Week-in-Review: August 12-16

State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) has been spending time in District, recently touring the Marion Wellness School Health Center, attending a ribbon cutting ceremony in Carbondale and meeting with constituents.

Sen. Fowler visited the Marion Wellness School Health Center recently to learn more about the facility. The Center, located at 1700 Wildcat Road, provides healthcare for all Marion community High School students, family members of students, faculty and staff.

Sen. Fowler also attended the formal ribbon cutting and open house for the new Family Medicine Clinic and Physician Assistant Programs in Carbondale on August 15. The facility will house both programs, offering services to students in the region and expanding opportunities for medical education in Southern Illinois. Construction on the Clinic began in 2018.

In other news, Sen. Fowler is sharing news from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (“IHDA”) which is currently accepting applications under the Land Bank Capacity Program (“LBCP”) and Technical Assistance Network (“TA Network”) Round 2.

According to IHDA, the program was created to help communities gain access to funding and technical assistance of land banks located in Illinois outside the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Grant funds under LBCP may be used to offset the costs of creating and operating land banks.

Eligible applicants must be a municipality, county, or land bank located outside the Chicago MSA.

The application for this Program is available at: https://www.ihda.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/LBCP-Round-2-RFA.pdf. Completed applications must be submitted by September 30, 2019. 

State News:

Legislation Aimed at Reducing Property Taxes becomes law

A newly signed law that provides a reasonable way for drainage districts to be absorbed by municipalities could help property owners see lower tax bills.

Senate Bill 90 outlines the petition process for a drainage district to be dissolved, and allows the drainage district to be taken over by a municipality if that municipality accounts for at least 75 percent of a drainage district’s territory. The new law also requires both the municipality and the county in which the drainage district lies to pass an ordinance with specific criteria for carrying out the dissolution.

Current law allows drainage districts to dissolve but there is no process in place for another unit of government to take over legal responsibility for drainage.

New Task Force Seeks to Help Veterans

A newly-created task force aimed at getting Illinois veterans the help they need for service-related ailments, and ensuring that they are properly compensated is set to begin work.

The 14-member Veterans’ Service-Related Ailments Task Force, which will receive assistance from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, has been tasked with examining the disparity between the average level of disability compensation at the national level and the amount of compensation Illinois veterans are receiving.

The Task Force is charged with presenting a report on its findings and a list of recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor by Dec. 31, 2020.

Illinois Task Force to Examine State Response to Elder Abuse Cases

The new Elder Abuse Task Force created this spring will soon begin looking at how Illinois handles cases of elder abuse. In 2017 alone, more than 16,000 cases of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation were reported to the Illinois Adult Protective Services Department within the Illinois Department on Aging.

The 22-member Task Force is charged with analyzing the effectiveness of Illinois’ current system of reporting and addressing elder abuse, researching what works in other states, and developing a long-term plan for improving outcomes for older Illinoisans.

The group must report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor by Jan. 1, 2021.

Dale Fowler

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