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McGuire urges governor to sign emergency human services bill

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.

June 1 budget update

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.

Budget update for May 27

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

McGuire helps make future workforce more competitive

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.

Sen. Pat McGuire

mcguire-2014-150

43rd District

Years served:
2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Environment and Conservation; Higher Education (Chairperson); Revenue; State Government (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Former teacher, school board member, Will County treasurer and Braidwood City Clerk; attended Joliet Catholic schools from first grade through college; married (Lora) with one daughter (Molly).

Associated Representatives:
John Connor
Lawrence Walsh, Jr.