Week-in-Review: May 14-18, 2018

State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) is sharing news from the Rend Lake Conservancy District about the recent water shortage and the successful efforts to repair the main line, restoring water access to communities. According to District officials, the Intercity Water Plant is pumping water into the system and the lake intake and treatment plant have been returned to service. Officials also report that the system will be on a boil water order until testing shows that the water is safe for consumption.

Senator Fowler returned to the District after session adjourned on Friday, meeting with officials at the Marion Emergency Management Agency, visiting Rend Lake and receiving an update on the successful main line repairs and ongoing efforts to lift the boil order.

“I want to applaud everyone involved who helped bring this crisis to a swift resolution, including our local Emergency Management officials, the American Red Cross, our local mayors, municipalities and the Rend Lake Conservancy District. Their quick action to repair the line, keep the public informed, coordinate with public officials and restore water flow back to our communities deserves to be recognized,” said Sen. Fowler. “Several local communities came together to establish public water distribution sites and work through this critical issue. I’m both impressed and proud of how our emergency officials handled the situation and how the communities came together to get through this crisis.”

The Franklin County Emergency management Agency is keeping people up-to-date with the latest news on this issue on their Facebook, www.facebook.com/FCEMA.

In other news, tourism is at an all-time-high here in Illinois according to recently released figures from the governor’s office. According to a recent press release from the Administration, a total of 114 million people visited the Prairie State last year, which was up by 1.6 million or 3 percent since 2016. Those visitors generated approximately $39.5 billion in spending, up $1.1 billion from 2016.

Sen. Fowler is encouraged by those numbers, noting the important role that the tourism industry plays in Illinois’ economy.

“Tourism is a major job creator and economic driver here in Illinois and throughout the region,” said Sen. Fowler. “Illinois has so much to offer in terms of attractions and experiences. In Southern Illinois especially, we have so many unique places for tourists to visit. It is so important that we draw attention to an industry that is so important to our state.”

Senator Fowler currently hosts a “Southern Illinois Treasures” video series, highlighting some of the locations and attractions available throughout the 59th District. Sen. Fowler will be recording more segments of his “Southern Illinois Treasures” series this summer. Previous episodes of Senator Fowler’s “Southern Illinois Treasure” series are available on his website, senatorfowler.com.

Meanwhile budget negotiators from both sides of the aisle, and from both chambers, continued work toward a balanced budget this past week.  As those negotiations continued, the four legislative leaders met with Governor Rauner all in an attempt to meet the May 31 deadline for passing a budget.  Republicans remain committed to ensuring the state passes a balanced budget without another tax increase.

In other news from the Capitol, Senator Fowler’s legislation designating November 4 as the GI Bill of Rights Day unanimously passed the Senate this week. Senator Fowler was the chief co-sponsors to House Bill 4954, recognizing the landmark legislation that provided benefits to World War II veterans.

News from the District

Senator Fowler honored coal miners and those in the coal mining industry this week at the Old King Coal Festival in West Frankfort, speaking at the Coal Miner’s Memorial.

“The coal mining industry plays a major part in Illinois’ rich history, especially here in Southern Illinois. Communities across this nation and in this state were built around mines, railroads and the opportunities made possible by mining,” said Fowler.

Visitors to the Capitol

This week, Senator Fowler welcomed 14-year-old Sydney Stuck to the Capitol as his “Page for the Day.” The 8th grader from Carterville Jr. High School joined Sen. Fowler for a day in the Senate, watching floor action and touring the Capitol.

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