Week-in-review: October 29 – November 2, 2018

On October 17, State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) visited Southeastern Illinois College for a project update on ongoing efforts to renovate the Melba Patton Learning Resource Center (MPLRC) and the Dana Keating Student Success Center (DKSSC) to create a Learning Commons area for students.

Senator Fowler announced in September that $101,735 in funding had been released for emergency or deferred maintenance projects on campus. The critical infrastructure dollars will be directed toward remolding and replacing water damaged ceilings and lighting in the college library. The project will create a unique, updated space for students and staff.

Also happening during the week, Senator Fowler stopped by Carterville High School to have a conversation about economic development with members of the Carterville Area Rotary and student members of the Carterville Interact Club on October 31.

In other news, Senator Fowler is sharing news from the Illinois Department of Aging concerning Medicare open enrollment and the availability of SHIP counselors to help eligible individuals.

With Medicare open enrollment continuing through Dec. 7, the Illinois Department on Aging’s Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is reminding seniors of the free counseling assistance available to Medicare-eligible individuals and their caregivers.

According to the Department, open enrollment gives eligible adults the opportunity to:

adjust Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage,
move from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan,
switch between Medicare Advantage plans,
join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or
switch or drop existing drug plans without penalty. 

Anticipating a busy enrollment period, the Department is encouraging seniors to make an appointment with one of the SHIP counselors early and take advantage of the services offered at one of the 350 SHIP offices available throughout the state.

SHIP assistance can be reached by calling 1-800-252-8966 on weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information about SHIP, including a list of SHIP locations, visit http://www.illinois.gov/aging/ship/Pages/default.aspx.

Also available to Williamson County residents is a “Get Covered Illinois Informational Event” happening on November 16. From 9 to 11 a.m., residents are invited to the Marion Carnegie Library to learn more about open enrollment. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss available health care options. For any questions about this event, call 312.802.3195 or email DOI.GCI.Outreach@illinois.gov.

Senator Fowler is also sharing an opportunity for area veterans. The Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network is hosting a free legal clinic to assist veterans with their civil legal issues on November 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the SIU School of Law in Carbondale. Licensed attorneys will be available to offer legal advice and assistance on a number of civil issues. For questions, to schedule an appointment or pre-screen for eligibility call 855.452.3526.

Senator Fowler is also reminding Illinois residents that the deadline to submit a veteran for the annual “Wall of Honor” at the Illinois State Capitol is fast approaching.

With Veterans Day around the corner, the Senate Republican Caucus is teaming up with the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to develop a recognition wall in honor of Illinois veterans. In recognition of the selfless service and sacrifice of our military men and women, residents are being encouraged to submit a photograph and written story of any veteran to be displayed in the Capitol Rotunda Nov. 5-16.

Submissions should include name, military branch (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Navy) and conflict served (Afghanistan, Iraq, September 11, Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI, Peacetime, other). Military photos are preferred, but not necessary.

Interested participants are asked to email submissions to veteransday@sgop.ilga.gov by Nov. 5. Submissions can also be mailed to Veterans Day Wall, 309 G Statehouse, Springfield, IL 62706. For questions, call 217-782-1650.

Lastly, Senator Fowler is gearing up to return to the State Capitol on Nov. 13 to begin scheduled fall “veto session,” which is currently scheduled for Nov. 13-15 and Nov. 27-29.

Dozens of bills will be up for debate and discussion when the scheduled fall “veto session.” Members of the General Assembly will return to Springfield to either accept or override measures vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner earlier this year.

Consideration can be given to a number of bills vetoed by the Governor over the course of spring legislative session. If an attempt is made to override a vetoed measure, three-fifths of the members in each legislative chamber must vote to override the Governor’s action. If a supermajority in both the Senate and the House support the override, the bill then becomes law.

Veto session is also a time when lawmakers can take action on recently introduced or amended legislation, including a proposed measure that would protect air quality by denying renewed permits for companies found to be emitting ethylene oxide that exceed state and federal levels, a bill that would strengthen “Failure to Appear” laws, and a measure that would target and report suspected financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.

Dale Fowler

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