Latest News


Dear Friend,

This week’s e-news follows an incredibly fast-paced two weeks of action in Springfield and big news that will likely have long term effects on the power structure in State government. I want to thank you all for writing, calling, faxing, Facebook messaging and more during the last six months of the legislative Session. Your input on the important decisions facing the legislature is invaluable to me.

Throughout the Summer I will bring you updates on the myriad of legislation that has passed the House and Senate and awaits the Governor’s signature. As news breaks on bill signings or bill vetoes, Bryant E-news will keep you up to date. For the sake of keeping this newsletter focused on current events, I’m going to focus on two items this week.

1.       Governor signs balanced budget – I voted Yes. More $ for schools, SIU, and transportation
2.       Turmoil at SIU and my continued calls for Randy Dunn to resign

Casting a Yes Vote for a 2nd Straight Balanced Budget
Here is my press release from the day that the State budget passed for the FY 19 year.

Springfield….
State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) joined a super majority of Illinois House lawmakers on Thursday in voting yes for a full-year, balanced State budget for the 2019 fiscal year. Bryant says she is proud of the hard work and cooperation that went into negotiating the balanced budget and urged her colleagues to continue working together on other major issues facing the State.

The on-time, in-balance, full-year budget cleared the House on the last day of regularly scheduled Session. With Governor Rauner’s signature, the bipartisan budget agreement will represent a departure from prior years when partisan gridlock kept the State from having a budget for more than two and a half years.

“Chaos is not normal,” Bryant said. “What we had in years past with not having a budget or a plan was simply chaos. During last July’s budget action, I think it is safe to say that a lot of members, including myself, put their political careers on the line and did what was necessary to end the budget stalemate and save the State from junk bond status and a host of other major complications. This FY 19 budget agreement is a step in the right financial direction and will add much-needed stability to the State’s economic outlook.”

Bryant says the involvement of House and Senate Republicans played a significant role in helping to craft next fiscal year’s spending plan. Bryant has argued publicly for months that Illinois must stick to a strict fiscal diet in the coming years if the State is to ever eliminate its outstanding debt obligations.

“HB 109 cuts more than $1 billion in spending,” Bryant said. “These cuts, and this fiscally sound, balanced budget could not have been achieved without the participation of Republicans.”
In addition to the welcome, but somewhat surprising bipartisan agreement, Bryant says she believes the budget takes aim at the problem of dropping enrollment at Illinois’ public Universities by providing a 2% increase in funding for higher education and makes MAP grants available for four years at a time instead of just one.

“The budget impasse had a devastating and chilling effect on our State’s higher education institutions,” Bryant said. “Some stability has returned due to the fact that we have a budget now, but this year’s budget increase for higher education should signal to Illinois’ high school students that we are dedicated to improving our Universities and that we are going to continue to make investments in our future leaders and keep our kids going to schools closer to home.”                                                  

The Governor has now signed the FY 19 budget into law. To read more on this topic please follow the news links below.

More Controversy At Southern Illinois University – Board of Trustees Members Schedules, then Cancel Meeting to Take up Issue of Randy Dunn’s Employment as SIU President

By now, you are probably aware that controversy has been swirling around Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn for several months. Shortly after Carlo Montemagno was hired as SIU-C Chancellor, news reports in Southern Illinois highlighted a rocky relationship, and it seemed the two men couldn’t get along while trying to implement Montemagno’s plan for reorganization at the campus.

That bad press was followed later by a revelation in an op-ed in the Southern Illinoisan in late May that revealed President Dunn had used the term “bitchers” in an official e-mail to SIU-E officials in reference to the Carbondale campus. That day, I took to the Illinois House Floor to call on Randy Dunn to resign in  part because he was working against SIU-C in favor of SIU-E.
In the past few days, a meeting of the Executive Committee of the SIU Board of Trustees was scheduled and then abruptly canceled.

Here are excerpts from SIU Trustee Joel Sambursky’s Facebook page:  

“Last week after the SIU Board meeting in Springfield all trustees received information that in my view warrants the calling of an urgent meeting to consider placing Randy Dunn on administrative leave while a thorough investigation into his behavior is conducted by external legal counsel. Should the executive committee decide to do so, an acting President would then need to be appointed to allow for the work of the campuses to continue while President Dunn is on leave.”

Adding…”With the next SIU Board meeting now more than three months away, it would be unconscionable for the executive committee to not meet to discuss and potentially take action on matters that are permitted under SIU Board policy, since they are “urgent and cannot be postponed to a regular meeting of the Board Apparently Chair Sholar not only disagrees with my view of the Bylaws, but also that of the General Council of the SIU System. This sets the wrong precedent for the Chair of the Board to claim the ability to override the majority of the executive committee and to ignore the legal opinion provided by the General Council of the SIU System.

I am glad to find out this afternoon, that now Chair Sholar is willing to convene the full board to discuss the items on the executive committee agenda that was planned for tomorrow. However, I am disappointed that she believes the meeting can be delayed another two weeks until June 21st.

Therefore, I am requesting tomorrow’s executive committee meeting to be cancelled and I am asking Chair Sholar to call a special meeting of the full Board to discuss and possibly take action on the same items listed for tomorrow’s executive committee meeting. I am also asking Chair Sholar to make every effort to convene the full Board as soon as possible.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I think it is clear to see that SIU is in turmoil under President Dunn’s leadership and has been for quite some time now. The only way to restore much needed stability is for President Dunn to either resign or be let go by the full SIU Board of Trustees. SIU deserves a leader that is working for the entire system, not someone that is working to undermine one of the most critical parts.

You can read more on this story by visiting the links below:


Stay Connected!

My office in Mt. Vernon is open Monday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Thursday, 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) joined a super majority of Illinois House lawmakers on Thursday in voting yes for a full-year, balanced State budget for the 2019 fiscal year. Bryant says she is proud of the hard work and cooperation that went into negotiating the balanced budget and urged her colleagues to continue working together on other major issues facing the State.

The on-time, in-balance, full-year budget cleared the House on the last day of regularly scheduled Session. With Governor Rauner’s signature, the bipartisan budget agreement will represent a departure from prior years when partisan gridlock kept the State from having a budget for more than two and a half years.

“Chaos is not normal,” Bryant said. “What we had in years past with not having a budget or a plan was simply chaos. During last July’s budget action, I think it is safe to say that a lot of members, including myself, put their political careers on the line and did what was necessary to end the budget stalemate and save the State from junk bond status and a host of other major complications. This FY 19 budget agreement is a step in the right financial direction and will add much-needed stability to the State’s economic outlook.”

Bryant says the involvement of House and Senate Republicans played a significant role in helping to craft next fiscal year’s spending plan. Bryant has argued publicly for months that Illinois must stick to a strict fiscal diet in the coming years if the State is to ever eliminate its outstanding debt obligations.

“HB 109 cuts more than $1 billion in spending,” Bryant said. “These cuts, and this fiscally sound, balanced budget could not have been achieved without the participation of Republicans.

In addition to the welcome, but somewhat surprising bipartisan agreement, Bryant says she believes the budget takes aim at the problem of dropping enrollment at Illinois’ public Universities by providing a 2% increase in funding for higher education and makes MAP grants available for four years at a time instead of just one.

“The budget impasse had a devastating and chilling effect on our State’s higher education institutions,” Bryant said. “Some stability has returned due to the fact that we have a budget now, but this year’s budget increase for higher education should signal to Illinois’ high school students that we are dedicated to improving our Universities and that we are going to continue to make investments in our future leaders and keep our kids going to schools closer to home.”

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Springfield….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) voted no on a proposal that sought support for the idea of instituting a progressive income tax in Illinois. Illinois currently has a flat, 4.95% personal income tax rate. The resolution in question is HR 1025.
“Today, I proudly stood up against a resolution that supports a progressive income tax,” Bryant said. “I have argued time and again since I took the tough votes to balance the State budget in July 2017 that Illinois should be living on a very strict fiscal diet for decades to come. My vote against this money grab by Democrats today reflects that philosophy.”

The process to actually enact a progressive income tax would require that a Constitutional Amendment be passed using a 3/5ths majority of the General Assembly and a positive vote by the electorate in a General Election. Bryant and her House Republican colleagues argued that the floor action taken on HR 1025 today was nothing more than political show business.

“Earlier in the Session, State Representative Martwick from Chicago introduced a bill (HB 3522) that would have begun the process to institute a progressive income tax. Unlike HR 1025, HB 3522 actually laid out some rates,” Bryant said. “Under the House Democrats’ plan to raise taxes, individuals making between $0 and $7500 would start paying 4% personal income tax, individuals that make $7500-$15,000 would see their income taxes soar to 5.84%, and incomes between $15,000 and $225,000 would see their income tax rate climb drastically from 4.95% to an astonishing 7.65%.  Today’s resolution would not change the constitution as would be required, and we should not be sending messages to individuals and potential employers that Illinois’ General Assembly supports raising taxes this way.”

Bryant and all House Republicans voted no on the idea of a progressive income tax. The measure ultimately passed via a 61-52 vote. However, as noted by many GOP speakers during debate, a House Resolution does nothing to advance the issue as far as the Illinois Constitution requires.

“The debate and the resulting passage of HR 1025 was an exercise in political theatre,” Bryant said. However, I want Illinoisans to stay vigilant because we know that no bad idea is truly ever dead in Springfield.”
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Dear Friend,

Before I start this week's breakdown of the action in Springfield, I want to take a moment to thank and recognize the folks that worked around the clock to repair the water main break at the Rend Lake Conservancy District. Thousands of Southern Illinoisans were affected by the outage. Though I was in Springfield, I received regular updates from the Governor's office, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and officials at the Rend Lake Conservancy District.

I also want to use this space to say thank you to all the Mayors, city managers, municipal staffs, firefighters, police and all of the businesses that worked to get clean water to the most effected areas. In a moment of crisis, it was encouraging to see such a wide variety of people working together to fix the break and deliver one of life's most critical elements to people in need. THANK YOU ALL!

After a fast and furious five days of Session, some major issues have moved forward and some new ideas have been introduced. This week's e-news will take a look back at this past week and preview what's likely coming up in the three remaining scheduled Session days (hint: FY 19 State budget)

The legislature returns to action on Memorial Day Monday. Let's get started!

Join the Petition Drive to Stop the Attacks on SIU Carbondale!


On Tuesday morning, I 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.

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

You may have read reports in the news recently regarding my House floor speech during a House Perfunctory Session two weeks ago. I used that time to express my very strident opposition to the idea of splitting SIU into two separate universities.

Last week, I led the charge and publicly called for SIU President Randy Dunn to resign, following revelations that Dunn had referred to my Carbondale constituents as, ‘bitchers' in an email to SIU-E officials.

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. 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.

Reinstating the Death Penalty for Cop Killers and Mass Murderers

This week I signed on to sponsor legislation that would reinstate the death penalty for certain types of heinous crimes. I also joined a bipartisan press conference on Friday morning to announce the introduction of the legislation and to express my support for the death penalty as a deterrent to crime.



I am proud to sponsor this public safety and police protection bill. I truly believe there are some crimes that are so heinous that a person should lose their right to live in our civilized society. HB 5891 represents a strong, bipartisan effort to protect our police and to rid society of mass murderers.

This most recent bipartisan effort to reinstate the death penalty was born of a recent amendatory veto on a gun control bill (HB 1468) handed down by Governor Rauner. In the language of his amendatory veto, Gov. Rauner called for making the killing of a police officer or any murder in which more than one person was killed a new crime of ‘death penalty murder’.

As you may know, I retired in 2014 after serving more than 20 years as an administrator in the Illinois Department of Corrections. I have repeatedly said that the closure of the Tamms super-max prison was a huge mistake, and is yet another reason that the death penalty should be reinstated in some cases.

I have introduced bills to reopen Tamms and it has been one of my goals since I took office. Back when the death penalty debate was happening in Illinois, Democrats in the General Assembly argued that we no longer needed the death penalty because we had a super-max facility in Tamms. Shortly after abolishing the death penalty, there was a successful movement (by Democrats) to close Tamms.
So, now, Illinois has neither the death penalty or a super-max facility to separate the most dangerous
individuals in our society from other prisoners, correctional officers, and others.

I think there are very real questions that need to be answered on this topic: Are we going to be tough on criminals that kill cops and commit mass murders by taking a comprehensive approach that includes the death penalty? Or, are we going to just allow the most dangerous criminals on earth to remain in general populations in our correctional facilities where they are able to kill guards and other inmates. It might sound like tough language, but I am proud to take a strong stand on the issue of law and order. It is time to reinstate the death penalty for cop killers and mass murderers in Illinois.

Quick Hits
All the way back on Monday, I set a personal record, passing 4 bills out of the House in about 15 minutes. Here's a quick look at some legislation that I'm sponsoring.

SB 2903 would all the state to issue ID cards to released DHS clients. You can find a previous press release I issued on this bill by clicking here. The bill passed unanimously and is now headed to the Governor.

SB 3191 allows the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs to spend money to recognize volunteers that assist veterans at the State's veterans homes. The bill passed unanimously and is now headed to the Governor's desk.

SB 3072 lowers the number of State Fair Board of Trustees down from 20 to 15 members. The bill awaits concurrence action in the Senate and will likely be headed to the Governor.

SB 3193 Provides that a non-veteran spouse shall only have the same priority for admission to a Veterans Home as a veteran if the non-veteran spouse and his or her veteran spouse are admitted at the same to live together at the Veterans Home. The bill passed unanimously and is now headed to the Governor's desk.

Stay Connected!
My office in Mt. Vernon is open Monday through Friday and my office in Murphysboro is open Monday through Thursday, 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!

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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