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  • Haine honors deceased veteran with highway dedication

    haine 040516SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) adopted a resolution Wednesday in honor of Lance Corporal Kenneth Corzine. Corzine served in Afghanistan where he passed away due to wounds received in battle.

    The resolution designates a part of Illinois Route 140 from North Bellwood Drive to Prairie Street in Bethalto as the “LCpl. Kenneth Corzine Memorial Drive.”

    “This young man gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country,” Haine said. “He would have been 29 today, and it is an honor to pay tribute to him in this way. Our fallen soldiers deserve our utmost respect, gratitude and appreciation. I hope that by dedicating this portion of highway to this fallen soldier, it will serve as a reminder to all who drive on it what a patriot he was and the service he gave to our country.”

    Corzine enlisted in the United State Marine Corps on August 1, 2007. He served as a rifleman with the 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Company L in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was awarded with a Purple Heart as well as the Combat Action Ribbon.

    LCpl. Corzine was injured during battle on December 5, 2010 and later succumbed to the wounds he received.

    The resolution was adopted by the Senate on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

    Read the full resolution.

  • Governor vetoes MAP, community college funding for Illinois students

    map veto ftr

  • Haine advances measure to crack down on drug-induced homicide

    haine 030117SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) advanced a measure through the Senate Criminal Law Committee on Tuesday to allow Illinois to prosecute perpetrators of drug-induced homicide more effectively.

    The measure, Senate Bill 639, expands the offense of drug-induced homicide to include delivery of a controlled substance under the laws of another jurisdiction if the resulting death occurs in Illinois.

    “This measure is about deterrence and making it clear we will not stand for illicit drug dealers providing lethal narcotics in our state,” Haine said. “Drug use has become an epidemic, and we must not stand idle while our young people are dying due to overdose.”

    The legislation is in response to incidents where judges have acquitted defendants charged with drug-induced homicide because the substance that caused the death did not come from Illinois. This bill seeks to resolve that gap so defendants are not acquitted of this offense when the illicit substance was delivered in another jurisdiction, but the death occurs in Illinois.

    The measure passed out of the committee on Tuesday and will now go to the Senate floor for final action.

  • Haine aims to improve access to information for hearing impaired in medical facilities

    haine 032117State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) is working on legislation that would require certain medical facilities to have active closed captioning on televisions in waiting rooms and resident rooms.

    The measure, Senate Bill 309, is an initiative of IMPACT Center for Independent Living in Alton. The organization, which serves individuals with disabilities, noted that many of the patients it serves have reported inability to understand or hear televisions in medical facilities, and thereby have difficulty receiving important information.

    Angela Botz, a proponent for deaf citizens and a representative of IMPACT CIL in Alton, noted in her testimony in the Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee that captioning features make a difference in the lives of the individuals with hearing loss, those with learning disabilities and the elderly.

    “Captioning will benefit viewers for health comprehension and retention, accessibility, usage and preferences for access services,” Botz said. “Often times, individuals who request these services are ignored. Bottom line: The importance of captioning and full health access matters.”

    Haine’s legislation, which is similar to a Minnesota law, requires closed captioning to be kept on at all times in certain medical facilities, including nursing homes.

    “This measure is about ensuring people with hearing disabilities have access to vital information,” Haine said. “People need to be able to know what is going on in the world around them and the ability to have important medical information communicated to them.”

    While there is currently some opposition to how hospitals would fund television upgrades to provide closed captioning on all devices, Haine noted that he is working closely with the Illinois Hospital Association and with nursing homes to come to a resolution that is economically feasible and fits the needs of those with hearing disabilities.

    “I am grateful for the work and input from the Illinois Hospital Association,” Haine said. “I know together we can reach a resolution on a good piece of legislation that will help many people in our community.”

  • Haine honors local Patriot Guard Rider in pinning ceremony

    Haine 082317SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) honored Patriot Guard Rider and Alton resident Fred Smith today by placing Smith’s pin on his Patriot Guard Rider vest.

    Smith has been a member of the Patriot Guard, an organization whose members are dedicated to attending the funeral services of fallen American heroes and ensuring services aren’t disrupted by protesters, for more than 15 years. Smith received his honorary pin after serving on 504 missions with the Patriot Guard.

    “The Patriot Guard Riders are dedicated individuals who are committed to honoring our fallen heroes and the sacrifices they made,” Haine said. “For years, Fred Smith has been a devoted member of the Patriot Guard, and I was honored to place his Patriot Guard Rider pin on his vest.”

  • Haine legislation to bring fairness to consumer-owned vehicle impounds sent to governor

    towtruckSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) to protect citizens from excessive tow fees will go to the governor. 

    Senate Bill 2261 has been an important Haine initiative this session. The issue was brought to his attention after reports of local municipalities charging as much as $500 for a tow release fee. Haine filed the legislation in an effort to bring fairness and efficiency to the process of redeeming vehicles.

    “I have worked very hard this year to get this legislation passed,” said Haine. “I am happy that we were able to come together and get this important measure to protect citizens from outrageous fees accomplished. Having a car break down on the side of the road or having to abandon a vehicle because of unforeseeable circumstances is already a heavy enough burden to bear. Excessive impound fees on top of that is simply unreasonable.”

    The measure puts in place limits on administrative fees imposed by local municipalities. It also prevents a vehicle from being impounded for illegal parking unless it has been there for more than 48 hours or the owner was unable to move the vehicle due to an emergency circumstance. Additionally, if a car is wrongfully impounded and attorney fees accrue, the county or municipality would be responsible for the fees.

    The measure passed the Senate Tuesday on a concurrence vote of 58-0. It will now go to the governor’s desk for consideration.

  • Haine legislation to improve organ and tissue transplant process signed into law

    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. 

  • Haine protects motorists from shady towing

    053116CM0630rSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) to protect citizens from excessive tow fees was signed by Governor Rauner, Friday.   

    Senate Bill 2261 is an important Haine initiative. The issue was brought to his attention after reports of local municipalities charging as much as $500 for a tow release fee. Haine filed the legislation in an effort to bring fairness and efficiency to the process of redeeming vehicles.

    “I have worked very hard this year to get this legislation passed,” said Haine. “I am happy that we were able to come together and get this important measure to protect citizens from outrageous fees accomplished. Having a car break down on the side of the road or having to abandon a vehicle because of unforeseeable circumstances is already a heavy enough burden to bear. Excessive impound fees on top of that is simply unreasonable.”

    The measure puts in place limits on administrative fees imposed by local municipalities. It also prevents a vehicle from being impounded for illegal parking unless it has been there for more than 48 hours or the owner was unable to move the vehicle due to an emergency circumstance. Additionally, if a car is wrongfully impounded and attorney fees accrue, the county or municipality would be responsible for the fees.

  • Haine seeks fairness at consumer-owned vehicle impounds

    haine 040516SPRINGFIELD – Illinois citizens may soon be protected against excessive fees for impounded vehicles. Illinois State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) is working legislation through the Senate in an effort to bring fairness and efficiency to the process of redeeming vehicles impounded by municipalities.

    Haine filed legislation in response to reports indicating that some local governments were charging as much as $500 for a tow release fee. Senate Bills 2261 and 2265 aim to clarify previous laws which allow municipalities to set administrative fees related to the processing and cost of impounded vehicles.

    “This legislation is aimed at protecting citizens in our communities from outrageous impound fees,” Haine said. “Having a car break down on the side of the road or having to abandon a vehicle because of unforeseeable circumstances is already a heavy enough burden to bear. Excessive impound fees on top of that is simply unreasonable. This legislation protects people from being victim to large fees due to unfortunate circumstances.”

    The two pieces of legislation contain the following protections:

    Senate Bill 2261:

    • Limits the administrative fee by a local government for impounded vehicles from exceeding the actual cost of services provided

    • Prevents a vehicle from being impounded for illegal parking unless it has been there for more than 48 hours or the owner was unable to move the vehicle due to an emergency circumstance

    • Attorney fees will be awarded by the county or municipality if a vehicle is wrongfully seized

    Senate Bill 2265:

    • Daily storage fees for impounded vehicles shall not accrue until five days after the vehicle is towed

    • Requires a notice of seizure be sent by mail at the time the vehicles is towed

    • Allows a lease holder to take possession of an impounded vehicle


    Senator Haine said he plans to bring the bills before the full Senate later this month.

  • Haine stands up for local homeowners

    haine 032117SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) filed legislation today to correct a flaw currently in state law that can exempt gun ranges from noise complaints. Haine filed the proposal after he was contacted by several homeowners in close proximity to a Godfrey-area gun range called Trigger Talent.

    The gun range has refused to comply with noise modifications despite the numerous complaints from local residents.

  • Haine visits Impact CIL to discuss effects of budget impasse

    haine 062316 1ALTON – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) continued his tour of human service agencies on Wednesday by visiting Impact CIL in Alton to see how the budget impasse continues to affect human service agencies and the citizens of his district.

    Impact CIL, an organization that helps the disabled, currently has a sign posted on its front door that reads, “Due to the state budget impasse our office will be closed on Fridays until further notice.” A step inside and the employees and Executive Director Cathy Contarino will give testament to just how dire the situations is.

  • Haine votes to bring funding back to local government

    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.

  • Haine votes to keep social service agencies open, SIU funded

    haine 022817SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate approved a measure Tuesday that would fund Alton-area social service agencies and Southern Illinois University for 2017.

    State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) voted yes on the legislation, which would allow places like Senior Services Plus and Impact CIL in Alton to remain up and running.

    Over the last two years as the State of Illinois has grappled with a prolonged budget stalemate, Senior Services Plus reduced its meals on wheels program to just one delivery of frozen food per week rather than daily fresh food deliveries. Impact CIL, an organization serving the disabled, announced during the summer it would reduce its staff by 20 percent.

    “We passed this measure with bipartisan support because we know something needed to be done to protect people who are suffering,” Haine said. “Time is running out, and these organizations need help. It is absolutely necessary that this measure receives support from my colleagues in the House and from the governor.”

    Tuesday’s measure also includes an appropriation for the Southern Illinois University system and for Monetary Award Program grants.

    “SIU in Edwardsville is one of Illinois’ finest institutions of higher learning. The university provides an excellent education to students who come not only from this area, but from throughout the Midwest,” Haine said. “There is no reason a state school should be lacking state funding.”

  • Haine will vote to keep road projects going, workers on the job

    haine vetloanALTON – A plan to fully fund the Illinois Department of Transportation’s capital program for road and transit will be heard before the Senate Wednesday.

    State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) said he plans to fully support the legislation.

    “It is imperative these construction programs continue,” said Haine. “Not only do these projects insure we have a sophisticated and proper infrastructure, but they also provide jobs for men and women throughout the state.”

    Earlier this month IDOT announced it would cease all road construction projects July 1 due to the lack of state funding. The measure, Senate Bill 2047, would ensure that road construction continues.

    Haine has been a strong advocate for ensuring such funds continue to be a priority of the state. In May, Haine passed a Constitutional Amendment through the Senate that would ensure governors could not raid the road fund and spend the money elsewhere. 

    “This is of great importance to downstate Illinois,” Haine added. “Our roads, bridges and highways are what allow us to conduct commerce and get from place to place. Without a strong infrastructure, Illinois cannot move forward.”

    Senate Bill 2047 would also include payments to local governments from taxes on gas that are used for the maintenance of roads and infrastructure.

    The legislation is currently in the House, but is expected to come before the full Senate when the General Assembly reconvenes on Wednesday, June 29.

  • Haine works to create Veteran’s Entrepreneurship Loan Program

    haine vetloanSPRINGFIELD— Legislation that would help veterans become business owners was passed out of the Illinois Senate Thursday.

    The measure, Senate Bill 324, would create a program at the Illinois Finance Authority that would allow veterans to apply and receive a business loan. The program would be similar to agribusiness and farming programs administered by the state treasurer.

    State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), who is the chief co-sponsor of the measure, said that this initiative would help veterans to receive start-up capital they need to start their own businesses.

    “This legislation would create a great program to help those who have served our country. There are so many veterans out there who face adversity when they return from service,” Haine said. “These are people who have great leadership skills, yet lack the resources to funnel those skills into a career that works for them. This measure would provide that avenue. I am happy to be a sponsor of this initiative, and I am happy be able to give back to the veteran community.”

    Today, less than 7 percent of returning veterans own their own businesses.

    Nearly 550 service members transition from military to civilian life each day, and an estimated 1 million veterans will settle into communities across our country within the next three to five years. This plan would help veterans readjust.

    The measure was introduced by Senator Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). It passed the Senate on Thursday and will now go to the House for consideration.

  • Haine works to extend sunset for medical marijuana program

    haine medmar extSPRINGFIELD – People who suffer from chronic illness may soon get the help they need. Legislation sponsored by State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) extending the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP) to 2020 is being sent to the governor.

    With the support of Sen. Haine, the original Medical Cannabis Pilot Program was signed into law in 2013.

    Although extending the sunset of the program may be the most prominent part of this legislation, the measure also includes numerous other additions to the program, such as adding PTSD and terminal illness as qualifying conditions.

  • Haine, Beiser host Metro-East veterans fair

    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, Forby working to protect the road fund

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    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) passed a measure through the Senate Executive Committee on Tuesday that would amend the Illinois Constitution to prevent revenues from the state’s road fund from being used for any purpose unrelated to transportation.

    HJRCA 36, which passed the House in April, was originally filed in House by Representative Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg). Senator Haine is the chief Senate sponsor.  

    “This measure will ensure that Illinois’ infrastructure will continue to be up to date and usable for generations to come,” Haine said. “A solid infrastructure is essential to any pro-growth agenda to push Illinois’ economy forward. Things like highways, railroads and bridges are quite literally what allows us to move goods and people to conduct commerce and allow for the continued economic advancement of Illinois.”

    The measure ensures that any motor fuel tax revenues would only be used for transportation-related purposes. It also would prevent a governor from sweeping the funds and allocating them for other use.

    Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton), who is the added chief co-sponsor in the Senate, noted that this legislation is important help to secure jobs related to infrastructure throughout Southern Illinois.

    “This measure is of great importance to Southern Illinois,” said Forby. “First, it is ridiculous that we would use transportation-related fees for anything other than the improvement of our infrastructure. This bill fixes that issue. Secondly, when we are improving our roads we are creating jobs for the people who work on our infrastructure.”

    The measure passed the Senate Executive Committee on Tuesday and will now go to the Senate floor for consideration.

  • Haine, Hoffman bill to extend benefits for unemployed steelworkers signed into law

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  • Haine, local officials tour levee construction

    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.