As this year's legislative session nears the midway point, legislators have been busily passing bills through Committee and from the House to the Senate. This week's e-newsletter provides a legislative update and photos from my travels to two important events that I was fortunate to attend at the end of February. Lots going on in the 115th district. Thank you for reading!
Stopping Legislative Pay Raises
This year I am proud to be a sponsor of HB 643, a bill written to stop legislators and other politicians from receiving pay increases. As hard as it might be to believe, the legislature is forced every year to pass a bill that stops automatic cost of living adjustments and increases to mileage, meal, and lodging reimbursements for legislators.
The State of Illinois has been without a budget for more than 2 years. Human service providers and many other vendors that provide critical services to the State are currently waiting months on end to receive only a small portion of what they are owed. Considering Illinois' disastrous financial situation, stopping pay raises for politicians is as close to a no-brainer as it gets.
Enhanced DUI Penalty Bill Clears Committee
On Wednesday, I successfully passed legislation dealing with enhanced penalties for impaired drivers through the House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee.
This legislation was brought to me by a county prosecutor who noticed a flaw in the law. In the summer of 2014, more than 200 Mt. Vernon residents were displaced and lost much of what they owned when a drunk driver caused major damage to their apartment complex. HB 2606 would allow prosecutors to charge offenders with aggravated DUI when major damage to property occurs as a result of the actions of an impaired driver. The minimum threshold for damages under the bill would be $5,000. The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.
65th Annual All Ag Banquet at Southern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Agricultural Sciences hosted its 65th Annual All-Ag Banquet on Feb. 24. The event celebrates the achievements and accomplishments of faculty and students of the College of Ag Sciences. I am pictured below with SIU President Randy Dunn, State Rep. Dave Severin, and State Senator Dale Fowler.
The Illinois Masonic Children's Home in Murphysboro provides a free home for children whose families are in crisis. In October, the Illinois Masonic Grand Lodge, which once owned and supported the home, announced it would be closing the home at the end of the school year.
However, the United Methodist Children's Home has announced that is has found another agency to take over the facility and keep it open.United Methodist Children's Home will take over operations April 1 to allow the 15 kids who live at the home to stay there. I was proud to attend the press conference in Murphysboro with United Methodist Children's Home CEO John Shadowens and State Senator Dale Fowler.
My office in Mt. Vernon is staffed Monday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is staffed Monday through Thursday, each from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. You can find me on Facebook to keep up with my travels throughout the district. 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!