McGuire

  • Manar 101819JOLIET – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) gathered with fellow state lawmakers and diabetes health advocates in Joliet Friday to urge support for a new measure aimed at reducing the skyrocketing cost of insulin.

    “Absurd insulin costs are making it nearly impossible for some individuals to afford the life-saving medication they need,” Manar said. “It’s time we take a stand on this issue and finally bring some relief for people who are being forced to pay exorbitant prices just to stay alive.”

    Senate Bill 667, introduced by Manar in May, would cap out of pocket insulin expenses at $100 for a 30-day supply.

    Manar was joined by State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), State Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) and State Rep. John Connor (D-Lockport) to push for the legislation’s passage and hear from individuals who have been directly impacted by rising insulin costs.

    According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes, 7.4 million of which require prescription insulin every day to survive. However, the increasing costs associated with the medication have led many patients to ration their supply or seek care outside of the country.

    “Insulin is a life-saving prescription drug,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is outrageous that drug manufacturers are often placing profit before people. If they are going to utilize greedy profit schemes to make money off of this crucial medication, it is time for the state to intervene.”

    The legislation would make Illinois just the second state in the country to cap out of pocket insulin expenses. Colorado became the first earlier this year.

    The measure has also garnered the support of several advocacy organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, Illinois State Medical Society, Illinois Pharmacists Association and AARP.

    “AARP Illinois supports this measure on behalf of our 1.7 million members, many of whom have told us about the hardships they face in paying for their prescription drugs,” said State Director Bob Gallo. “We commend Sen. Manar, Rep. Guzzardi, and other legislators for recognizing that everyday Illinois residents are having to make heartbreaking choices about whether to pay for medicine or other basic necessities with their fixed incomes. And we hope that SB 667 will be a stepping stone to getting further reforms that will lower the cost of prescription drugs for everyone.”

    Manar expects to call the bill for a vote during the fall veto session.

  • jbt mcguire 060319Capital construction plan passes with support from McGuire, Bertino-Tarrant

    SPRINGFIELD — Included in a statewide construction plan that addresses hospitals, schools and roadways will be funding dedicated to repairs ensuring the long-term safety of the I-80 bridge spanning the Des Plaines River. The plan passed with support from State Senators Pat McGuire and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

    “We took two giant steps toward safety on I-80 by devoting millions in state funding for needed repairs and by clearing the way for the privately funded Houbolt Road Bridge,” McGuire said.

    “Local residents cannot continue to tolerate poor roads and bridges,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is imperative that the state invest in the I-80 bridge to ensure safety, economic growth and eliminate traffic.”

    State inspectors signaled an urgent need to repair the bridge, which conveys traffic across the Des Plaines River in the Joliet area. The bridge scored a 6 out of 100 in an IDOT sufficiency assessment – anything below an 80 is considered deficient.

    The bridge work is part of a $45 billion plan that will address roadway and building needs all over the state of Illinois, including at public universities, hospitals, and other travel infrastructure.

    The construction plan passed the General Assembly today, and awaits the governor’s signature to be enacted.

  • mcguire 040519College students face major changes as they adjust to life away from home, a situation that can cause or greatly exacerbate underlying mental health issues. State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) is sponsoring legislation to enable the state’s higher education system to help the one in four college students who face mental health difficulties.

    House Bill 2152 would require public colleges and universities to form mental health panels to discuss mental health issues, implement programs that provide support to students struggling with mental health issues, and provide student-to-student support networks. They also must form a strategic partnership with local mental health providers, and that the Illinois Board of Higher Education develop a technical assistance center to develop and standardize mental health policies.

  • mcguire 040519Expanding a scholarship program created by Senator Pat McGuire as part of last year’s Higher Education Working Group, Gov. JB Pritzker signed new legislation allowing universities to retain any unused AIM HIGH scholarship funds each year, and grant them more flexibility in awarding the scholarships.

    McGuire said the move shows a commitment to tackling the hurdles standing in the way of bright prospective students who may struggle with the financial burden of a university education.

  • mcguire 022119SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) issued the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker summarized his budget proposal before the General Assembly today:

    “For the first time in four years, we have seen a budget which makes a full and explicit commitment to our institutions of higher education, which have suffered immeasurably and needlessly during the last administration. Undoing the damage to them will take us many years, but in providing key support to MAP Grants and increased funding for our state schools, this sends a message that Illinois wants a sure and stable higher education system.

    “This is a beginning of negotiations. I argue that we must also prioritize construction funding. The I-80 bridge over the Des Plaines River is rated a 6 out of a possible score of 100. That can’t stand when a failing grade endangers lives. I urge all my colleagues to push for a robust capital plan in Illinois.”

     

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    High school seniors, parents of students and prospective college students of all ages can make use of free workshops this October to help begin the 2019-2020 school year.
     
    October 2018 marks the third year of College Changes Everything Month, a project of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the state’s college access and financial aid agency. Oct. 1 marks the first day the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form becomes available for the following year’s fall semester. State aid like the Monetary Award Program (MAP grant) is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so students should complete their FAFSA as soon as possible in order to have the chance to access as much financial aid as possible. Parents should be aware that some of their financial information is necessary to fill out that form.
     
    "Navigating the college application and financial aid process can be tough for any family, but especially so for a family which never before has sent a child to college. That's why ISAC's College Changes Everything workshops are so necessary and so helpful,” said State Senator Pat McGuire, Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “In addition, Illinois distributes its Monetary Award Program need-based aid on a first-come, first-serve basis. Filing the FAFSA now greatly increases a qualified student's chance of getting a MAP grant before the cupboard is bare."
     
    During College Changes Everything Month, ISAC provides free workshops to students and their families at local high schools where they can receive hands-on instruction filling out college applications and their FAFSAs from college and financial aid experts.
     
    Search by ZIP Code for a free public event near you at studentportal/isac.org/events.

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  • mcguire 062918SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) today announced his legislation expanding competency-based education to more students and more school districts has been signed into law.

    “Competency-based education recognizes that it’s the skills learned, not the time spent sitting in class, that prepares students for the workforce, the military and college,” McGuire said. “That’s why I’m pleased my bi-partisan expansion of the Postsecondary and Workforce Ready Act has been signed into law by the Governor. This measure makes students in all grades, not just high school, eligible for this personalized way of learning. It also allows school districts to join together in collaborative pilot programs, stretching tax dollars to assist more students.”

    The legislation was Senate bill 2941. It takes effect Jan. 1.

  • Sen. Pat McGuire

    SPRINGFIELD — The bicameral, bipartisan Higher Education Working Group chaired by State Senator Pat McGuire today announced a series of measures to help Illinois residents afford college and attain degrees.

    Two financial aid proposals highlight the package. House Bill 5020 will help students access four years of Monetary Award Program grants, giving students and their families assurance that a MAP grant won’t be “one and done.” Senate Bill 2927 incentivizes Illinois’ public universities to provide more scholarships using Institutional Matching, a new $25 million state fund. These scholarships will be available to families with annual incomes of up to $150,000 for a family of four.

    Other proposals developed by the six Democrats and six Republicans comprising the working group assist students transferring from community colleges to public universities and provide regulatory relief to Illinois’s 12 public university campuses.

    “This legislative package shows what happens when both parties work together toward a common goal,” McGuire said. “We want to make earning a community college or university degree in Illinois more certain and more affordable.”

    Details on the full slate of proposals can be found here.

  • Sen. Pat McGuireSPRINGFIELD — Following a community forum between Department of Children & Family Services Acting Director Beverly Walker, community members and Will County groups on the state agency's response to the death of Semaj Crosby, State Sen. Pat McGuire issued the following statement.

    “I salute SAFE (Safety Alliance for Families Everywhere) and the Will County Progressives for conducting today's forum, Pastor Herbert Brooks Jr. and St. John Missionary Baptist Church for hosting the event, the community members who participated, and DCFS Acting Director Beverly Walker for being accountable throughout the two-hour discussion.

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  • Sen. Pat McGuireSPRINGFIELD –State Senator Pat McGuire released the following statement after he was chosen along with 39 other community leaders throughout the state to participate in the Edgar Fellows Program, a five-day executive leadership program:

    “There is no better time in our state’s history to learn from leaders like Governor Edgar about statesmanship and our responsibility as legislators, community and business leaders to keep our state moving forward. I am humbled by this opportunity and excited to meet new people while engaging in discussions that will help me better serve my constituents.”

    For more information on the program: https://igpa.uillinois.edu/page/edgar-fellows-program

  • mcguire 020817SPRINGFIELD — In light of an approved state budget that includes funding for state universities and Monetary Award Grants for college students, S&P Global Ratings announced it has upgraded the bond ratings of four Illinois universities and has taken three other universities off of its watch list for a potential downgrade.

    Illinois Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire said it’s the first sign of the road to fiscal recovery that universities face in the wake of a 736-day budget impasse that saw layoffs, program closures and students worrying over whether the financial aid the state had promised them would ever be paid.

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  • Sen. Pat McGuireMcGuire: “‘Not yet,’ is beginning to sound like ‘Never.’”

    SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, made the following statement Wednesday after the Senate took action on legislation included in the Grand Bargain package:

    “The twelve bills comprising the Grand Bargain were introduced back on January 11,” McGuire said. “They have repeatedly been modified to win bipartisan support. Yet the Rauner Republicans continue to say ‘Not yet,’ which is beginning to sound like ‘Never.’”

  • mcguire 050317SPRINGFIELD — Following testimony from the director of the state’s prison system, State Sen. Pat McGuire asked how the Illinois Department of Corrections is fulfilling a court order mandating it provide greater mental health treatment to inmates.

    “Illinois already has spent $17 million on construction work to transform Illinois Youth Center-Joliet from a prison for teens into a mental health facility to provide treatment to 460 adult offenders with serious mental illnesses,” said McGuire, D-Joliet, following the hearing. “But the new Joliet Treatment Center hasn’t opened yet because of the governor’s refusal to compromise on a budget.”

    A federal court ruled last year in Rasho v. Walker that the Illinois prison system must improve services to the roughly 11,000 inmates with serious mental illnesses. As part of the department’s efforts to fulfill that mandate, IDOC has committed to opening up five new treatment centers, including the former IYC-Joliet. While IDOC’s legal counsel testified that fulfilling the mandate is dependent on when the state passes a budget, McGuire said leaving inmates untreated creates a dangerous situation.

    “IDOC Director John Baldwin is sincere about treating offenders with serious mental illness, and I support him. My fear is that no budget means no treatment. That would mean these offenders grow sicker, leading to more incidents involving other offenders and prison personnel, and more risks to our communities when those offenders have served their time. I urge the governor to govern and settle on a budget,” McGuire said. “Our duty is clear. Every day we delay opening these treatment facilities puts inmates and officers at risk.”

  • mcguire 030717 1714SPRINGFIELD — In the wake of the tragic death of a 16-month-old girl 33 hours after a state inspection found no reason to remove her from her home, State Senator Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, asked the director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services what is being done to investigate the death.

    Semaj Crosby was found dead April 25 under a couch in a home in unincorporated Joliet Township. She had been reported missing just hours after the state inspector’s visit, triggering a search by scores of first responders and volunteers.

  • mcguire 020817SPRINGFIELD — Joining student activists as they visited Springfield to call for funding for higher education, State Sen. Pat McGuire asked them to tell Gov. Bruce Rauner about how the impasse is affecting them.

    “I’m going to ask you to teach,” said McGuire, D-Joliet. “I have become an attentive student of Governor Bruce Rauner. In his State of the State address, he said ‘Job creators get excited by term limits.’ You know that’s not true. Job creators get excited by a well-trained, well-educated workforce. I’m convinced the Governor does not know our lives from a hill of beans. The real Illinois is not people like himself, worth $700 million. It’s people trying to get by on $8.25 an hour. People who need Monetary Award Program grants to continue their education.”

    The Fund Our Future Rally drew students from Moraine Valley Community College, the City Colleges of Chicago, the University of Illinois, DePaul University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

    McGuire asked students to “teach the governor” by giving him sharp, specific examples of what the budget impasse is doing to their education.

    “Trust your experience,” McGuire said. “He can’t dispute what you’ve been through. He can’t dispute what you’re after.”

  • Sen. Pat McGuire

    State universities have made efforts to cut, but warn that the state suffers

    SPRINGFIELD — Speaking after presidents from five state universities testified on how they’re responding to the lack of a state budget and the possibility of more reductions to come, State Sen. Pat McGuire said a generation of students are being harmed by the governor’s lack of a clear plan for higher education in Illinois.

    “We’ve heard of ‘thousands of decisions,’ as Northern Illinois University president Douglas Baker put, to rein in costs and streamline programs,” McGuire said following the hearing, in which presidents explained in detail how they are attempting to triage staff and programs for possible reduction or elimination. “That action at NIU and other state colleges is in sharp contrast to lack of any apparent plan for higher education from the Rauner administration other than to let schools wither.”

    Calling the Illinois House’s recently-passed stopgap measure “unsustainable,” Baker said universities need stability and predictability from state government. Speaking of years of reduced state funding for higher education, Baker said:

    “Unfortunately, these kinds of cuts hit those with the lowest financial ability the most. It hurts the most needy students the worst, but it impacts all of them.”

    “In the absence of any plan from the Rauner administration for how to stabilize and strengthen our state’s higher education system, I fear we’re creating a two-class higher education system in Illinois where those who can afford it will be able to earn college degrees, but those who can’t afford it are out of luck,” McGuire said.

    McGuire, D-Joliet, is chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee.