Senate Week-in-review: July 16-20

The Southern Illinois Made Expo will be taking place on July 28 and July 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pavilion in Marion. Come out and visit Senator Fowler’s legislative informational booth, located directly outside the event.

Staff will be available to answer questions, hear concerns and provide helpful information on a number of issues. Appointments are not required.

After visiting the legislative informational booth, the public is invited to attend the Southern Illinois Made Expo. The event will feature dozens of area vendors, showcasing their unique products, innovative creations and tasty treats made, sold and located right here in Southern Illinois.

A number of other entertainment option will be available throughout the event for attendees, including immersive virtual reality tours, a “Kids Corner” and various performances from local talent. 

Consider coming out and joining Senator Fowler for a one-of-a-kind experience, supporting local businesses and seeing just how well it really is made in Southern Illinois.

In other news, Governor Rauner took action on a number of gun bills this week that continue to cause law-abiding gun owners concerns.

House Bill 2354 will allow family members or law enforcement to petition the court to have firearms removed from individuals believed to be a danger to themselves or others. The second measure signed was Senate Bill 3256 which extends the current 72-hour waiting period for handguns to include all guns purchased in Illinois.

“Public safety will always be a priority of mine, but we have to ensure that in our efforts to address gun violence we don’t unnecessarily infringe upon the Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of our law-abiding gun owners,” said Sen. Fowler. “Gun legislation should always be considered in its entirety, ensuring that we are being as precise and limited as possible to adequately respond to a need in our state while still protecting the rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment.”

Senator Fowler voted against House Bill 2354, citing the overly broad language as a possible pitfall that could allow for potentially unfounded accusations to justify the removal of a licensed gun owners’ firearms. Concerns were also raised about the limited due process allowed for a respondent.

Opponents also noted that Senate Bill 3256 undermines individuals’’ Second Amendment rights while failing to address the root problem of gun violence. Opponents said there must be a balance to work in the interest of public safety while also protecting gun owners. They advocated instead for legislation that holds criminals accountable for the actions and does more to help those suffering from mental illness.

In other news, Senator Fowler is applauding the recent recipients of the Small Firefighting and Ambulance Service Equipment Grants.

Out of over 400 applicants, only 100 departments across the state were chosen to receive a portion of the program’s funding. Funding from the program will go toward the purchase of safety equipment, protective clothing, breathing apparatus and other needed tools. The money for this grant comes from the Fire Prevention Fund. The grants total $2.2 million, with each recipient receiving up to $26,000.

“These are men and women who work every day to protect our communities, sacrificing their safety and sometimes their lives,” said Sen. Fowler. “These grants will help keep our safety service providers protected while they continue to selflessly serve our communities.”

Recipients of the 2018 Small Equipment Grants can be found here: https://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/news-item.aspx?ReleaseID=17935.

This year, research conducted by the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) Research Center led OSFM to evaluate new needs. The research on cardiovascular and chemical exposure risks faced by firefighters prompted the inclusion of gear washers as acceptable purchases in this year’s grant application cycle.

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