McGuire

  • mcguire 040417SPRINGFIELD — Without a plan to address problems of inadequate pay and staff shortages, the workers who care for those with developmental disabilities are struggling just to keep the state’s most vulnerable people safe, said State Sen. Pat McGuire.

    In a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, McGuire told Department of Human Services Secretary James Dimas that non-profit providers like Cornerstone, Trinity and Easter Seals are losing staff from group homes to local warehouses and distribution centers.

    Low reimbursement from the state limits the starting wages of group home workers to $9.35 per hour, while some logistics companies are paying starting employees as much as $15.

    “As a result,” McGuire said, “group homes are short-staffed, the remaining staff members are working up to 70 hours a week, and the emphasis now is solely on safety, on keeping residents alive, rather than on finding job opportunities and other community activities for group home residents.”

    Dimas revealed that the governor’s only plan to raise these workers’ wages relies on the Senate’s Grand Bargain bipartisan compromise, which the governor to date opposes. The department has nothing in its own budget to address the situation, nor could Dimas identify a specific hourly wage for group home workers the administration deems to be fair.

    “Secretary Dimas strikes me as an honorable man,” McGuire said. “But his boss, Gov. Rauner, looks to be ignoring the risks created by underfunding group home disability support workers – unconscionable, unnecessary and unacceptable risks.”

  • Sen. Pat McGuireSPRINGFIELD —State Sen. Pat McGuire challenged the Illinois Department of Labor to fulfill its grave responsibility to protect Illinois workers from injury and illness on the job in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday.

    In questioning the Illinois Department of Labor’s Acting Director Anne Hui, McGuire called attention to unfilled positions in the state’s workplace safety consultation and enforcement programs and the fact the department is on track to resolve fewer workplace safety cases this year than in past years.

  • Sen. Pat McGuire“We need progressive agendas like the one being put forth this morning.”

    SPRINGFIELD — With no direction from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration on how it will address a lack of funding for higher education that has persisted since Jan. 1 in the absence of a state budget, Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire called for cooperation on a new series of proposals aimed at breaking the state budget gridlock.

    Speaking alongside other lawmakers from the House and Senate, McGuire said the newly introduced Comeback Agenda is a necessary compromise at a time when universities and community colleges remain adrift and uncertain due to the governor’s refusal to discuss funding for the current fiscal year.

  • mcguire 030717 1714SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Pat McGuire today decried Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to stop funding for Advanced Placement, teacher certification and parent mentoring for K-12 students, programs important to Will County schools and communities.

    “Again this year, the governor’s proposed budget cuts funding to zero for effective programs,” McGuire said. “For example, Joliet Township High School District 204 recently won a national award for giving more students the opportunity to earn college credit in high school through AP courses. Yet Governor Rauner wants to eliminate state funding for AP teacher training and AP test discounts for needy students.”

    McGuire noted in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing today that the Illinois State Board of Education favors funding the very programs the governor wants to eliminate. In response to McGuire’s questions, an ISBE official said the programs build a stronger state.

    “Parents, students and teachers again this year need to speak up for the best opportunities available for students and the best training available for teachers,” McGuire said.

  • mcguire 030717 1714CHICAGO – New anti-violence programs focused around community trauma centers will aim to address the destructive effects of gun violence now that a bipartisan measure co-sponsored by State Sen. Pat McGuire has been signed into law.

    “I’m glad that we could work across the aisle to help our communities heal,” McGuire said. “The programs that will arise out of this process are aimed at the root causes of violence all over the state of Illinois.”

    The legislation tasks the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority with assisting in the implementation of trauma recovery services for violent crime victims in underserved communities with high-levels of violent crime. Programs would tackle problems like behavioral health treatment, financial recovery, family support and relocation assistance, and advice for navigating the legal system.

    “The trauma caused by violence is more than merely physical,” McGuire said. “It leaves scars on a community that are much harder to see and that perpetuate a vicious cycle. These programs will seek to address that deeper harm and break that vicious cycle.”

    The legislation was Senate Bill 2872 in the 99th General Assembly.

  • mcguire 030917SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, issued the following statement Thursday to address concerns with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s unbalanced budget proposal, which spends nearly $5 billion more than projected revenues.

    “This week, leaders of our nine state universities told of jobs lost, programs eliminated, reserves exhausted, furloughs imposed, and tuition rates increased,” said McGuire, Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “Yet, the Governor’s proposed budget not only cuts Illinois higher education again. A nearly $5 billion hole with no plan to close it makes planning impossible for schools and families.”

    McGuire joined several other Democrats in the Illinois Senate at a press conference today in Springfield to speak about the governor’s unbalanced budget proposal. In a week of testimony before various Senate committees, agency heads were unable to identify any specific reductions to their departments that would help close the $4.6 billion deficit in the governor’s proposed budget.

  • Senator Pat McGuireSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, issued the following statement after Illinois universities testified at committee hearing today. Many said that a looming $4.6 billion budget deficit in the governor’s budget proposal threatens programs and staff.
     
    “I’m disappointed that thus far, Governor Rauner’s administration has presented a plan whose only detail seems to be that it will fall $4.6 billion short of its spending priorities,” McGuire said. “The governor’s unbalanced budget and systemic problems without remedies could be a death knell for universities in Illinois.”
     
    Representatives from Southern Illinois University testified that more cuts could bring an end to majors, minors or even whole departments and could imperil regional health services. Western Illinois University reported it is using available unrestricted funds and has cut jobs, pay and programs.
     
    On the possibility of further belt tightening, a representative of Governors State University said, “Our belt was gone in FY16,” and pointed out the university has already cut 22 programs and 62 positions, as well as imposed a 15 percent tuition increase.

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  • mcguire 020817University students and faculty from all over Illinois rallied in Springfield Wednesday to call for an end to the budget impasse that has held up funding for higher education and imperiled programs and services at the state’s public colleges.

    Joined by a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the Illinois House and Senate, the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities called on the General Assembly and Gov. Bruce Rauner to swiftly approve funding for state universities. A previous stopgap measure expired at the end of 2016, and colleges have since gone without state funding.

    State Senator and Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, addressed the rally to speak on the grand bargain that would include $1.1 billion in funding for higher education and take steps to end the budget impasse that he said has hurt the lives of students and the schools they attend.

    “I know for many of you this is not your first trip to our state capital to advocate for funding for higher education,” McGuire said. “Your persistence is having an effect.”

    The Senate continues to negotiate details of a budget plan this week as the General Assembly awaits the governor’s upcoming budget proposal. McGuire urged the students, faculty, and activists at the rally to send a clear message to the General Assembly and the governor to pass the bipartisan compromise.

  • 01242017CM0675SPRINGFIELD – Following the governor’s State of the State address Wednesday, State Senator Pat McGuire released the following statement:

    “Halfway through his term, the governor is only half-right when it comes to education and jobs. Illinois does need more good, middle-class jobs. But when it comes to post-secondary education, all the governor talked about were research universities and ‘wealth creation.’

    “The community college student studying nursing who needs financial aid to finish? Silence. The small-college student hoping to earn a teaching degree without crushing student loan debt? Crickets. The public university student majoring in criminal justice who hopes her school will stay open? Not a word.”

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  • McGuire2014squareSPRINGFIELD -- Two measures sponsored by State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) as part of his push to modernize higher education and make college more affordable have been signed into law.

    The first piece of legislation, House Bill 4675, reclassifies the sources of two funds for adult and career education. This is in response to confusion about the funds’ sources in an earlier budget bill that led to the two funds — which totaled $43 million — being left out of the earlier bill.

    The second new law, House Bill 6009, streamlines the data collection process that community colleges must undertake and updates other state laws regarding higher education.

    “These two bills provide clear financial relief for our state’s community colleges by trimming bureaucracy and increasing efficiency by eliminating duplicative services,” said McGuire, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “Modernizing the nuts and bolts of community college administration is an integral part of making higher education more affordable.”

    Having been signed by the governor, both bills are now law.

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  • busesChildren who come to school with the least deserve our help the most.

    Senate President John Cullerton todaywill put up for a vote Senate Bill 2054, a preschool-through-high school (P-12) education funding bill. Under this legislation, school districts throughout the state with low-income students will gain state funding. Students in Chicago will gain, students in downstate communities that have lost their coal mines and factories will gain, and students in every one of the 15 school districts here in Senate District 43 will gain.

    Illinois, despite all the bad press, remains the fifth most-populous state with the fifth-largest economy of any state. It is morally right and economically necessary to use our resources to offer all Illinois school children a first-class education.

    P-12 funding is the keystone of efforts to pass a state budget to support human services, higher education, public safety and highway construction. Please urge Governor Rauner, the legislative leaders, and Senate and House members to support SB 2054.

  • 031016CM0111CLJOLIET — Thursday’s disclosure that the number of Illinois students applying for Monetary Award Program grants to help pay for college is down 13 percent is nothing but bad news for Illinois, according to State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet).

    “College graduates earn more, pay more in taxes, are healthier, and are more active in civic affairs,” said McGuire, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “Yet Illinois is discouraging its own high school graduates from continuing their education by failing to fund the need-based financial aid program that has helped millions of Illinois residents get ahead for almost 50 years.”

  • McGuire2014squareJOLIET — As each day without a proper state budget passes, the financial condition of the state’s human services providers grows more and more perilous. Today, State Senator Pat McGuire has urged the governor to sign legislation that will free hundreds of millions of dollars for these beleaguered providers.

    “In late April and early May, the General Assembly hit on a winning, bipartisan formula to get sorely needed funds to higher education and human services, the two parts of the current fiscal year budget that are stuck,” McGuire said. “The governor signed the bill for higher ed but so far refuses to sign the bill for human services. For the sake of Illinois’ most vulnerable residents, Gov. Rauner needs to sign Senate Bill 2038 right away.”

    Painful decisions have been made by human service providers all across the state, including in the 43rd District. Pam Heavens, executive director for Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living, says the focus must be on those who receive these vital services.

    “Due to the budget impasse, Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living was forced to lay off a full-time staff member and institute furlough days. Human service providers are suffering due to the impasse; some may close,” Heavens said. “The never-ending finger pointing must stop. Focus must be on ensuring that the most vulnerable citizens have access to the services that keep them healthy and strong.”

    Senate Bill 2038 provides about $700 million in emergency funding to human services providers who contract with the state of Illinois to assist ill seniors, survivors of sexual assault, homeless youth, and persons fighting mental illness and substance abuse. The measure was sent to the governor May 18 after passing the Senate and House with “yes” votes from every Democrat and Republican voting.

  • McGuire2014squareThe regular spring session of the General Assembly ended late last night without adoption of a budget. The final words on the Senate floor were those of Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno. Both leaders pledged to continue working toward first a six-month stopgap budget and then a full budget.

    The stopgap budget idea, as I mentioned in my last e-newsletter, originated last week with Senate President Cullerton. Yesterday morning, on the final day of regular session, Governor Bruce Rauner took up the idea of a six-month stopgap budget. The governor’s proposed stopgap budget is without Turnaround Agenda demands.

    However, both the Illinois Constitution and logistics make it impossible to draft, introduce, debate and adopt a budget in one day.

    I take hope from the fact that the bipartisan, bicameral working groups which have been striving to craft a budget are continuing to meet. The goal of the working groups is to reach agreement on a stopgap budget before June 30, the final day of the current fiscal year. We legislators have been told to be ready to return to Springfield whenever a stopgap budget is ready to be voted upon.

    The toll the lack of a state budget is taking on individuals, families, organizations and institutions is horrible. Please encourage the four legislative leaders and the governor to do their absolute level best to present a fair, balanced budget as soon as possible.

  • McGuire2014squareThe governor and the General Assembly have about 100 hours left to agree on a state budget before the May 31 deadline.

    A bipartisan, bicameral working group of legislators and the governor’s budget director last week forwarded to the governor and four legislative leaders a budget plan for FY 2016 (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016) and FY 2017 (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017).

    A similar bipartisan, bicameral working group last week began seeking agreement on items on the governor’s Turnaround Agenda, such as collective bargaining, local government consolidation and worker’s compensation. That group continues to meet.

    Agreement on both a two-year budget plan of cuts and revenue and reforms on Turnaround Agenda items would constitute a “grand bargain.”

    In the event a grand bargain cannot be reached by Tuesday, Senate President John Cullerton has suggested a short-term compromise to, as he says, “keep the schools open, our universities open and our human service providers open while we continue to negotiate a broader, balanced budget solution.”

    I encourage you to let the governor and the four legislative leaders know you favor a grand bargain and, if that is out of reach by Tuesday, a short-term compromise budget:

    • Governor Bruce Rauner, (217) 782-0244 or on the Web
    • Senate President John Cullerton, (217) 782-2728 or on the Web
    • Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, (217) 782-9407 or on the Web
    • House Speaker Michael Madigan, (217) 782-5350
    • House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, (217) 782-0494 or on the Web
  • 050216CM0431SPRINGFIELD — Legislation that will help high schools in Illinois better prepare their students for the 21st century workforce passed the Senate today.

    The measure, called the 2016 Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act, would require districts that participate to develop a model for better college and career preparedness and a curriculum that aligns with that model. State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) said that a more knowledgeable workforce is vital for Illinois’ future.

    “Illinois has made it a priority that by 2025, 60 percent of the adult workforce will have a post-secondary credential, whether that’s a college diploma or an advanced training certificate,” said McGuire, the act’s chief co-sponsor. “That means everyone who graduates from high school must be ready to move ahead by learning more.”

    To address that, the legislation requires participating districts to develop “pathways” for students to earn college credit in mathematics. Students would then choose a pathway that aligns with their college or career goals, such as STEM, other technical fields or data analysis. Other provisions in the act include development of industry sector endorsements on diplomas to show that graduates have taken coursework that prepares them for their intended career path and opportunities to earn credit outside of school, such as an internship or work experience.

    “Education is becoming like a series of extension ladders,” McGuire said. “Preschool now overlaps with grade school, grade school with high school and high school with college. That’s how our students and our state will continue to climb.”

    House Bill 5729, sponsored by State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) passed both chambers unopposed and now awaits the governor’s signature.