Southern Illinois

  • Human services cuts devastating Southern Illinois

    biss forby carbondaleSouthern Illinois is disproportionately affected by the state’s budget impasse, with numerous counties south of Interstate 70 reeling from the loss of mental and public health services, growing wait lists for treatment and increased uncertainty for families, children and seniors.

    That was the alarming message from panels of social service and health care providers who testified before the Senate’s Human Services Committee last week at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, is chairman of the committee and traveled to Carbondale for the hearing. Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, joined Biss to listen to the providers.

  • Forby‚Äôs facility tours highlight how budget disproportionately effects Southern Illinois

    forby map training centerState Senator Forby (D-Benton) toured several rehabilitation and healthcare facilities to discuss the consequences Southern Illinois faces if Governor Rauner doesn’t work with legislators to pass a budget. Senator Forby listened to suggestions from the community affected by the budget so he can bring their recommendations to Springfield.  

    “Governor Rauner is holding the budget process hostage in exchange for proposals in his wage-killing turnaround agenda,” Senator Forby said.

  • Forby stands up for coal jobs in southern Illinois

    forby coalToday, State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) stood with a bipartisan group of legislators in support of House Joint Resolution 687, which calls on the federal government to give the state additional time to review how the Draft Stream Protection Rule would affect surface coal mines in Illinois.

    The proposed rule would amend, modify or revise more than 450 provisions of the existing regulatory program. The additional time to review the over 2,000-page proposal that took six years to complete would ensure coal resources are used effectively and resourcefully.

    “In my district, we are closing everything and we don’t need to lose any more jobs,” Forby said. “Coal will be here for a while because it accounts for more than 50 percent of our state’s energy. The current proposal threatens to close coal plants in Southern Illinois, while unemployment rates are already unreasonably high. It’s getting to the point that you can’t come to Southern Illinois and work. The prisons are closing, juvenile detention centers are closing."

    "What are left to do? We need the additional time to make sure everything is done right to make sure we don’t lose any jobs.”

  • Panel votes to keep Hardin County Work Camp and museums open

    forby cogfavoteThe Committee on Government Forecasting and Accountability held a hearing this morning to discuss the economic impact of the closing several state facilities. The panel voted in favor of keeping Hardin County Work Camp and the Southern Illinois Art and Artisans Center open.

    Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed closing the work camp and museum during the state’s budget impasse. However, any facility closing that impacts a large number of state workers must be reviewed by COGFA, which is made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate.

    Senator Forby issued the following statement:

    “Cutting Hardin Work Camp is irresponsible. Inmates living here help local governments during natural disasters, save surrounding counties millions of dollars in project costs and inmates donate 7,000 hours per month in community service to neighboring cities. These are the types of facilities that allow inmates to pay their debt to society while also developing skills, so once they are released they don’t come back.

    "Now that the panel has sided with the people, the governor has a great opportunity to show Illinoisans that he is a statesman who works for the people and not special interests. The recommendation to keep the facility open was supported by both Democrats and Republicans, so we hope the governor will be responsible and keep the facility open and keep jobs in Southern Illinois.”