SPRINGFIELD, IL - Senate lawmakers were at the State Capitol for four days, passing a number of legislative measures dealing with a multitude of law changes, according to State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg).
Staff from the Governor's Office continued to meet with Senate Republican and Democrat lawmakers and their appropriations staffs in the hopes of achieving a budget deal. Fowler said Senate Republican lawmakers continue to advocate for reductions in spending and reforms to reverse the culture of waste and lost economic growth opportunities.
Flood dominates the news
Even though Senator Fowler was at the Capitol nearly all week, he stayed in nearly "round-the-clock" contact with local mayors, village presidents, levee districts, and emergency service disaster agency professionals about heavy rains and the resulting localized flooding.
Several creeks and flooding along the Big Muddy River caused local residents to remain vigilant because of the April 27-30 storms, which left much of Southern Illinois with nearly 10 inches of rain. The localized flooding meant that smaller river tributaries quickly filled and flooded neighborhoods in Franklin County and Williamson County, which do not often deal with serious flooding conditions.
Senator Fowler took part in a series of conference calls with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency so as to keep lines of communication open in terms of the state response.
The states of emergency that were declared in Franklin County and Williamson County mark a potential first step to seeking higher levels of disaster relief for flood-ravaged units of government, businesses, and possibly individual properties. Sadly, the thresholds for federal government disaster assistance are quite high and the totality of the damage across the region could take another couple of weeks to assess, as rivers are to crest in the coming days.
Senator Fowler encouraged citizens to check local media resources and with their county-level ESDA to see if any flood assistance may be available.