SPRINGFIELD – To help human service agencies that continue to suffer in the ongoing budget impasse, State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) put forth a plan that would handle payments to all human services the same, rather than prioritizing certain contracts over others.
“We should treat the people that care for our most vulnerable citizens fairly,” Hunter said. “Programs like Redeploy Illinois, homeless youth services and others have been bearing the financial burden of the state of Illinois for the almost two years we’ve gone without a budget. This legislation will not only prioritize the payments human service providers need but also compensate organizations for delayed payments.”
SPRINGFIELD – 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.”
SPRINGFIELD — After voting to fund human services and higher education as part of a proposed Senate “grand bargain” package, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:
“Illinois has gone too long without a budget and needs one now. The harm not having a state budget is causing to human service organizations, college students and the state’s finances cannot continue. It is time to compromise and put the people first by getting a budget done. Today, as part of an effort to help people in my district and throughout Illinois, I voted to fund higher education and key human service programs that help our seniors, people dealing with addiction and victims of sexual abuse. I will continue working as hard as I can to get Illinois a budget.”
Senate Bill 6 provides the needed spending authorization to finish out the second half of the current budget year. Key components funded include higher education and human services.
SPRINGFIELD – Today, State Senator Mattie Hunter and the Illinois Senate voted on pieces of the bipartisan grand bargain, a package of deals to end the budget stalemate.
Many public universities, senior and mental health services, addiction centers, and other programs have gone without state funding since Jan. 1, when the emergency budget deal expired.
“It’s time to better serve our students and residents by replenishing the services that have been taken away due to the financial drought,” Sen. Hunter said. “Today in the Senate, both parties put aside partisan politics and worked to pass reforms that will help the residents and businesses that have been suffering.”
The grand bargain allocates funding to higher education, human services and also introduces various sources that aim to bring revenue to the state.
The budget deal is designed to ensure funding through the rest of the 2017 fiscal year, which ends June 30.
SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on today’s voting on the Senate grand bargain:
Today the Illinois Senate began voting on the bipartisan grand bargain, moving one step closer to providing Illinoisans fiscal stability.
The appropriations bill we passed today ensures social service providers can keep their doors open, funds public universities and community colleges to the level they saw in 2015 when we last had a complete budget, and provides MAP grant funding for Illinois residents pursuing a degree within the state.
As a legislative body, we worked together on the grand bargain and compromised on many of the big issues facing our state. I am glad that we were able to push past differing political ideology and come together for real solutions to help struggling businesses, residents and families.
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate moved a number of measures forward Tuesday in an effort to get the state back on track and solve the budget stalemate.
State Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) supported measures that would fund social service agencies, bring economic investment back to the Metro East and help reduce the state’s deficit.
“It is time to get this state back on track,” Clayborne said. “We are making some tough yet necessary decisions in the Senate. Nonetheless, these are decisions to keep places like the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House open and ensure the citizens in our community have a renewed sense of livelihood.”
The Senate continues to work on these measures in an effort to bring reforms to the state and put an end to the two-year budget stalemate once and for all.
“Enough is enough. We need to ensure our seniors are taken care of, that after-school programs remain funded and that our most vulnerable residents no longer face uncertainty,” he said. “I hope this plan will make it to the governor’s desk and that he will support it. We need to get this done for the people of our state.”
SPRINGFIELD – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) voted for legislation to end the state’s budget impasse, fund education and important human service programs and allow local governments to consolidate. The legislation is part of a compromise between Senate leaders from both parties to end the state’s nearly two-year budget impasse.
“Today, the Illinois Senate did what the governor and House leaders have failed to do, put the people of Illinois ahead of political games,” Bush said. “Senators from both parties came together in an effort to end the budget impasse and finally move Illinois forward.”
Senate Bill 6 provides spending authorization for the second half of FY2017. The stopgap budget expired on Jan. 1, leaving human services organizations and higher education without funding.
“For nearly two years, Illinois has not had a full budget. The cost of inaction is great. Every day that goes by without a budget, $11 million is added to the state's bill backlog,” Bush said. “This is unacceptable. We should be funding domestic violence shelters, addiction treatment programs and higher education, not wasting money and adding to the state’s debt.”
The plan to restore funding is part of the Senate’s budget and reform package of legislation, which includes Senator Bush’s local government consolidation proposal.
SPRINGFIELD – Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) voted today for a supplemental budget solution that restores funding for human service organizations and higher education. The legislation authorizes spending for the second half of the current fiscal year.
“I’m proud to be part of the bipartisan group of senators who voted to restore funding for MAP grants, technical education programs and important human services that help reduce recidivism rates, treat addiction and provide youth employment,” Van Pelt said. “Investing in these programs is the key to ensuring our neighborhoods are safe and our communities are strong.”
The stopgap budget expired Jan. 1, leaving public universities, addiction treatment centers, senior programs, mental health providers, programs for victims of sexual assault, youth services and breast and cervical cancer screening programs without state funding. This has forced many organizations to cut back on services or shut down completely. Senate Bill 6 would ensure organizations are paid for services rendered. It also appropriates funds for state worker pay.
Senate Bill 6 is part of a budget and reform package of legislation currently being considered in the Senate.
SPRINGFIELD – On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate pushed through legislation that would finish funding state services through the end of the current fiscal year. The legislative package included legislation that would send promised MAP grant money to students for the current fiscal year.
“The state of Illinois committed to assisting students in bettering themselves by attending a university or community colleges,” Cunningham said. “We need to send the money we promised these students so that they aren’t left hanging with the bill.”
The legislation also would fund critical human service programs who saw what little funding was available from the stopgap proposal end on December 31.
“Groups like Sertoma, Park Lawn and Sandbox Learning Center have gone for far too long with no certainty that funding is coming,” Cunningham said. “Today, we were able to give them some hope by starting to pass this compromise.”
SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D- Aurora, highlighted the consequences of Illinois’ budget impasse in her district.
“The state has not had a balanced budget since Governor Rauner took office, and the impasse has hurt Illinoisans of all walks of life,” Holmes said. “The Illinois Constitution states that the governor must provide the legislature with a balanced budget. He has not done so and Illinois residents have suffered as a result. In his public remarks, the governor has continually tried to minimize the negative effects of going without a budget, but my constituents are struggling.”
SPRINGFIELD – For families of individuals with disabilities in Illinois, the process of securing job training services, residential housing options or day programs can be an arduous process that can takes years.
“My son has been waiting for services since 2008,” said Mike Baker, parent and State Advocacy Chair of Autism Speaks.
Baker testified today about the importance of providing services for individuals with disabilities at a Senate Human Services Committee hearing held at the Bilandic Building in downtown Chicago.
State Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield), Vice-Chairwoman of the Human Services Committee, attended the hearing and expressed concern about the high number of individuals currently waiting for services.
“There are more than 18,000 individuals with disabilities waiting for services in Illinois,” Morrison said. “Families across the state are rightfully concerned with the high level of uncertainty about the ability of the state to provide services now and in the future.”
Today’s hearing took testimony about current state compliance with the Ligas Consent Decree, a 2011 court mandate that requires Illinois to provide community-based services to individuals with developmental disabilities.
While the decree has helped transition thousands of individuals from institutional settings to community-based centers, requirements contained in the mandate expire after June 15, 2017, causing concern among parents and advocacy groups.
Another issue discussed at today’s hearing was a recent court decision that Illinois was out of compliance with the Ligas Decree due to the lack of payment increases to providers. Numerous providers have experienced high staff turnover rates and are not able to expand their services.
“Something’s wrong when caring for individuals with disabilities is valued less than flipping burgers or walking pets,” said caregiver Christine Rivera, who works in a suburban Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA).
CHICAGO — In an effort to ensure immigrants get the services they need, Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is headed to Springfield tomorrow to vote for a plan that would help our state’s newest residents.
“It’s been a year since Illinois stopped funding immigrant services,” Martinez said. “Service providers and immigrants are suffering. We need to do the right thing and get immigrant services funded now.”
During the budget impasse, Welcoming Centers have closed their doors due to lack of state funding. Immigration integration services have gone unfunded too.
Welcoming Centers serve as lifelines to our state’s newest residents by offering classes and providing information on topics such as employment training and home ownership.
Immigration integration services include language assistance, health care, citizenship services and other basic supports.
“Immigrants are part of our communities, and we need to have programs and services in place that invest in them and help strengthen the culture and economy of our state,” Martinez said.
According to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, immigrants make up 14 percent of Illinois’ population and 18 percent of the state’s workforce.
The Senate plan Martinez will vote for tomorrow is designed to get immigrant services and other vital human service programs funded. These programs have been without state aid during the budget impasse.
CHICAGO – More than $25 million in state funding for youth employment and after-school programs is up for a vote in the Illinois Senate on Wednesday.
“Once thriving after-school programs on Chicago’s South Side are struggling to remain open,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), a career advocate for youth jobs and violence prevention in the city. “Last year, I met teenage filmmakers at After School Matters who used their cameras to lead anti-violence efforts in our community. Now, those teens are at risk of losing the very activities that kept them safe during dangerous summers.”
In November, Hunter visited the video and music production program TechKno Camp to participate in the students short docudrama focused on violence prevention.
An Illinois Senate-assembled plan would provide $13 million for youth programs like Teen Reach and $12 million for youth employment and after-school programs in the state.
Additional proposals to provide $655 million to public universities including Chicago State University and increase Chicago Public Schools’ funding by $286 million are on the table for Wednesday.
“I hope the governor will give our youth a fighting chance by adequately funding youth programs, K-12 education and public universities,” Hunter said.
The Senate will convene on Wednesday at noon to take action on pending budget measures.
SPRINGFIELD — To open schools on time, fund universities, maintain road projects and protect the state’s most vulnerable, State Senator Melinda Bush called on the General Assembly and Governor Bruce Rauner to pass stop gap funding measures.
“The legislation we’re about to debate in Springfield reflects a compromise for both sides,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “We have a choice this week between fighting for ideology or coming together to fulfill our duty to students, businesses and the people who need our help the most. We must make the right choice.”
A wide-ranging stop gap package includes an increase of $760 million to state schools, including increases to early childhood education at a level proposed by Governor Rauner, $1 billion to higher education to cover operational costs and tuition grants that have gone unpaid during the budget impasse, operational funds for state agencies to ensure facilities such as prisons can remain open, funding for Department of Transportation road projects and $650 million in funding for human services that include programs like autism relief, addiction treatment, and aid to those with mental illness, developmental disability and the blind and aged.
“It is unfortunate that we’re here at the eleventh hour debating a stop gap measure, but it isn’t too late to do what Illinoisans have been clear in calling on us to do: Our jobs,” Bush said. “I call on the governor to do his.”
The General Assembly convenes tomorrow to consider the legislation.
ALTON – 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.
Page 1 of 3