Week-in-review: February 4 – 8

Just weeks into the start of spring Legislative Session, the Senate voted on a Democrat initiative to incrementally increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour – a plan that could have huge repercussions for employers across the board, including public universities, school districts, and not-for-profit organizations.

State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) spoke out against the measure when it came before the Senate, noting that could have far-reaching implications for Southern Illinois employers across the board. 

“While I can recognize efforts to provide more for the wage earners of this state, I cannot support a measure that has the potential for widespread harm to the business sector of Southern Illinois,” said Senator Fowler. “I’ve heard from several employers across the region and the response has been, overwhelmingly, against this increase. Highlighting the raise in annual labor costs, the anticipated layoffs and the increase in cost of living for our residents, the reality is Senate Bill 0001 is shortsighted and only adds to the already high-costs of doing business in Illinois.”

A 15 dollar minimum wage increase will:

Add over 1 billion dollars to the annual state payroll
Result in a massive cost-impact as high as 1.5 billion dollars on the nursing home industry
Cost SIU-C 5 million dollars annually
Cost SIU-E 5.8 million dollars annually  

Senate Bill 1 goes next to the House of Representatives for consideration.

In other news, Sen. Fowler joined other members of the Senate Republican Caucus this week to voice his support for a fair maps amendment on the next statewide ballot.

The ballot initiative, which has garnered bipartisan support from both sides of the aisle, would grant the control of the redistricting process to a nonpartisan, independent committee to draw the districts, rather than entrenched politicians.

“This is about recognizing that the way we’ve done redistricting in the past has not worked, creating an uncompetitive election environment and placing too much power in the hands of politicians,” said Sen. Fowler. “By supporting this bipartisan proposal and giving voters the opportunity to choose, we are increasing transparency and finally taking substantive steps toward a more representative state government.”

State Sen. Fowler is urging voters to join in the efforts to demand a more transparent, fair and nonpartisan redistricting process. To voice support for the fair maps initiative, residents can sign a petition available at senatorfowler.com.

In other local news, Sen. Fowler is highlighting two local recipients of the state’s Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grants. The City of Metropolis will receive $231,600 for Franklin Park/Metropolis City Pool improvements. Meanwhile, the City of Vienna will receive $360,000 for improvement to the Vienna City Park.

The OSLAD program is dedicated to helping communities buy land or improve existing recreational facilities in Illinois. In total, more than $28 million in funding was awarded this year for 87 park projects throughout the state.

Finally, Senator Fowler is urging local constituents to take advantage of his current series of mobile office hours. Senator Fowler will be traveling throughout the region, bringing district office services to all 13 counties within the district.

The next mobile office hours event is scheduled for February 25 at the Benton City Hall, located at 1403 South Main Street. From 12 – 2 p.m., residents are encouraged to come speak with Sen. Fowler, ask their questions and discuss the issues most important to those in the community.

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