config

Senator Haine reacts to leadership meeting

haine lgdfSPRINGFIELD – In response to the meeting Governor Bruce Rauner held with legislative leaders today, State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) released the following statement:

“I am happy to see this meeting happen. This is an important first step in getting a constructive dialogue going in order to compromise on tough issues. It is extremely important we take concrete steps to end this impasse. There is still much to be done to bring Illinois to its rightful place as a leader in manufacturing, agricultural production and shipping.  

“Illinois has always been a leader in education and infrastructure, such as highways, bridges and levee repairs. We need to ensure that Illinois fights its way back into a leadership role in the industrial, financial and agricultural sectors. Our economic base is at stake and we need to get down to business. We need to deemphasize the agendas and move toward cooperation for the common good.”

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.

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's Burn Victims Relief Act signed into law

haine alton godfrey rdSPRINGFIELD – On Monday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a measure offering relief to fatally injured burn victims by cutting the red tape to qualify for disability benefits.

The act, also called the George Bailey Memorial Program, provides that burn victims who doctors expect to live for less than 18 months will immediately receive the five months’ pay they would have received from Social Security had there not been a mandatory five-month waiting period.

“When people suffer traumatic and fatal injuries they should not be denied the funds they would have received under better circumstances. This measure offers relief to individuals and their families in a time of hardship,” said Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton).

The measure was originally filed in the House by State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville).  

“George Bailey’s family has worked very hard to see this law through,” said Hoffman. “The story of the late George Bailey is tragic, and I want to ensure that families do not have to go through the same painstaking process of waiting months for reimbursements. When someone suffers traumatic burn injuries, they should not have to wait to receive help with the high costs of medical care.”

Currently under the Social Security Act there is a mandatory five-month waiting period applied to Social Security Disability Income claims. A disabled person may only receive payments beginning on the sixth month after their injury. This law removes that waiting period for severely injured burn victims.

Janie Bailey, cousin of the late George Bailey said, “We are so excited that this legislation has passed. This bill will help so many people. Thank you to everyone that made this bill a reality and in the name of George Bailey.”

The measure, HB 4006, was signed into law today by Governor Rauner and will go into effect January 1.

Sen. William R. Haine

haine 150

Assistant Majority Leader
56th District

Years served:
2002 - 2018

Committee assignments: Criminal Law; Insurance (Vice-Chairperson); Judiciary; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Veterans Affairs.

Biography: Born 8 August 1944, in Alton, Illinois. United States Army Veteran; one tour of duty, Vietnam (1967-69); Bachelors Degree, St. Louis University (1967); Juris Doctorate, St. Louis University School of Law (1974). Member, Madison County Board (1978, 1982-86); Metro-East Transit District Board of Trustees (1981-88); Madison County State's Attorney (1988-2002). Wife, Anna, 7 children, 31 grandchildren.