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Manar urges school superintendents to be wary of fake school funding data

manar 051917SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar is urging Illinois school superintendents to be aware that misleading figures are being peddled about Senate Bill 1, the school funding plan that passed in the Illinois Senate this week.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office this afternoon acknowledged the figures are inaccurate and outdated but stopped short of denouncing them.

“This appears to be a textbook example of fake news. I am disturbed as to how and why this information was put out there and framed as official information from the Rauner administration, clearly with the intent of confusing and misleading people about Senate Bill 1,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat.

“Senate Democrats have asked the executive inspector general to look into that, but right now I want to make sure school superintendents are aware that outdated information is fraudulently being passed off as up-to-date news about Senate Bill 1.

“Furthermore, I hope Gov. Rauner and Education Secretary Beth Purvis will follow our lead and alert school officials about this misleading information to set the record straight. Anything less makes them complicit in a concerted effort to jeopardize Illinois’ shot at achieving meaningful school funding reform.”

Illinois Senate approves Manar’s library taxing district measure

manar 042617SPRINGFIELD – Thanks to a proposal State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) passed through the Illinois Senate this week, Illinois residents will be less likely to find themselves living in a new library taxing district without their consent.

Manar’s proposal, Senate Bill 864, was approved 55-0 Wednesday in the Senate.

“Taxation without representation was one of the principals our founding fathers fought against,” Manar said. “Libraries are important assets to our communities, but property taxpayers deserve to have a say on their property tax bill.”

The measure was prompted by a municipal library in Macoupin County that converted to a public library district. The new public library taxing district included three additional communities that had not been included in the former taxing district.

Similar situations are happening across the state. Because of ambiguous phrasing of current state law, residents in those communities did not have a direct say in whether they wished to be included in the taxing district for a library potentially many miles from their home.

Senate Bill 864 bars a public library from converting to a library district that includes areas not previously taxed before the conversion without direct approval of local governments. It will close two loopholes currently in the law that allow municipal library to become a library district without the consent of municipalities and areas that would be included and taxes in the new district.

Manar advances update to Illinois’ genetic privacy law

manar 042617SPRINGFIELD – A controversial plan before Congress that would permit companies to fine workers who refuse to share their genetic information through workplace wellness programs has prompted Illinois lawmakers to tighten up a state law protecting workers from such repercussions.

“We’re seeing changes proposed at the federal level that are concerning to me and to others,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and sponsor of Senate Bill 318. “The goal here is only to protect the genetic information of individuals when that information might be used against them in the employee-employer relationship.”

The legislation advanced out of the Senate Labor Committee Wednesday. It was prompted by news that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, in March proposed the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (HR1313).

Supporters said the measure would enable employers to have the “legal certainty” to promote good health while lowering health care costs. However, critics said it would allow employers to pressure workers to share their private genetic information by rewarding them with lower health insurance costs, while penalizing those who choose not to disclose such details.

The Winston-Salem Journal, Foxx’s hometown newspaper, called the measure an example of “big government run amok,” in an editorial urging Congress to kill it.

Under Illinois’ Genetic Information Privacy Act, employers must handle genetic testing consistent with the federal laws. It prevents employers from requiring genetic testing as a condition of employment, from changing terms of employment as a result of genetic information, or from classifying employees based on genetic testing. Further, it says testing done in the context of a workplace wellness program is available to employers only in aggregate form, not on an individual basis.

Manar’s proposed update to the law would bar employers from penalizing workers who choose not to disclose their genetic information or do not participate in a program that requires disclosure of their genetic information.

“I think we have a strong law in Illinois, but I don’t think it’s very strong about barring employers from penalizing employees,” he said.

Manar, McCann urge governor to pivot on prison nurse outsourcing

Senator Andy ManarSPRINGFIELD – Bipartisan legislation that would allow 124 Illinois prison nurses to breathe a sigh of relief about their future landed on the governor’s desk today, and two central Illinois senators who sponsored the measure are urging him to rethink his position on privatizing prison jobs.

“There is no evidence that outsourcing these jobs, as Gov. Rauner proposed, will save money. You can’t just look at one side of the ledger and claim you’re driving a bargain for taxpayers,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and a sponsor of Senate Bill 19, which would protect the jobs of 322 state employees who work for the Illinois Department of Corrections as nurses, medical technicians and mental health professionals.

Sen. Andy Manar

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48th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Higher Education; Committee of the Whole; Executive Appointments (Vice-Chairperson); Education; Labor.

Biography: Born November 15, 1975, in Bunker Hill; B.A. in History, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; past chairman of Macoupin County Board; married (wife, Trista), has three children.