Manar

  • Senate approves Manar plan to boost K-12 substitute teacher rolls

    manar 042518SPRINGFIELD – The severe shortage of substitute teachers available in rural and downstate school districts would ease under a measure that was approved by the Illinois Senate Wednesday.

    The plan, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), increases to 120 the number of days a retired teacher can return to the classroom as a substitute without affecting his or her retirement status. Currently, the limit is set at 100 days.

  • Manar joins Senate in voting to protect downstate Main Street retailers

    manar 041718Measure will help stabilize rural communities as consumer shopping habits evolve

    SPRINGFIELD – An effort to protect rural and downstate communities by ensuring distant online retailers are playing by the same rules as local brick-and-mortar retailers advanced out of the Senate Tuesday.

    The measure requires out-of-state retailers that do business with Illinois customers to collect a use tax under two conditions: their cumulative gross receipts exceed $100,000 or they have more than 200 separate transactions with customers in Illinois.

    State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is a chief cosponsor of the initiative, Senate Bill 2577. It passed the Senate 39-10 with bipartisan support.

    He represents central Illinois communities that have been hard hit by job losses and declining sales tax revenue for road and sewer projects as long-standing brick-and-mortar retailers have shuttered because of online competition and changing consumer habits.

    “Out-of-state corporations are gaming the system. It’s hurting the small and mid-size retailers our communities rely so deeply upon for goods, services, jobs and revenue,” Manar said. “Online shopping, while good and convenient for rural consumers, has contributed to a tidal wave of brick-and-mortar store closures, job losses and sales tax declines that have local mayors and county boards extremely concerned. I share their worries.”

    Federal law requires retailers with a physical storefront to collect the sales tax required by the jurisdiction where the business is located. If the retailer has a physical presence in a state, it must collect applicable state and local sales tax from customers, regardless of where the sales originates.

    However, if it does not have a presence in a particular state, it is not required to collect sales taxes.

    As consumer shopping habits shift online, local governments are finding their sales tax collections – money often used for local infrastructure improvements – on the decline or stagnant.

    Manar stressed that SB2577 is an effort to level the playing field, not a tax hike.

    “As the economy and consumer habits change, it’s vital that state government is vigilant and changes with them,” Manar said. “If we don’t try to rectify this imbalance, I don’t want to imagine what some of our rural communities will look like in a few years.”

  • Manar calls out Rauner for holding up state grant for Decatur clinic

    manar 041318Clinic’s ability to address Decatur opioid crisis uncertain while state funding is withheld

    SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar is calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to release the $3 million in state money he promised to Decatur’s Crossing Healthcare during a splashy news conference in February.

    More than two months after the governor’s announcement, the Rauner administration has only approved $750,000 for the clinic.

    That’s unacceptable, said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat whose district includes Crossing Healthcare and much of Decatur.

    “Let’s revisit the governor’s track record with money for this clinic. He froze its funding immediately upon taking office in 2015. He blocked negotiations on the Senate’s ‘grand bargain’ budget last year and repeatedly vetoed budgets that would have provided the money the center was owed and desperately needed,” Manar said.

    “I have contacted the comptroller, and her office is prepared to release the full $3 million but can’t do that until Rauner submits the paperwork to do so. I would hate to think the governor could be so cruel as to dangle money in front of a clinic just so he could get in front of a TV camera.”

    Rauner previously froze a promised $3 million construction grant to the clinic for its Community Health Improvement Center.

    Crossing Healthcare is a federally qualified clinic that served more than 19,000 patients in Decatur in 2016. Among its many services is treatment for opioid addiction.

    “Gov. Rauner is going around claiming his administration is doing everything in its power to address the opioid problem. It’s baloney,” Manar said. “And, clearly, he’s not keeping his promises to Decatur.”

  • Effort to settle back wages tab with state workers moves forward

    Sen. Andy ManarState’s oldest debt is outstanding wages for prison workers, caregivers and others

    SPRINGFIELD – An effort to compensate about 24,000 state workers for promised wages going back to 2011 took a step forward Thursday.

    A measure to set aside $63.25 million for the back pay was approved by a Senate appropriations committee. The legislation – Senate Bill 2269 sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) – was approved 14-2 with bipartisan support.

  • Childhood cancer awareness measure receives overwhelming Senate support

    Manar 013118 sb444SPRINGFIELD – Legislation to set aside May 17 of each year to raise awareness of a rare and incurable form of childhood brain cancer was approved Wednesday by the Illinois Senate.

    The measure, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), was prompted by the advocacy efforts of Bunker Hill mother Kim Skief, whose 11-year-old daughter, Grace, died from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, in 2015.

    The Senate approved the measure, Senate Bill 2254, 56-0. It was sent to the House for consideration.

    “Grace’s story is a simple reminder that medical cures and care, sadly, are not guaranteed to all of us. That’s why I’m working with her mother to help raise awareness about this childhood cancer,” Manar said. “Although DIPG is rare, when it strikes it is painful, and unfortunately it is quick.”

    DIPG is an aggressive form of cancer that targets children almost exclusively – about 300 each year in the United States. It affects the part of the brain that controls the heartbeat, breathing, swallowing, sight and eye movement, and balance. It is in operable, and the survival rate is less than 1 percent.

    Grace Skief was a fifth-grader when she was diagnosed with DIPG in April 2015. She died three months later, on July 31, 2015.

    Twenty other states have set aside May 17 to raise awareness of this heart-breaking childhood cancer and the lack of a cure for it.

    Present in the Senate gallery during Wednesday’s vote were Kim Skief and her son, James, both of Bunker Hill; and Grace’s grandmother, Carol Robbins of Alton. Manar thanked them for their advocacy and their courage.

    “Any number of things could happen after tragedy strikes a family, as we often see when families visit us in the Senate,” he said. “At the lowest point the Skief family somehow mustered the strength and courage to move on and make something positive out of what undoubtedly is the most difficult situation anybody could go through.”

    For more information about DIPG, visit http://www.defeatdipg.org and http://www.cancer.gov.

  • Manar measure to raise minimum teacher salaries makes the grade (VIDEO)

    manar 030218Senate committee votes to update Illinois statute for first time since 1980

    SPRINGFIELD – Ensuring teachers earn a livable minimum salary is one significant step Illinois can take to recruit more educators into rural and downstate classrooms and address the ongoing shortage, State Senator Andy Manar said today.

    The Senate Education Committee approved his measure raising Illinois’ minimum mandated salary for full-time teachers for the first time since 1980.

    “Fewer talented young people are going into the teaching profession for numerous reasons, one of which is pay. Would-be teachers can get a higher salary right out of college in other areas of the workforce, which his opposite of our priorities and our needs in this state,” he said.

  • Schools to receive new money from education funding overhaul

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    Illinois schools will soon see millions in new money through the education funding overhaul passed by the Senate last year.

    The Illinois State Board of Education on Thursday issued vouchers to the state comptroller that clear the way for local school districts to begin receiving money under Illinois’ new evidence-based model of funding public schools.

    The distribution – which is based on detailed enrollment figures, district-specific student learning needs, available local resources and other data – is the first step toward right-sizing state support for every school district. No schools will ever receive less state funding than they do today under the new plan.

  • Hastings, Manar tour downstate coal facility

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  • Senate clears way for Illinois to proceed with delayed school funding model

    manar 031418Manar urges governor to sign measure promptly

    SPRINGFIELD – The state will be able to distribute eagerly awaited funding under Illinois’ new education formula as soon as April under legislation approved by the Senate – as long as the governor chooses to act quickly when it reaches his desk.

    The measure, approved Wednesday, is a trailer bill to Illinois’ historic 550-page school funding reform law. It was requested by state education officials who said clarifications and corrections were needed to the original language before they could ensure money would be distributed as intended under the new funding model.

  • Rural hospitals protected from financial distress under bipartisan deal

    manar 030218Plan guarantees continued health care, employment in central Illinois

    SPRINGFIELD – The six critical access hospitals that serve Macoupin, Montgomery and Christian counties will not experience an interruption in vital federal funds under a bipartisan deal that was reached in Springfield.

    The deal, signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner Monday in Chicago, is the framework for modernizing Illinois’ $3.5 billion Medicaid Hospital Assessment Program. The federal government must sign off on the state’s proposal. The deadline is June 30.

  • Payroll offshoring by governors to be a thing of the past

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  • Manar resolution acknowledges Illinois’ 20,000 social workers

    manar 030218Declares March 2018 Social Work Month in Illinois

    SPRINGFIELD – As Illinois grapples with how to address such pressing challenges as violence, addiction, poverty and equal rights, an army of social workers is there to offer help and guidance.

    In fact, more than 20,000 licensed social workers are employed throughout Illinois to help people in times of crisis. They work in school districts, colleges and universities, state and local government, social service agencies, the military, health care and mental health organizations and private practices.

    Senate Resolution 1371, sponsored by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), declares March 2018 Social Work Month in Illinois. It was adopted by the Senate Thursday.

    “This resolution recognizes the accomplishments of social workers who are in our school districts, in our government buildings and working in private employment every day,” Manar said.

    “They are there to help children and adults on their worst days – to cope with grief and uncertainty, to overcome abuse and addiction, to recover from a disaster when all seems lost, and to gather the courage to face down discrimination and bullying.”

    This year’s Social Work Month theme is “Social Workers” Leaders. Advocates. Champions.” According to the National Association of Social Workers, the profession is expected to grow faster than average during the next seven years, with more than 649,000 people employed as social workers by 2024.

    Social workers are the largest group of providers of mental health services in Illinois, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the largest employers of social workers holding advanced degrees.

    Mary Garrison, professor of social work at Millikin University in Decatur, said NASW is honored to have Manar sponsor a resolution for Social Work Month 2018.

    “This year's theme supports the efforts of Illinois’s 20,000 licensed social workers and Senator Manar to work actively to meet the needs of those facing barriers of injustice and impacted by abuse, neglect, poverty, addiction and mental illness,” she said. “Illinois social workers thank Senator Manar for recognizing our professional efforts to ensure rights for all through engagement, intervention and advocacy.”

  • Manar seeks formal audit of response to veterans home deaths

    manar 021518SPRINGFIELD – Senator Andy Manar and state lawmakers are pressing for an audit of the Rauner administration’s handling of a deadly disease outbreak at the state-run veterans home in Quincy.

    The administration has been reluctant to voluntarily produce documents and other information requested by lawmakers that would shed light on the response to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed 13 people at the Illinois Veterans Home since 2015.

    The materials could help guide the General Assembly in setting policy and passing laws to protect veterans and employees at the facility and other state buildings where the Legionella bacteria has been detected.

    “By refusing to be cooperative with lawmakers, the Rauner administration has left us with no choice but to seek an audit that will produce the kind of information we need,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and chairman of the Senate Appropriations II Committee.

    “Our job is to protect our constituents and to act in the best interest of the people of Illinois. Until we can properly assess how this crisis developed and how it was handled, we won’t know what we can do to help prevent more deadly outbreaks in the future.”

    Manar is chief co-sponsor of Senate Resolution 1186, which was adopted by the Senate Thursday.

    The resolution asks that the audit focus on the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs’ management of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks and that it include:

    • The department’s responses in 2015, 2016 and 2017, including recommendations made in a 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and the department’s actions to address the recommendations.
    • The type, cost and timing of any infrastructure or building improvements that could contain the spread of Legionnaires’ or prevent it from reoccurring.
    • Changes made by the department to its operating protocols and staff training to prevent the spread of Legionnaires’.
    • The nature and extent of monitoring conducted by the department to determine if the changes put in place are effective and ensure the safety of residents and staff.
    • The amount of state money received or expended during fiscal years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 for infrastructure improvements, monitoring and other measures to address the outbreaks.
    • Information about whether the veterans home has been the subject of any legal or compliance reviews since 2015 regarding the care of residents and the results of those reviews.

    Three new cases of Legionnaires’ disease were confirmed at the Quincy veterans home this week. No additional fatalities were reported.

    In addition, officials confirmed this week that a patient at the Chester Mental Health Center in southern Illinois has tested positive for Legionnaires’.

    And earlier this month, state employees were notified that Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, was detected at the Illinois Capitol Complex in Springfield.

  • Senate Dems react to governor's Fiscal 2019 budget address

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  • Manar calls on State Board of Education to finalize school funding details

    manar 031617State Senator Andy Manar is urging state education officials to submit a plan to disseminate the $350 million in additional state funding that was promised when a new school funding formula was signed into law Aug. 31.

    During a hearing Tuesday, members of the Senate’s Education Committee discussed the nearly 20 changes that the Illinois State Board of Education has suggested should be made to the new school funding formula.

  • Senators react to governor's State of the State speech

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  • Manar: Override vote helps put school funding back on track

    Manar 013118 sb444SPRINGFIELD – Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s erroneous veto of Senate Bill 444:

    "The Senate's override vote helps to correct a poor governing decision that so far has delayed execution of the new school funding formula by nearly three months. I look forward to the House taking the same course of action so that we can put this sorry situation behind us and allow the Illinois State Board of Education to move forward with its work. Schools and communities all over the state are anxious for this to be ironed out once and for all."

  • Manar announces library grants to local school districts

    school library grants 0118BUNKER HILL – Seventeen local school districts will receive more than $22,000 in grants through the Illinois secretary of state’s School Library Grant program, Senator Andy Manar announced today.

    The grants, which are issued by the Illinois State Library, are meant to help public schools offer more library books and materials to students.

    “I am pleased that so many deserving central Illinois schools will benefit from this year’s library grants,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “This support will go a long way toward helping school libraries offer new and updated materials as children hone their reading skills and discover the thrill of picking up a great book.”

  • Senators announce plan to connect rural schools to high-speed internet

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  • Governor’s veto of school funding creates potential chaos for Illinois schools, new funding formula

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