pana run deep, and I’m excited that it continues to expand and invest in the people who live here by offering the finest health care, good-paying jobs and excellent community stewardship.”

    Manar met with Trina Casner, hospital president and CEO; James Moon, hospital chief financial officer; Carol Schramm, hospital board chairman; and Dave Slater, hospital board member.

    Casner led Manar on a tour of the hospital and the site where workers have begun construction of an addition to the hospital, its first major expansion in decades.

    “We’re thankful Senator Manar took the time to visit Pana Community Hospital and appreciate his support of rural health care providers,” Casner said. “It is important to be able to sit down with our elected officials to voice concerns and struggles we face in providing quality health care in a rural setting. It was also exciting to share plans for our building project and show the senator our plans for the future.”

    Manar visited the hospital on Nov. 29.

    The tour, which included stops at every hospital and federally qualified health center in the 48th Senate District, highlighted the importance of rural health care in Illinois and called attention to the need for continued investment in this vital sector of the economy.

    Significant topics of discussion among the hospitals and clinics were:

    • issues with implementation of the state’s Medicaid managed care program;
    • staffing and recruitment challenges, particularly with regard to a shortage of specialists, nurses and medical technicians in rural areas;
    • telehealth, especially a desire for more telepsychiatry and the current use of teleneurology assessments for stroke patients;
    • changes to the federal tax plan and a possible fiscal cliff, and how each could affect federally qualified health centers in central Illinois that rely on federal funding to operate;
    • the ongoing need for better access to adult and child dental care;
    • the effects of the Affordable Care Act on rural and downstate health care, the gains hospitals and clinics have made under the ACA and the negative implications that a roll-back could have on the delivery of services and employment in the region.

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    By the numbers

    According to the Illinois Hospital Association, hospitals in the 48th Senate District employ 9,043 full-time equivalent employees and have a combined payroll of nearly $685 million.

    More than 22,000 additional jobs are created as a result of hospitals operating in the district.

    Hospital spending on payroll, other goods and services, and capital projects – combined with the additional jobs the institutions support – have a total economic impact of $4.15 billion on the 48th Senate District and on the state economy.

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  • manar teacher 111517SPRINGFIELD – Three Senate education leaders are urging the governor’s administration to expedite its study of the statewide teacher shortage and report its findings to the General Assembly by March 1.

     In a Nov. 14 letter addressed to Illinois State Board of Education Chairman James Meeks, State Senators Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Kimberly A. Lightford and Andy Manar ask the board to accelerate its inquiry into the crisis so that lawmakers will have enough time to craft and pass legislation that will help to address the matter prior to next school year.

  • manar 052517SPRINGFIELD – Active substitute teachers will be able to seek a refund of the $50 fee they’re required to pay when they apply for a state license under a new law sponsored by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

    “This is an example of what we can do to ease up on the government bureaucracy that’s got a stranglehold on the teaching profession in Illinois,” said Manar, a member of the Senate Education Committee. “We have empty classrooms because of a statewide teacher shortage, a rapidly shrinking pool of substitutes and students who are suffering as a result. Curbing fees and eliminating unnecessary red tape will help address some of these problems.”

  • transparencySPRINGFIELD – A day after Illinois’ bill backlog reached $16.7 billion, members of the state Senate rejected a system that allows government agencies to conceal unpaid invoices from the comptroller and taxpayers for months on end.

    The Illinois Senate on Wednesday voted to override the governor’s veto of the Debt Transparency Act, a commonsense measure that demands better accounting and reporting practices by state agencies so that officials can understand the true extent of the bill backlog at any given time.

  • manar lightford 110617DECATUR – Teachers around the country often skip over Illinois when they’re looking for a job because of low starting salaries, licensure difficulties, lack of mentoring and other issues, Senators Andy Manar, Kimberly Lightford and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and members of the Senate Education Committee learned Monday during a hearing about the statewide teacher shortage.

    “Today’s hearing allowed us to learn from people on the front lines of public education about the barriers that keep teachers from seeking jobs in very good school districts across Illinois,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and a member of the Illinois Senate’s Education Committee, which convened its hearing Monday afternoon at Decatur Public Schools’ Keil Administration Building.

  • manar 052517 rSPRINGFIELD – A state grant to the University of Illinois Springfield will help provide special radios to visually impaired residents over which they can listen to local news, books and magazines read by volunteers, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) announced today.

    The university was awarded a $28,455 Radio Information Service grant from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Blind and Physically Handicapped Services program.

    The grant specifically supports the broadcast of local news and information typically not heard on regular news broadcasts for the general public. For example, volunteers actually read specific sections of local newspapers during the daily broadcasts.

    “This is an outstanding program that enables blind and visually impaired people to stay connected to their communities through timely access to their local newspapers and other materials,” Manar said. “A vast number of Americans enjoy reading for pleasure, stress relief and to stimulate the mind, and I’m proud that we can continue to make it available locally to those who rely on this service.”

    About 295,000 Illinoisans have a vision disability and could be eligible for a special receiver to listen to broadcasts through the Blind and Physically Handicapped Services program. Radio stations around the state broadcast daily news, often read by volunteers, which only can be heard by obtaining one of the free special-frequency radios. Some people currently can access the services through a password-protected Internet web stream.

    Visit the grant’s website for more information.

  • manar 031617SPRINGFIELD – Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) has been appointed to two state boards charged with research and policy development affecting the Illinois coal industry.

    Manar said he is proud to have a greater voice in promoting Illinois coal because of its potential for job growth in central and southern Illinois.

    “While the governor goes out of his way to lure companies and good-paying jobs to Chicagoland, he has largely ignored the people who live south of Interstate 72 and their problems,” Manar said. “We could see a resurgence of Illinois coal jobs with the proper leadership, investment and policy development. I look forward to being part of the conversation.”

    Manar was appointed to the Illinois Coal Development Board, which sets and promotes a yearly agenda for research and methodologies to increase the use of Illinois coal resources. The board also advises the Office of Coal Development and the Illinois Clean Coal Institute on coal research and development policy projects.

    The 17-member board includes lawmakers of both political parties from both houses of the legislature, as well as the president of the University of Illinois, representatives of the Illinois coal industry and relevant state agencies.

    Additionally, Manar was appointed to the state’s Flue Gas Desulfurization Task Force, which was established in September under legislation that Manar sponsored. The panel will weigh the costs and benefits of using modern scrubber technology on coal-fired power plants to burn Illinois coal, as well as the cost of constructing new stacks compared to converting existing stacks at plants.

    Most Illinois coal is sold and burned out of state because of its sulfur content, which exceeds state and federal air quality standards.

    The task force will report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and the governor.

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  • manar 092617 2CARLINVILLE – Police in Illinois would have to make a reasonable attempt to find a responsible adult to take custody of anyone under the age of 21 who has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs under a new law that was prompted by the 2015 death of a college student from Staunton.

    The law, signed Tuesday afternoon at Blackburn College in Carlinville, is called Conor’s Law after Conor Vesper, a 20-year-old Blackburn student from Staunton who died May 23, 2015, following a series of tragic events including his arrest for DUI, followed by his release from the police station alone after he paid a fine, a subsequent car chase with police from multiple agencies and a fatal self-inflicted gunshot.

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  • manar vet servicedog 082517SPRINGFIELD – Illinois military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression will be eligible for service dogs through a special program under legislation sponsored by Senator Andy Manar that was signed into law Friday.

    “Service dogs often can offer companionship, stress-relief and motivation to veterans with PTSD or depression that friends and family may not be able to provide,” Manar said. “I am pleased that these veterans now are on the list of people in Illinois who can take advantage of the Helping Paws Service Dog Program and lead more fulfilling lives.”