Senate lawmakers returned to the Capitol on May 1 to begin the final month of scheduled spring session. Senate action last week included Senate Republicans pushing a bill to prohibit cost-of-living pay increases for lawmakers, legislation that lets motorists register their vehicles for more than a one-year period, and a bill aimed at protecting the integrity of the non-profit grant process.
State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) also introduced legislation that codifies Federal HUBZone definitions and allows procurement officers to establish rules relating to HUBZones for the Illinois Procurement Code.
HUBZones, which stands for Historically Underutilized Business Zones, is a program that provides assistance to small businesses located in areas with economic challenges, including low median incomes and historically high unemployment.
“This is about giving businesses in urban or rural areas, typically not as economically developed or utilized, the chance to be viewed on the same playing field as other businesses and hopefully stimulate future economic growth and investment opportunities,” said Sen. Fowler. “By codifying the definition of HUBZones, we are ensuring that procurement officers have a clear understanding about what it means for a small businesses to operate in HUBZone areas.”
Senate Bill 2675 received unanimous support in the Senate and will now advance to the House for further consideration.
Sen. Fowler also sponsored legislation calling for a feasibility study to be conducted on linking together seven golf courses across Illinois, creating the Abraham Lincoln Golf Trail. Sen. Fowler is excited to explore this tourism initiative and the possibilities the Trail would create for the 59th Senate District.
In other state news, Sen. Fowler voted in favor of a measure that would give motorists the option to register their vehicles for more than one year at a time, noting that the measure provides a convenience to Illinois drivers and would save the state money.
Passed by the Senate on May 1, Senate Bill 2293 would allow motorists, beginning in 2020, to register their vehicles for one or two years. It would also allow owners of trailers to register their trailer up to five years. The price per year would be the same, but an individual would be able to pay it up front and not have to change their sticker every year.
News from the District
Sen. Fowler is reminding Southern Illinois businesses that there is still time to register for the upcoming Southern Illinois Made Expo scheduled for July 28 and 29 at the Pavilion in Marion. Approximately 80 businesses have already registered as vendors for the event, signing up to showcase their products, creations and tasty treats. Interested parties can visit simade.org for more information about the Expo, including current participating vendors, exhibitor registration information and sponsorship guidelines. Sen. Fowler is excited to see so many businesses taking part in the Expo, noting that this will be a great opportunity for local businesses to interact with the public.
Also showing their support for the business initiative, the Egyptian Board of Realtors presented the Southern Illinois Made Expo with a $5,000 check on May 4 to help offset costs for the event. Sen. Fowler applauded the Board for their donation, noting that these funds will help direct even more money toward the Expo’s official charity, the Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois. The program honors veterans by offering a free trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the monuments and memorials erected to honor our veterans.
In other news, Sen. Fowler joined Blue Ridge Tractor to celebrate the opening of their new location in Benton, and getting to experience the company’s machinery firsthand. The Senator is excited for this business development and wishes Blue Ridge Tractor success in the community.
Finally, Sen. Fowler joined the Harrisburg Medical Center for their Great Gatsby Casino Night charity event on April 28.