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Inauguration Week 2019

Dear Friend, 

This week marks the beginning of the 101st General Assembly in Springfield. On Wednesday, newly elected State Representatives and State Senators gathered in Springfield to take the oath of office and begin the work of the people of the State of Illinois. 

Honored to be taking the oath of office for the 4th time!
During the Inaugural Ceremonies, I was proud to make good on a promise that I have often repeated. As State Representatives, the very first vote that we make is the one that decides House leadership positions such as the Speaker of the House and the House Minority Leader. 

As I have always promised, and have always done, I cast my vote against Mike Madigan’s bid for an unprecedented 17th term as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.



As I am sure you are aware, Speaker Madigan has reigned over the Illinois House for decades. He has rejected all attempts to enact term limits, even for legislative leaders and Constitutional officers. 

The absolute and total power that Speaker Madigan wields both politically and as an agent of the State government is unmatched anywhere in modern politics. Interestingly, the problems we face as a State have only gotten worse during this period of total one-man, one-party control. Democrats now hold significant majorities in the House and Senate, and as of this coming Monday will also hold all six Constitutional offices. 

I am very interested to know how newly empowered Democrats will proceed on policies dealing with the major financial challenges facing our state. The 101st General Assembly begins in earnest on Tuesday, January 29th, as lawmakers return to the Capitol to start debating legislation. I will continue to keep you updated as news breaks.

100th General Assembly Wrap-Up

Although Wednesday marked the beginning of the new legislative Session, two items were addressed on Monday and Tuesday as the 100th General Assembly completed its business. One bill that passed allows the incoming Governor to reconstitute the Illinois Tollway Authority Board.

It is very much usual for incoming Governors to choose their own members and in this case I believe the right thing to do is to allow for a fresh start. The Tollway has been in the news to our north for many months because of controversies related to patronage hiring and expenditure fights. The incoming administration has promised increased transparency as it retools the Tollway Authority. 

Voting NO on Pay Raises for Incoming Governor’s Staff

As you may know, the 736-day budget impasse caused long-lasting financial damage to the State of Illinois. During the impasse, our bill backlog grew and our structural deficit exploded. Although it has not always been easy or popular, I am proud to have voted several times in a row to balance the State budget. 

I have also been adamant that Illinois must stick to a strict financial diet in the coming years.

Although some stability has returned to Illinois due to a full budget passing last year, Illinois still owes billions in unpaid bills and hundreds of billions in pension and other general debt liabilities. Our state unfortunately ranked 2nd highest on the list of states losing population last year, losing more than 45,000 residents.

In the days following the November 6th election, Governor-elect Pritzker began lobbying lawmakers to pass legislation allowing him to pay incoming agency directors up to 15% more in salaries during his administration. The Governor-elect has argued that $150,000 is simply not enough money to attract top talent to the State of Illinois. 

With the financial problems we face, and with the State of Illinois losing people by the tens of thousands just last year, I believe firmly that guaranteeing 15% raises for incoming and untested bureaucrats sends the wrong message to working families in Illinois. I voted NO.

Inauguration Day 2019 

Bryant Sworn-in to Fourth Term as 115th State Representative 

Springfield….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) took the oath of office on Wednesday, as she was sworn-in to a 4th term as 115th district State Representative. Bryant was re-elected in November 2018 and begins work in the 101st General Assembly on Thursday.

“Inauguration Day is always a joyous and hopeful occasion,” Bryant said. “I am deeply honored and proud to serve the people of Southern Illinois as their State Representative. I want to thank the many friends, family members, and supporters that made the trip to Springfield to watch the ceremony. I sincerely hope that the good feelings that come about as a new legislature is seated will continue into the Session and that we can work cooperatively as a body.”

Bryant takes office as the balance of power in Illinois government radically shifts toward Democratic control. Democrats will hold veto-proof majorities in both the Illinois House and Senate and will occupy all six Constitutional offices, including the Governor’s office. For her part, Bryant says she is cautiously optimistic that Democrats will work across party lines.

“The incoming Governor has signaled a willingness, at least for now, to listen to ideas from Republicans and to work cooperatively,” Bryant said. “I have been encouraged by some of the personnel moves he has made already, but I will be watching closely when policy items begin to move in the House. We might have a new Governor, but we are still facing enormous challenges. Property taxes are too high and people are leaving the State. We have to rebuild our infrastructure, and we must take steps to stop the outmigration of our citizens to neighboring states. These are enormous challenges that will require good ideas from both sides.”

The 115th district is located within the boundaries of all of Jefferson County, and parts of Jackson, Union, Washington, and Perry Counties. Bryant has offices located in Murphysboro and Mount Vernon. Constituents can visit her website at www.RepBryant.com and use the contact form to message her office.

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Stay Connected!
Springfield….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) took the oath of office on Wednesday, as she was sworn-in to a 4th term as 115th district State Representative. Bryant was re-elected in November 2018 and begins work in the 101st General Assembly on Thursday.

“Inauguration Day is always a joyous and hopeful occasion,” Bryant said. “I am deeply honored and proud to serve the people of Southern Illinois as their State Representative. I want to thank the many friends, family members, and supporters that made the trip to Springfield to watch the ceremony. I sincerely hope that the good feelings that come about as a new legislature is seated will continue into the Session and that we can work cooperatively as a body.”

Bryant takes office as the balance of power in Illinois government radically shifts toward Democratic control. Democrats will hold veto-proof majorities in both the Illinois House and Senate and will occupy all six Constitutional offices, including the Governor’s office. For her part, Bryant says she is cautiously optimistic that Democrats will work across party lines.

“The incoming Governor has signaled a willingness, at least for now, to listen to ideas from Republicans and to work cooperatively,” Bryant said. “I have been encouraged by some of the personnel moves he has made already, but I will be watching closely when policy items begin to move in the House. We might have a new Governor, but we are still facing enormous challenges. Property taxes are too high and people are leaving the State. We have to rebuild our infrastructure, and we must take steps to stop the outmigration of our citizens to neighboring states. These are enormous challenges that will require good ideas from both sides.”

The 115th district is located within the boundaries of all of Jefferson County, and parts of Jackson, Union, Washington, and Perry Counties. Bryant has offices located in Murphysboro and Mount Vernon. Constituents can visit her website at www.RepBryant.com and use the contact form to message her office.
                                                     
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Murphysboro…State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) announced Wednesday that she has introduced a House Resolution calling for the condemnation of the decision by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office to allow the placement of a satanic statue in the Capitol building’s rotunda holiday display.

Bryant says she agrees with the hundreds of constituents that have called to complain about the move, and took action this week by filing HR 1355.

“I believe the decision to allow a Satan worship sculpture to be placed alongside emblems of the faiths of the Jewish people and Christians is a grave mistake and sends the wrong message during this time of reflection and celebration,” Bryant said. “I introduced this Resolution in time for the 100th General Assembly to make its opinion known on this issue when we return to Springfield in January. That message would be that we as a body reject and condemn the decision to allow this disgusting display in our Capitol.”

Bryant says her Resolution is careful not to call for the removal of the statue, citing First Amendment protections. However, Bryant says that she is also exercising her unalienable Right to Free Speech by introducing the Resolution to condemn the placement of the Satan worship statue.

“First of all, the people that placed that statue are not celebrating anything, but rather building a small shrine to Satan in a public place in order to divide people and gin up reaction,” Bryant said. “If the Satanists are protected by the First Amendment and are allowed to place that statue in our Capitol during this Holiday season, then I am certainly within my rights both as an American and as a State Representative to say that poking a finger in the eye of people of the Jewish and Christian faiths at Christmas, though it may be legal, certainly does not make it right.”

Rep. Bryant and State Representative Dave Severin, the Resolution’s chief co-sponsor, joined forces to introduce the Resolution and are actively seeking more House members to help co-sponsor the measure. The full text of the Resolution can be read by clicking here.
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Dear Friend,

Remembering Pearl Harbor and our 41st President George H.W. Bush
Although I rarely use this space to talk about personal issues, there are so many important and historical events that have happened in the past couple of weeks that I must share with you how I am feeling as an American, as an Illinoisan, and as your State Representative.

First, I want to share my sadness at the loss of our 41st President George H.W. Bush. President Bush served as a Navy aviator in World War II, was shot down, and survived the attack. He served in Congress, as CIA director, and as Ambassador to China.

I remember George H.W. Bush for his role in helping bring down the Berlin Wall, as well as repelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in one of the fastest and most devastating military defeats in modern history during Operation Desert Storm.

On Friday, the United States also commemorated the attack on Pearl Harbor 77 years ago. We are losing World War II veterans like President Bush every day in our country. On this week of mourning and remembrance, I hope you will take a few moments to reflect on the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans because of American Heroes like George H.W. Bush and so many others that comprised the “Greatest Generation.”

May you rest in peace, Mr. President.

Illinois Celebrates Bicentennial
On December 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state in the Union. On December 3, 2018, Illinois celebrated its 200th year as a State.



The 2018 calendar year was marked by multiple bicentennial themed celebrations, with the big party taking place at Chicago’s Navy Pier this past Monday night. As part of the festivities, the Illinois Bicentennial Commission honored 200 Illinois veterans. Governor Rauner and Governor-elect Pritzker were in attendance to mark the milestone. Happy 200th Birthday Illinois!

News on Condition of Tamms Supermax Facility Breaks this Week
Image result for tamms correctional facility
You may have seen news reports this week regarding mold problems that are plaguing the shuttered Tamms Supermax Correctional facility. I have been urging the Illinois Department of Corrections to take action on Tamms even prior to my time as an elected official.

Former Governor Pat Quinn gave in to pressure by Democrat activists from Chicago to close the facility back in 2013. I first took office in 2015 and one of my first acts as a legislator was to introduce legislation to reopen and repurpose Tamms.
We should not have allowed Tamms to close in the first place, and letting it simply rot in place is a slap in the face to taxpayers. Its closure caused major economic hardship in some of the poorest per capita locations in the State of Illinois.


Since then, Speaker Madigan has not allowed any of my legislative measures addressing Tamms to move forward. The State of Illinois has long suffered from overcrowding in its prisons. Overcrowding leads to security concerns and heightened risk for Illinois’ correctional personnel and inmates alike. Thankfully, the State of Illinois has started to move forward with criminal justice reforms that are helping to alleviate prison overcrowding. But, there is still no place other than administrative segregation to send dangerous inmates that repeatedly assault guards and inmates – there used to be, and that place was Tamms Supermax.

Going forward, I will urge that the work camp adjacent to Tamms be reopened immediately to provide good paying jobs to an area that desperately needs them. I will also call on the new administration to take action to resolve maintenance issues and return the facility to operation to serve as a place to send inmates that repeatedly assault guards and other inmates.

The Southern Illinoisan and WSIL TV had excellent coverage on this issue this week. Check out their links below:

The Southern Illinoisan: December 5 2018 – Shuttered Tamms Supermax prison infested with mold

WSIL TV – December 6 2018 - Report Says High Levels of Mold Found at Tamms Prison

Stay Connected!
My office in Mt. Vernon is open Tuesday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Wednesday and Fridays 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 or at bryant@ilhousegop.org Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!

Dear Friends,

I am glad to be back talking to you about what's going on in Springfield. After a long summer and a long election season, the Illinois House got back to governing for what is known as the Veto Session. Veto Session this year spanned Tuesday November 6th through Thursday November 8th and Tuesday November 27th through Thursday November 29th.

The Veto Session is supposed to be the time that legislators consider the Governor's vetoes of bills from the previous January - May session. This year, the Governor issued either total, or partial vetoes on a wide variety of topics.

One example is legislation that was vetoed by the Governor would have raised the age to legally use tobacco products to 21 actually failed to overcome the Governor's veto. Supporters of the legislation argue that raising the smoking age to 21 would reduce public health concerns and lead to fewer lifelong smokers. Opponents, including myself, argued that people would simply travel to neighboring states to purchase tobacco products.

I am interested to know your opinion on this legislation, as the sponsor has indicated that she will likely try to pass the bill once again in January, when the 101st General Assembly begins its work for the spring legislative session.

WJPF Radio Interview
On Friday morning, I joined Tom Miller on the WJPF Morning Newswatch for a wide ranging interview. To catch up on the latest news and more please click the link below and have a listen!

Friday November 30 Interview with Tom Miller on WJPF

Hardin County Work Camp Bill
A bill to transfer ownership of the Hardin County Work Camp from the State of Illinois to Hardin County passed unanimously through both chambers of the legislature on the final day of Veto Session. I was proud to be a a chief co-sponsor of HB 3274. The legislation’s passage was the result of a lot of hard work and a regional, bipartisan effort to educate legislative leaders on the importance of saving the facility.




Although the Hardin County work camp is not in the 115th district, the facility is in Southern Illinois, and it is sitting empty, just rotting away when it doesn’t have to be. This legislation allows Hardin County to buy the facility for $1 from the State of Illinois. With the Governor’s signature, the property can then be used for public purposes, including the creation of a detention center. The local law enforcement officials have done a great job bringing this to legislators’ attention and worked very hard to get this measure moved during the Veto Session.

This is only a first step toward utilizing the property to its full potential.

Earlier this year, the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department announced their intentions to reopen the Work Camp. Plans include opening a detention facility with the potential to house upwards of 100 inmates and create dozens of new good-paying jobs.

House Bill 3274 previously passed the Senate and House unanimously during the November 2018 Veto Session.


DuQuoin Celebrates Lighting Ceremony for Downtown Nativity

 

A VERY SPECIAL HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Happy 4th birthday to our precious grandsons Hunter and Spencer. They bring joy, happiness, and boundless love to our lives!

Stay Connected!
My office in Mt. Vernon is open Tuesday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Wednesday and Fridays 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 or at bryant@ilhousegop.org

Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!




Murphysboro…A bill to transfer ownership of the Hardin County Work Camp from the State of Illinois to Hardin County passed unanimously through both chambers of the legislature on the final day of Veto Session, according to State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro).

Bryant, a chief co-sponsor of HB 3274 says the legislation’s passage was the result of a lot of hard work and a regional, bipartisan effort to educate legislative leaders on the importance of saving the facility.

“Although the Hardin County work camp is not in the 115th district, the facility is in Southern Illinois, and it is sitting empty, just rotting away when it doesn’t have to be,” Bryant said. “This legislation allows Hardin County to buy the facility for $1 from the State of Illinois. With the Governor’s signature, the property can then be used for public purposes, including the creation of a detention center. The local law enforcement officials have done a great job bringing this to legislators’ attention and worked very hard to get this measure moved during the Veto Session.”

Bryant says this is only a first step toward utilizing the property to its full potential.

Earlier this year, the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department announced their intentions to reopen the Work Camp. Plans include opening a detention facility with the potential to house upwards of 100 inmates and create dozens of new good-paying jobs.

House Bill 3274 previously passed the Senate and House unanimously during the November 2018 Veto Session.

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Dear Friend,

I had a great time and ran into many friends at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield this year. The State Fair in Springfield is always filled with plenty of news making events, and this year didn't disappoint. I am happy to report that two bills that I helped sponsor were signed by the Governor


SB 3072:
The State Fair Board of Trustees performs a vital service to help guide the Springfield State Fair and the DuQuoin State Fair especially. But, like many boards and commissions in the State of Illinois, it is not always easy to fill all the positions on the board that are required by the law. SB 3072 will trim the State Fair Board of Trustees from 20 down to 15. Every little bit of streamlining helps when it comes to the State of Illinois. Thank you to Governor Rauner for signing this legislation. I enjoyed Ag Day alongside State Rep. Dave Severin, Grant Hammer of the IL dept of Ag, and Congressman Mike Bost.

ag_day_STATE_FAIR_2018.jpg

Governor Signs BLAZE PINK Hunting Bill
A big thank you again to Governor Rauner for signing legislation this week to legalize "blaze pink" in addition to blaze orange for hunting attire in Illinois. House Bill 4231 permits hunters to wear blaze pink clothing in addition to blaze orange. Both colors of clothing are equally visible to the human eye, however, deer are believed to be color blind to red and can see very little orange or pink.

The following information comes directly from the Governor's press release following the signing of HB 4231.


“We want to make sure that Illinoisans are able to hunt and enjoy the outdoors safely,” Rauner said. “The new legislation provides more variety in hunting gear while preventing tragic hunting accidents in Illinois.”
Blaze orange clothing has been credited for a reduction in hunting-related injuries and deaths. Wisconsin, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York and Virginia have also authorized fluorescent pink as an alternative color to orange.

"Blaze pink laws have already passed in several other states, so this change in the law sends the message that our hunting laws put safety first,” said Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton, lead House sponsor of the bill. "This action gives the consumer a choice, and though I'm no fashion expert, I believe blaze pink will look good on sportsmen and women in Southern Illinois."

"As a lifelong hunter and supporter of the Second Amendment, I was proud to help sponsor this important safety measure," said Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, House co-sponsor of the bill.

"Though I am quite partial to the color pink, the scientific research I have seen shows that people see the color pink better than the color orange. I am grateful that the governor recognizes the importance of hunting safety and that hunting is an important part of the culture and a tourism driver for Southern Illinois."

The initiative is supported by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Committee Hearings and Task Force Meetings - From Chicago to Springfield
In addition to my time at the State Fair for bill signings, I also traveled between the district, Springfield, and Chicago to attend Committee and task force meetings.
First up was a quick trip to downtown Chicago on Wednesday for a hearing on SB563 in front of the Judiciary Criminal Law Committee. This bill deals with those who make false bomb or shooting threats. It has a component that would permit law enforcement to seek a mental health evaluation prior to releasing the adult or juvenile that makes the threat. This was a subject matter hearing only, so no vote taken on this bill.



At Risk Women's Task Force

It is my honor and privilege to serve as the Chairwoman of the House At Risk Women’s Task Force. On Thursday, we toured Lincoln Correctional Center to see first hand the special programming being conducted at Lincoln CC. Programs designed to reduce recidivism of incarcerated women. Big thanks to Warden Glen Austin and his staff for an excellent tour. Pictured here with members of the task force.



Stay Connected!

My office in Mt. Vernon is open Tuesday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Wednesday and Fridays 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 or at bryant@ilhousegop.org

Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!