Senate Week in Review: April 22-26, 2019

As lawmakers prepare to return to Springfield to take up the final weeks of spring legislative session, Senator Fowler (R-Harrisburg) spent time in District hosting mobile office hours, touring a local business, and visiting with area students in the classroom.

On April 22, Sen. Fowler brought constituent services to the residents of Mound City. This was just the most recent stop on Sen. Fowler’s ongoing tour of traveling office hours across the District.

Several mobile office hours will be taking place in the month of May, including stops in Rosiclare and West Frankfort. Senator Fowler will be at the Rosiclare City Hall on May 6 from 12 to 2 p.m., and then hosting hours at the West Frankfort City Hall on May 13 from 12 to 2 p.m.. The public is invited to bring their questions, voice their concerns and speak with District Staff about the issues important in the community. Any questions about the event can be directed to Senator Fowler’s District Office at 618-294-8951 or e-mail senatorfowler59@gmail.com.

Sen. Fowler also made a stop at Environmental Remediation and Recovery, Inc. (ER&R) while in District. The rail car cleaning facility is located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and is dedicated primarily to food grade car cleaning. Sen. Fowler toured the facility, learning more about what the Southern Illinois-based business offers.

In other news, Sen. Fowler traveled to Cairo to speak with area students about his role as a state legislator. Sen. Fowler spoke to Mr. Woods’ senior class on April 24, discussing ongoing legislative session, issues impacting the region and developments within Southern Illinois.

Sen. Fowler also spoke at the annual Southern Illinois Chamber Banquet, discussing the much-anticipated Southern Illinois Made Expo set for July 27 and 28.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, the public is invited to come discover the diverse, unique products and destinations made and sold in Southern Illinois. More information about the event can be found at simade.org.                                                       

State News:

Legislation to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome passes Senate

A bill aimed preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by putting stricter requirements in place following an investigation where a child has died suddenly and unexpectedly, recently passed the Illinois Senate. An unsafe sleep environment is often a large contributor to infant deaths and is labeled as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Supporters of the bill say that often, even in situations where there are unsafe factors present at the scene where the infant passed, the death is often ruled as SIDS without further investigation. In situations like this, valuable information that could help prevent infant deaths in the future isn’t being captured.

Senate Bill 1568 would require coroners to conduct an autopsy following the investigation as well as list any environmental factors that may have contributed to the child’s death. The bill would also require the Department of Public Health to publish current data that it receives from coroner reports so that the public has access to reporting concerning SIDS.

Illinois resident Ashley Lamps inspired this legislation and now runs a foundation that advocates for SIDS awareness and the use of safe sleep practices. To learn more or to help in any way you can, visit the Aden Lamps Foundation website.

Senate Bill 1568 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

IDHS decals to fund pediatric cancer research

In an effort to increase funding for pediatric cancer research, the Illinois Senate passed legislation on April 11 that would authorize the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to issue a decal for pediatric cancer awareness.

Senate Bill 946 would create the decals, which would have an original issuance fee of $25; with $10 to the awareness fund and $15 to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund. The renewal fee would be $25 with $23 to the fund and $2 to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund.

The legislation was inspired by a Jersey County family’s struggle with pediatric cancer. Jonny Wade was diagnosed at age seven and passed away in 2015 after bravely battling the disease for nearly a year. His family has continued to advocate for further research in Jonny’s memory.

Senate Bill 946 is currently in the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Legislation seeks to ensure schools, taxing districts receive all property tax money committed

Legislation aimed to ensure Illinois schools receive all of the property tax money committed to them through the tax extension process passed out of the Illinois Senate on April 12.

Senate Bill 1043 seeks to address the concern that school districts, as well as all other taxing bodies, are losing funding due to refunds issued by county treasurer’s offices for Certificates of Errors and appeal adjustments, both of which are out of the control of the taxing district. 

The reduction in a taxing district’s expected levy revenue is a result of the cancellations and abatements administered by the state and county offices. These adjustments, made after a taxing body’s levy is approved and the tax bills are sent, are preventing taxing districts, such as schools, from receiving 100 percent of their publicly approved levy extensions.

The bill is currently in the House of Representatives for further consideration. 

Coalition of Illinois Agencies Unveil Illinois Monarch Conservation Action Plan

This week on Earth Day, a coalition of Illinois agencies revealed plans and unveiled a new pollinator habitat near the Illinois Department of Agriculture building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The purpose is to preserve Monarch butterflies.

Also, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new pollinator habitat at the Fairgrounds. Monarch butterflies are important because they help pollinate plants that produce fruit and important food that we consume.

For more details on the Illinois Monarch Project, go through the report available at www.ilagformonarchs.org

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