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Bryant Issues Statement on 'Present' Vote on HB 4290

Springfield…State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) released the following statement following the successful attempt by State Representative Jerry Costello II to pass legislation to pay the remaining 55% of ‘back pay’ owed to State of Illinois AFSCME employees.

“I support paying AFSCME workers the back pay that they are owed. HB 4290 would accomplish that goal. The back pay for AFSCME employees is the State of Illinois’ oldest unpaid bill. The budget action taken in July 2017 has resulted in the lessening of Illinois’ bill backlog and the interest that the taxpayers were being charged. This bill represents a continuation of the effort to lessen our pile of unpaid bills.

The public should be aware that AFSCME workers were promised these funds as part of the FY 12 State budget and the AFSCME contract. Later, an Illinois court decided in 2017 that AFSCME employees could not receive the back pay and interest they are owed unless the General Assembly provides an appropriation line item in the State budget. I am happy for State employees that this measure is moving forward.

State laws and ethical guidelines do not allow for me to vote in the affirmative for a bill that would result in my own monetary gain. HB 4290 would in fact result in me receiving back pay because of my previous employment.

The Comptroller has publicly indicated she will process the back pay as soon as an appropriation is made by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor. I regret that I could not cast a vote for this legislation, but a Present vote is the only legally and ethically acceptable vote considering my personal circumstances.”
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Springfield…State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) has announced a petition drive aimed at stopping legislative attacks on Southern Illinois University Carbondale by members of the Illinois House Democrat caucus, led by Speaker Mike Madigan.

“Though the deadline for substantive bills has passed, as I stated two weeks ago, no bad idea is ever truly dead in Springfield,” Bryant said. “And this week the deadline to pass the ‘Attack SIU Carbondale’ legislative package was extended until May 25. Rumors in Springfield are that Rep. Hofffman plans to call the legislation for House floor votes as early as Wednesday.”


Bryant has made news recently by speaking out during a House Perfunctory Session against HBs 1292, 1293, and 1294. Last week, Bryant also publicly called for SIU President Randy Dunn to resign, following revelations that Dunn had referred to he and Bryant’s shared Carbondale constituents as, ‘bitchers.’

“For the health of the University system and to preserve the future of SIU Carbondale we must defeat these attacks on SIU-C by Mike Madigan and his lieutenants in the House,” Bryant said. “I am urging all my constituents, and every Saluki alumni across Illinois and across the nation to join me and sign the online petition opposing the ‘attack SIU-C package,” Bryant said.

The online petition can be found at www.ilhousegop.org/siupetition

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Dear Friend,

This week I want to focus on news regarding Southern Illinois University. The University and its President and Board of Trustees have made a lot of news lately. A major development occurred last week that resulted in my call for President Randy Dunn to resign his post immediately. More on that later.

But first - Illinois House Returns to Action for 10 day Sprint to Adjournment Deadline
Later today, the Illinois House starts back in Session after a three day break. As of  now, the House is schedule to be in Session every day until May 31st, the scheduled adjournment date for this Spring session.  Before today, the Illinois House has met in Session just 33 times in the last 5 months. That's a pathetic average of just a little more than 6 days each month since 2018 began.

State law requires that a balanced budget be passed for FY 2019 prior to June 1st, or the General Assembly goes in to an overtime session where a significantly larger three-fifths majority is required to pass a budget. You may recall that prior to July of last year, Illinois went for 2.5 years without a budget in place. The carnage that resulted from not having a budget reverberated in waves that are still being felt in all corners of the State.

Passing a balanced, full-year, no-tax-increases State budget that properly funds services for our most vulnerable citizens, prioritizes our schools and universities, provides proper care for our veterans and for children and the elderly, and ensures public safety and critical state services remain functional will be my number one priority in the final 10 scheduled days of Session. You can keep up with the action at www.ilga.gov

Legislators' Calls for Randy Dunn to Resign as SIU President Make Statewide Headlines 
Last week, I took a moment to address the Illinois House in regard to an opinion piece featured in the Southern Illinoisan on Thursday morning. The op-ed was written by former SIU professor and facutly Senate President Kathleen Chwalisz following the release of documents obtained via FOIA.


What Chwalisz discovered were  "budget-related documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act show that SIU President Randy Dunn actively concealed from SIUC Chancellor Carlo Montemagno his plan to transfer $5.125 million from the Carbondale to Edwardsville campus. He sought to use the fictitious 60/40 split formula to — “shut up the bitchers from Carbondale.” (SOURCE: Southern Illinoisan Op-Ed May 17).

Obviously, the use of the vulgarity in reference to my constituents in Carbondale is offensive to me. But, the idea that President Dunn was working behind the scenes to mask his plan to transfer money from SIU-C to SIU-E and keep the item from Chancellor Montemagno is unacceptable.

Another article, published on Sunday morning in the Southern Illinoisan takes an extended and detailed look at the timeline of events surrounding the lead up to my call for President Dunn's resignation. You can read this past Sunday's Southern Illinoisan article on this topic by clicking here.

Also, please take a few minutes to visit the links to headlines and articles below that have been generated on this subject in the last week:

NPR Illinois May 17 - Lawmakers Call for Dunn to be Done at SIU

Chicago Tribune May 17 - Lawmaker to SIU president, 'Go to hell, Sir'

The Daily Egyptian May 17 - Letter to the Editor SIU rift heats up after system president calls Carbondale campus 'bitchers'

StlToday.com May 18 - SIU rift heats up after system president calls Carbondale campus 'bitchers'

St. Louis Post Dispatch May 18 - SIU system president rejects calls for his resignation

KFVS 12 May 18 - SIU President gives live statement following publication in local paper

The Southern Illinoisan May 19 - SIU president says he will not resign after calls for him to step down

It is indeed unfortunate that the news surrounding SIU has not been good in recent months. I take the task of calling for Randy Dunn's resignation very seriously. It is not a happy day when you must call on the resignation of the leader of Southern Illinois' flagship university and economic engine. However, it is my sincere belief that SIU needs a new leader that is committed to working for the good of the entire SIU system.

Stay Connected!
My office in Mt. Vernon is open Monday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Wednesday, and on Fridays, each from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. You can also contact me directly through the Contact Form on my website at www.repbryant.com - Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!

Springfield…State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) once again rose to speak on  the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday to address issues related to Southern Illinois University. This time though, Bryant had a much different message.

“Last week, I spoke against a package of bills that attack SIU Carbondale’s campus,” Bryant said. “I didn’t think that this week I would be defending SIU-C against yet another attack, but that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

Bryant went on to say that evidence revealed in an op-ed in today’s Southern Illinoisan make it quite clear that President Dunn is not working for the Carbondale campus, and that he is in fact colluding with officials at SIU Edwardsville to work against it.

“An opinion piece in today’s Southern Illinoisan includes a screenshot of an email sent by President Randy Dunn to Vice President Duane Stucky, SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook and SIUE Budget Director William Winter —  that was quite revealing, “ Bryant said. “Quoting from the op-ed, ‘Budget-related documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act show that SIU President Randy Dunn actively concealed from SIUC Chancellor Carlo Montemagno his plan to transfer $5.125 million from the Carbondale to Edwardsville campus. He sought to use the fictitious 60/40 split formula to — “shut up the bitchers from Carbondale.’

After offering a strong defense of her constituents and the Carbondale campus, Bryant called on Dunn to resign his post as SIU President.

“For the health of the University system, to preserve the future of SIU Carbondale, and because of his obvious and blatant disdain for my constituents and for the SIU Carbondale campus, President Dunn should resign from his position and he should resign today,” demanded Bryant.

The full transcript of Bryant’s speech is available here: http://www.repbryant.com/2018/05/full-transcript-bryant-calls-on-randy.html

A video of Bryant’s remarks can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGRivbIB7sQ&feature=youtu.be

Rep. Bryant's interview with Will Stephens of WXAN can be heard here:
https://soundcloud.com/radio-will/terri-bryant-5-17-18

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Thank you Mr. Speaker and ladies and gentlemen of the House:

If you’re like me, one of the first things you do in the morning is hop online to read the news from back in your district while you have a cup of coffee…
Today started like any other, get up, get a cup of coffee, get ready for the day…
Then I open up my Southern Illinoisan App on my phone to read about what’s going on back home – Not surprisingly, SIU Carbondale is back in the news.
In fact, Southern Illinois University has been in the news a lot since I took my seat in this General Assembly.
As the State’s budget impasse dragged on, stories of program cuts, layoffs, potential closures, potential loss of accreditation, junk bond status, and more filled the pages of The Southern and the Daily Egyptian on a daily basis for months.

Then, there was the news of the hiring of a new Chancellor, who brought forward a proposal to reorganize and reinvigorate the Carbondale campus.

You’d think that would be good news for a change. You’d be wrong.

For months, the news that followed the new Chancellor’s hiring was all about how SIU President Randy Dunn and Carbondale Chancellor Carlo Montemagno weren’t getting along, and how they couldn’t agree on moving forward with implementing the reorganization plan.

I stood up last week on this floor to renounce a recent package of bills sponsored by legislators in this very chamber that would split SIU in two.

The filing of that attack SIU Carbondale package coupled with a failed plot by SIU President Randy Dunn to divert $5 million away from SIU Carbondale have all worked to harm recruitment efforts and added to an overall sense of chaos and dysfunction on the Carbondale campus.

So, back to TODAY’s news about SIU.

An opinion piece in today’s Southern Illinoisan includes a screenshot of an email sent by President Randy Dunn to Vice President Duane Stucky, SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook and SIUE Budget Director William Winter —  that was quite revealing. I’m going to quote from the article:

“Budget-related documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act show that SIU President Randy Dunn actively concealed from SIUC Chancellor Carlo Montemagno his plan to transfer $5.125 million from the Carbondale to Edwardsville campus. He sought to use the fictitious 60/40 split formula to — “shut up the bitchers from Carbondale.”

President Dunn, you are the President of the entire SIU system…and, yes, that includes Carbondale.

President Dunn, the people you are calling “bitchers”, those are my Constituents. Those are my fellow Southern Illinoisans. Those are hard working people that are fighting to protect what they have built….

Southern Illinoisans…fighting to keep their economic engine, fighting to keep their jobs, fighting to get their kids to continue their education close to home, fighting for their ECONOMIC LIVES in Southern Illinois.

Mr. Speaker and Ladies and Gentlemen of the House, I stand today before you as a LOUD and PROUD “Bitcher” for SIU Carbondale. And if you think my voice is loud now, it’s only going to get louder until the attacks on SIU Carbondale stop.

And, before I go, I want to make a little news of my own – who knows, maybe it will even show up on my Southern Illinoisan app tomorrow morning…

The evidence revealed in today’s Southern Illinoisan article make it quite clear that President Dunn is not working for the Carbondale campus, and that he is in fact colluding with officials at SIU Edwardsville to work against it.

For the health of the University system, to preserve the future of SIU Carbondale, and because of his obvious and blatant disdain for my constituents and for the SIU Carbondale campus, President Dunn should resign from his position and he should resign today.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.

END TRANSCRIPT
Dear Friends -

On this beautiful Mother's Day 2018 in Southern Illinois, I am reminded of God's blessings on this beautiful land and all He does to bless the Bryant family. This year, I wanted to take a moment to recognize two wonderful mothers in my life and celebrate the fact that I, too, am a PROUD mother and grandmother.

So, here wishing a Happy Mother's Day to my daughter Tara, my oldest child, and the mother of my 4 beautiful grandkids! Love you, Tara! I'm also blessed to have my son Tyler, and my daughter-in-law Elaina living right here in Southern Illinois!

Also, a special Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful and dedicated mother Susan Bear Bryant. My sisters and I are pictured here having a memorable, (and probably loud) moment together with mom.

To all the dedicated moms out there, I want to say, as Luke Bryan does, you all should qualify for sainthood! Now, on to the news made in Springfield this week.



Speaking out against Splitting up SIU
On Thursday this week, I rose on the Illinois House floor to speak my mind on the recent hot topic of splitting Southern Illinois University’s two campuses into separate universities. You can check out the video of my remarks by visiting clicking the YouTube video link below.



Here is a full transcript of my remarks:

“Thank you Mr. Speaker. Today, I rise to speak in defense of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. As the State Representative for SIU-C, I have been disturbed by a pattern of behaviors and attitudes toward the campus that I have witnessed in recent months.

We all recognize that the State’s multi-year budget impasse had a tremendous negative impact on the entire higher education system in our State.

But, as a result of July 2017’s budget action, some sense of financial stability has begun to take hold in our State university system. However, in the last couple of months, just as SIU Carbondale started to implement a long-term plan for reorganization, a scheme to divert more than $5 million from SIUC to SIUE rapidly bubbled to the surface.

Thankfully, a bipartisan coalition of legislators from Southern Illinois joined area leaders and came out in strong and very public opposition to the funding shift. To my relief, and to the relief of thousands of students, teachers, and small businesses that are positively served and impacted by SIU-C, the SIU Board of Trustees narrowly voted down the proposal.

It seemed, for a moment, that the Carbondale campus had dodged a proverbial bullet. But, just when SIU Carbondale felt that one of the threats they were facing had ended, three members of the House Democrat Majority began moving legislation that would split the Southern Illinois University system in two.

On Thursday, April 19, I attended a hearing of the House Higher Education Committee where a package of four bills, HB 1292, 1293, 1294, and HB 5860 were brought for consideration by Representatives Hoffman, Stuart, and Bristow.

Both Republican and Democrat members of the Committee helpfully identified the legislation as a direct attack on Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The sponsor of the bill was unfortunately not able to sufficiently answer questions as to the economic impact that such a drastic measure would have on the city of Carbondale, or to the Southern Illinois economy as a whole.

SIU Carbondale is a nationally accredited research University, one of only two in Illinois. The loss of that accreditation would be devastating, leaving the University of Illinois as the only accredited higher education research facility in Illinois. I believe that the Democrat sponsored attack on SIU Carbondale willfully ignores the importance of the research that is performed at SIUC.

My Republican colleagues and I also pushed back against claims that SIU Edwardsville has had an explosion in enrollment growth over the last 7 years.

SIU Edwardsville’s enrollment has actually stagnated over the period of the last 7 years. So, if the argument is that SIU Edwardsville is growing so fast that it needs more money, then let’s study that. The numbers do not seem to bear that out, but I believe a third party should provide an independent analysis of the effect that a move like this would have on not only the Carbondale campus, but on the entire region’s economy.

While the fiscal impact to the entire southernmost region of Illinois may not be fully known, there would be a negative fiscal impact to the State from this legislation. By creating another university income fund, there would be costs to the Auditor General’s office for conducting another audit. By creating another Board of Trustees, costs would be inquired to reimburse board members for expenses, and to transfer records, books, papers, documents and property.

All four bills in the 'attack SIU Carbondale' package did pass the Higher Ed Committee against Republican opposition. Now these bills are sitting on 2nd reading. Thankfully the deadline to pass substantive bills through the House has passed, but as we all know, no BAD idea is ever truly dead in Springfield.

As a Murphysboro resident, as a proud supporter of SIU-C, and as a member of the House Higher Ed Committee, I firmly believe that Southern Illinois University will be healthier and more attractive as a cohesive unit, and I believe splitting the system apart will weaken it.

To the hundreds of constituents that contacted me in opposition to splitting up SIU, to my colleagues on the House Higher Education Committee, and to the members of the SIU Board of Trustees that rejected the transfer of $5 million away from Carbondale, I want to say THANK YOU.

It is my sincere pledge that I will continue to fight against this effort. As I’ve said on this House floor before, I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to end the attacks on SIU C, help me restore the Carbondale campus to its rightful place as the economic powerhouse and flagship research institution that we all know it can be."

You can check out coverage of my floor speech in The Southern Illinoisan by CLICKING HERE.

Stay Connected!My office in Mt. Vernon is open Monday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Wednesday, and on Fridays, each from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. You can also contact me directly through the Contact Form on my website at www.repbryant.com - Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!