• Forby: Attack on Pontiac guards a direct result of Tamms closure

    tammsA recent attack on prison guards at Pontiac Correctional Center serves to highlight the short-sighted decision to close a prison in Southern Illinois.

    Tamms Correctional Center, a “supermax” prison that housed Illinois’ most dangerous criminals, closed its doors in 2013 as a casualty of then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget. State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) led the fight four years ago to keep the prison open and is urging the current governor to reconsider his predecessor’s decision.

  • Forby sponsored "Molly‚Äôs Law" signed by governor

    forby coalSPRINGFIELD – In March of 2012, Molly Young, a 21-year-old Carbondale resident, was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in her ex-boyfriend’s apartment. When insufficient evidence was found to rule the incident either a homicide or a suicide to issue an indictment, Young’s family filed a civil suit against the boyfriend to seek justice for their daughter.

    Justice never came to the Young family because, under Illinois’ current law, the statute of limitations on wrongful death claims is two years.

    Legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton), House Bill 6083, was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday to raise the statute of limitations on wrongful death claims to five years.

    “The story of Molly Young is a tragic one. This family has yet to get answers they need for the closure and justice they deserve because, unfortunately, time ran out,” Forby said. “ I think this is an injustice to the family, and I don’t want similar stories to arise. When a death occurs as a result of violent and intentional conduct, two years is not enough time to fully investigate what happened and bring the culprit to justice.”

    Another part of Molly’s Law signed Tuesday is House Bill 4715.

    The measure will impose civil penalties for instances of a public body’s willful and intentional failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act. This was in response to the Young family’s repeatedly blocked FOIA attempts to receive information about the case.

    “FOIA requests are meant to provide transparency and give citizens information they need,” Forby added. “Under no circumstances should FOIA requests such as these be blocked. I hope this legislation will help bring the Young family the justice they deserve.”

  • Forby saves road construction projects, keeps job in Southern Illinois

    forby bailoutBENTON – Millions of dollars worth of construction projects in Southern Illinois remain on track thanks to a state budget agreement Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) helped approve.

    The list of projects slated for construction includes:

    • A $6.3 million bridge replacement project in Union County at the Illinois 146 interchange
    • $1.4 million in funding to resurface Skyline Drive in Marion.
    • $800,000 in funding to repair bridge joints on the Mississippi River Bridge in Cairo

    Those are a few of the Southern Illinois projects included in the agreement. Statewide, nearly $2 billion worth of construction would have shut down on July 1 if no budget was in place.

    Senator Forby was part of the working groups that helped piece together the framework of a deal that lawmakers and the governor finalized on June 30.

    “When thousands of jobs are on the line, I step up and do something about it,” Forby said. “Before we adjourned last month, we passed an important measure to ensure construction continues and these important jobs stay in Southern Illinois.” 

  • Forby saves road construction jobs in Southern Illinois

    forby bailoutBENTON – Millions of dollars worth of construction projects in Southern Illinois remain on track thanks to a state budget agreement Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) helped approve.

    The list of projects slated for construction includes:

    • A $6.3 million bridge replacement project in Union County at the Illinois 146 interchange
    • $1.4 million in funding to resurface Skyline Drive in Marion.
    • $800,000 in funding to repair bridge joints on the Mississippi River Bridge in Cairo

    Those are a few of the Southern Illinois projects included in the agreement. Statewide, nearly $2 billion worth of construction would have shut down on July 1 if no budget was in place.

  • Shared priorities, common ground yield budget action (AUDIO)

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  • Forby working to save road construction jobs in Southern Illinois

    forby 051716BENTON – Illinois State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) said he fully supports a plan to save road construction jobs in Southern Illinois.

    Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced it would have to cease all road construction jobs in Illinois due to the lack of state funding.

    “When I heard that IDOT was planning to stop road projects, I thought about the hard-working men and women that would lose their jobs if that happened. As a person who has made job creation my number one priority, I can’t stand by and let that happen,” said Forby.

    Senate Bill 2047 includes a plan that includes a full IDOT capital program for road and transit, as well as payments to local governments from gas taxes.

    “Not only will this legislation help keep jobs in our community, but it will also ensure money that is owed to local communities through gas taxes is released to help with important expenditures,” Forby added.

    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.

  • Forby: Southern Illinois schools deserve fair share

    forby bailoutBENTON - Southern Illinois schools would be big winners under a clean school funding plan being finalized that Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) said he will support at the Capitol on Wednesday.

    Local schools would see their state support increase by nearly $10 million over what they received this past year. In fact, Forby said no school would lose funding if the plan manages to become law, which would require approval in the Senate, Illinois House and the governor’s signature.

    “No more games. People need to put politics aside to ensure our schools open on time,” Forby said. “This plan fully funds our schools. Springfield will stop shortchanging us and cheating our schools, our students, our teachers and our taxpayers out of the money they were promised.”

    As proposed, for the first time in years the state would fully fund its commitment to local schools, and put an end to several years’ worth of the state knowingly cutting back payments to them. This practice was especially unfair to Southern Illinois schools while wealthy suburban Chicago districts were able to cope more easily with the cuts.

    Examples of local school gains under the proposal:

    Herrin School District would see a $914,000 increase, raising its state support to more than $11.7 million. That’s an 8 percent increase over previous state support.

    Marion School District would see a nearly $882,000 increase, which would take its total state aid to more than $9.5 million. That’s a 10 percent increase over what the state provided last year.

    Massac School District would get a nearly $576,000 increase to more than $9.1 million in state aid. That’s a 7 percent increase in state support.

    Cairo School District would get an additional $522,000. Total state support for Cairo schools would be more than $3.6 million, a 17 percent increase.

    Harrisburg School District would see its state support increase by more than $623,000 to almost $9.8 million. That’s a 7 percent increase.

    Forby said the deal is too good for Southern Illinois to pass up.

    “Every school in the region will see an increase in funding. That’s a plan I can support,” Forby said. “We all know Southern Illinois schools have been shortchanged for years. That ends now. It’s time we got our fair share.”

    The Senate plans to take up the proposal on Wednesday.

  • Forby challenges governor to keep jobs in Southern Illinois, open Hardin Work Camp

    forby hardin work campBENTON – State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) expressed his disappointment that the governor’s news conference in Southern Illinois today wasn’t to announce jobs for Southern Illinois. The Rauner Administration cut jobs in the region by closing the Hardin Work Camp. Bringing quality jobs to Southern Illinois has been Senator Forby’s top priority and one that he believes the governor should share.

    Senator Forby released the following statement on Wednesday:

    “I was hoping the governor was coming to Southern Illinois to tell us he is going to reopen the Hardin County Work Camp and help put Southern Illinois back to work. I guess not. What Southern Illinois needs is more jobs, not more Rauner news conferences. I work for the people of Southern Illinois and my biggest initiative is to bring jobs back to the region. I would think this is something the governor could get on board with.”

  • Forby passes measure to reopen Hardin County Work Camp in Southern Illinois

    forby hardincountySPRINGFIELD – State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) has been hard at work on an issue important to Southern Illinois: reopening the Hardin County Work Camp. Today, he made progress by passing a measure through the Senate to do just that.

    House Bill 4326 would require the Illinois Department of Corrections to operate the Hardin County Work Camp.

    “I am happy to see this measure gain such great support from my colleagues both in the Senate and the House,” said Forby.

  • Senator Forby on the Hardin Work Camp

    Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) argues to raise funding for the Hardin Work Camp by 1%.

  • Forby passes legislation for school construction grants through Senate

    forby siu surplusSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) that would reappropriate funds from the School Construction Fund and the Capital Development Fund for ongoing school construction and improvements passed through the Illinois Senate Tuesday.
    The measure would free up funds for outstanding school construction grants as well as give the Capital Development Board the ability to fund emergency projects.

    “We need to ensure our schools have the resources they need to stay up to date,” said Forby. “If schools don’t have the resources to make sure their buildings are up to code, to recover from natural disasters or to enable those with disabilities are access the buildings, then we are not ensuring students have the learning environments they need to excel.”

    School construction grants are based on natural disasters, projects to alleviate classroom shortages, and rehabilitate buildings due to safety hazards and to keep buildings up to code for people with disabilities.

    “We cannot send kids to schools in buildings that have damage,” Forby added. “This is about making sure our students have the best environment to learn in.”

    The legislation would free up funds for schools throughout Illinois, and would make construction funds available for Marion Community Unit School District 2 and Meridian Community Unit School District 101 in the area Forby represents.

    The measure passed the Senate with a vote of 53 to 0 and will now go to the House for consideration.

  • Forby seeks to protect 2nd Amendment rights for active duty military

    forby 051716SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) that would allow non-resident military members stationed in Illinois to obtain a concealed-carry license was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

    Forby, who was the Senate sponsor on the concealed-carry legislation that was signed into law in 2013, has been a strong voice on 2nd Amendment rights in Illinois.

    “This is an important bill to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of active military members stationed in Illinois,” said Forby.

  • Senate approves stopgap funding for social services (AUDIO)

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  • Forby joins Southern Illinois coal colleagues (AUDIO)

    forby coalSen. Forby joined legislators from Southern Illinois on Tuesday to discuss the status of coal in Southern Illinois.

    During the press conference Forby spoke on the importance of the coal industry in Southern Illinois.

    “Coal is the number one issue we have down home. It’s good for jobs,” said Forby. “Fifty percent of our power comes from coal. Coal is not going to go away, and we the have the best coal in the state of Illinois. As much money as we spend on coal from western states, we could put scrubbers here in Southern Illinois and put people back to work. That’s why we are here today - to put people back to work.”

    For full audio of Forby’s statements click below.

  • Senate votes to restore more higher education funding

    mapoverridePublic universities and community colleges across Illinois would see a substantial portion of their state funding reinstated under legislation the Illinois Senate approved Wednesday.

    Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) led efforts to restore $453.4 million in higher education funding. Included is $46 million for the popular student assistance program known as MAP, which provides assistance for low-income college students.

  • Haine, Forby working to protect the road fund


    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.

  • Forby: Southern Illinois schools need better K-12 funding (VIDEO, AUDIO)

    At a press conference at the Capitol on Thursday, State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) joined State Representative’s Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) and John Bradley (D-Marion) in speaking out about the need for better K-12 funding.

    Sen. Forby released the following statement:

    “Our district has been hit as hard as any other place in Illinois. The state shut our prisons down, they shut our juvenile detention centers down, now they want to shut our schools down. Schools are our last straw. They talk about downsizing our prisons - well, you’re not going to downsize our prisons if you shut our schools down."

  • Senate sends higher ed funding bill to governor, social services to House (AUDIO)

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  • Senator Forby speaks about fair education funding

    Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) speaks at a recent press conference about the importance of fair and equitable education funding.

  • Sen. Forby helps set up scholarship fund for SIU

    forby 042016SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) passed a measure out of the Senate on Wednesday that would allow the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University to sell, lease or transfer surplus real estate, and use the profits gained to set up a scholarship fund.

    “SIU is one of Southern Illinois’ greatest assets,” Forby said. “When I have a chance to help the university push forward and help students continue receiving a quality education, I intend to do so. Giving students access to scholarships is a common sense action to take. I am happy to see this measure gain such great support by my colleagues in the Senate.”

    The measure, Senate Bill 2790, was introduced by Forby as way to assist the university in letting go of surplus land, thereby putting funding back into the SIU system, 100 percent of which would go into a scholarship fund.

    The legislation passed the Senate Wednesday and will now go to the House for consideration.