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Dear Friend,

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.
Illinois Masonic Children's Home in Murphysboro to Stay Open under New Ownership
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.
STAY CONNECTED!
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!

Springfield….On Wednesday, State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) 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. Many Mt. Vernon residents were displaced and lost much of what they owned when a drunk driver caused major damage to their apartment complex,” Bryant said. “HB 2606 would allow prosecutors to charge offenders with aggravated DUI when major damage to property occurs as a result of a collision between a vehicle and a business or residential property.”

Bryant says the minimum threshold for damages under the bill would be $5,000.

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

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Springfield….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) gained unanimous support for HB 771 in the Illinois House today. Bryant says in the face of budget cuts, and a shortage of volunteers to join fire departments across the state, HB 771 will provide needed assistance.

"In Illinois, 70 percent of all firefighters are volunteers," Bryant said. "HB 771 allows a volunteer firefighter to purchase one set of tires for their vehicle every three years at a reduced price per the fire district's joint purchasing agreement. The goal is to provide a little bit of help to the folks that volunteer to fight fires and  keep us safe. I want to thank my colleagues for their unanimous support for this legislation."

HB 771 now moves to the Illinois Senate for consideration.

Dear Friend,

A blur of activity marked this Valentine's week in Springfield. The Governor gave his 3rd budget address, a judge denied Lisa Madigan's attempts to stop paying state employees, and I am announcing the release of my 2017 Legislative Survey! Your opinion counts, so keep reading to find out how you can tell me more about the issues most important to you.

I passed a bill to help volunteer firefighters out of Committee this week. Also, a controversial abortion bill is starting to move in the General Assembly. I will have a legislative wrap-up, my reaction to the stories mentioned above, and more, all in this week's edition of Bryant E News.

Budget Address Reaction
Addressing a joint committee of the legislature for the 2nd time in a month, Governor Rauner delivered his 3rd "Budget Address" on Wednesday. The Governor called on the General Assembly to move in a new direction. The Governor acknowledged that the General Assembly has failed to pass balanced budgets in the last decade, but, his overall message was less about the past and more about his vision for better funded schools and strong economic growth in the future.

The Governor was realistic about the financial picture we are facing, but, he also pointed out that Illinois has a lot of unfulfilled potential. I totally agree. That’s why we have to have economic reforms as part of any balanced budget solution. Those reforms will help grow jobs and ease the burden on working families. There is a lot of hope that a "Grand Bargain" can be negotiated to finally balance the budget and help our economy grow.

Judge Denies AG Madigan's Bid to Stop Paying State Workers
As you may have heard, a St. Clair County judge denied Attorney General Lisa Madigan's motion to stop paying state employees on Thursday afternoon. I want to offer my thanks and gratitude for this decision, but state employees should be aware that AG Madigan has pledged to appeal the judge's ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court.

As I’ve said from the beginning, there was no rhyme or reason to AG Madigan’s timing on this motion.  The judge was right to deny this attempt to stop employee paychecks and force a government shut-down. Furthermore, I would discourage any further attempts by the Attorney General to spend tax payer dollars fighting a losing and dangerous legal battle.


I am supporting a bipartisan effort to take state employees off of the political chessboard and it is my hope that negotiations on that legislation will continue to move forward, even in light of this decision. We have to take the necessary steps to protect the working men and women that provide critical public services.

Legislative Issues Update
Volunteer Firefighters Tire Purchase Bill Passes Committee
This year I am carrying HB 771, a bill that will allow volunteer firefighters to use district funds to buy one set of tires every three years for the vehicle they use to respond to emergencies. The bill provides that any expenditure must be approved by the Fire Chief. This is a great bill to show our appreciate to the brave men and women that join volunteer fire departments across Illinois.

I am proud to report that the bill passed the Fire & Emergency Services Committee 5-0 this week.

Opposing HB 40 - A bill to allow taxpayer funding of abortions
One of the main priorities I have as your State Representative is to protect the sanctity of human life in any way that I can. HB 40 is a bill being sponsored by a pro-choice legislator from Chicago to expand the Medicaid and the State Employee Insurance Acts to cover all abortions for those receiving this assistance. The bill would enshrine into law the use of taxpayer dollars being spent to perform abortions. The bill would also eliminate Illinois' “trigger law,” that says if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion would become illegal in Illinois. As a staunch pro-life supporter, I am in wholehearted opposition to this bill.  I will continue to fight the effort to pass this bill and I will fight to protect the rights of the unborn.

2017 Legislative Survey Available Online!
Once again, I am sponsoring a survey at my website to gather your opinions on the pressing issues of the day.

You can find my 2017 Legislative Survey Online by Clicking Here!

Stay Connected
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!

Springfield....State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) issued the following statement following a St. Clair County court's decision to deny Attorney General Lisa Madigan's motion to stop state employee paychecks.

"I want to offer my thanks and gratitude in regard to a St. Clair County Court’s decision to deny Attorney General Madigan’s motion that would have stopped state employee paychecks.

As I’ve said from the beginning, there was no rhyme or reason to AG Madigan’s timing on this motion.  The judge was right to deny this attempt to stop employee paychecks and force a government shut-down. Furthermore, I would discourage any further attempts by the Attorney General to spend tax payer dollars fighting a losing and dangerous legal battle.

I am supporting a bipartisan effort to take state employees off of the political chessboard and it is my hope that negotiations on that legislation will continue to move forward, even in light of this decision. We have to take the necessary steps to protect the working men and women that provide critical public safety, mental health, and other necessary services to Illinois taxpayers."
Springfield….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) says Governor Rauner called for a new way forward as the State deals with unprecedented financial challenges.

“The Governor called on all of us to move in a new direction today,” Bryant said. “I want to join with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to change the economy so we can bring back job creators.”

The Governor acknowledged that the General Assembly has failed to pass balanced budgets in the last decade, but, Bryant says the Governor’s message was less about the past and more about his vision for better funded schools and strong economic growth in the future.

“The Governor was realistic today about the financial picture we are facing,” Bryant said. “But, he also pointed out that Illinois has a lot of unfulfilled potential. I totally agree. That’s why we have to have economic reforms as part of any balanced budget solution. Those reforms will help grow jobs and ease the burden on working families.”

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Dear Friend,

As you may know, Sunday, February 12 is the day Illinoisans celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Today is a state holiday commemorating our 16th President. I want to encourage any of you that can to make plans to visit any (and all) of the historical sites in Springfield dedicated to Mr. Lincoln.

You can find more information on historical Abraham Lincoln sites in central Illinois by visiting the Land of Lincoln Section of Enjoy Illinois' Website - a division of the Illinois Office of Tourism

Legislative Action
This week the legislature returned to action to begin considering  a large number of bills in Committee. As you may know, I was appointed last week to several House Committees that will consider legislation important to Southern Illinois. As a third-term State Representative, I was afforded the opportunity this Session to take a leadership role as Minority Spokesperson on the House Committee on Aging.

I will also be a standing member of these other Committees: Health Care Licenses, Higher Education, Judiciary-Criminal Law, and Tourism, Hospitality and Craft Industries.

I am also working to advance several legislative measures. During my first full-term, I was successful in being the chief sponsor of six bills to be signed into law. This session, I have introduced bills on the following subjects:

- Making state employee pay a continuing appropriation to ensure state employees are not used as pawns in political games over the budget

- Allowing volunteer fire fighters the opportunity to buy a set of tires for their vehicles once every three years using fire department funds. Any purchases would have to be approved by the fire chief.

- Allowing golf cart use in state parks on paved surfaces for travel to and from designated activities

- Changing the property tax process for disabled veterans to remove red tape and duplication of effort.

Please click here to visit the Illinois General Assembly's website and read more about my legislative agenda,

Edna Smith 100th Birthday Resolution

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege and honor of presenting Ms. Edna Smith with a 100th birthday congratulatory resolution at a party held for her in Mt. Vernon. Edna has an amazing story.

After losing her husband shortly after they were married, Edna went to work for Sears Roebuck and Company in Chicago and served as executive assistant to Mr. Roebuck himself, working in the famous Sears Tower.

Thank you to Edna's family for making me aware of her story and for providing me with the opportunity to make this special presentation to her.

If you know someone that is celebrating a special birthday, anniversary, or accomplishment, please contact my office to inquire about congratulatory resolutions


Stay Connected!
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!