Dear Friend:
 

Rep. Bryant and her family!
Tis' the season for Thanksgiving! This year, I want to extend my thanks to you, the people of the 115th district for the opportunity to serve you in Springfield. Though Illinois is facing some of the biggest challenges in its history, the people of Illinois are strong, and they do not waiver. We are all blessed to live in a state rich in natural resources, rich in industry, and rich in the strength of the spirit of the people of this great state.

I am thankful particularly for my family, especially my husband Rick and my children Tara and Tyler. I am blessed to have their support and I hope that however you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, you take the time to tell the people that are important to you how much you appreciate them.

I am also so very grateful for my four healthy, happy, and BUSY grandchildren. However you choose to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to encourage you to take a moment to let the people in your life know just how much you treasure them. 

Introducing Legislation to Reopen Murphysboro Work Camp as an Adult Facility, Study Work Camps


This week I am proud to announce that I have introduced two very important pieces of legislation. 

As many of you may know, I spent much of my career working for the Illinois Department of Corrections. During that time, I came to believe very firmly in the rehabilitative work that happened inside the walls of Illinois’ youth and adult work camps.


Members of the media ask Rep. Bryant about her plan
to reopen the Murphysboro youth camp as an adult facility.
Work camps are an essential part of Illinois’ correctional infrastructure, often providing help to local communities in times of natural disasters. They also offer young and grown men alike a second chance; a chance to rehabilitate their lives and move on to be productive, contributing members of society.

Because of my strong belief in the effectiveness of these types of facilities, I have introduced legislation (HB 4340) that seeks to reopen and repurpose the shuttered Illinois Youth Center at Murphysboro. The aim would be to reopen it as an adult work camp.

The facility in Murphysboro was closed by Pat Quinn, against the advice of legislators, members of the community, and most everyone that knows anything about the effectiveness of work camps.

In addition to this, passing a resolution that will establish a task force to study how work camps can contribute to the overall decline of our prison population, reduce crime, and reduce the rate of recidivism (people returning to prison after being released.) The work of the Task Force on Work Camp Rehabilitation would be completed during the 2016 calendar year, with a report due to the General Assembly and the Governor by January of 2017. Members of the legislature and appointees of the Governor from the government and non-profit sectors would help to comprise the Task Force. 

I look forward to hearing your opinion on this issue, as I believe it will help the State of Illinois, and Southern Illinois in particular, in three critical areas:
1. Reducing prison overcrowding. Right now, Illinois’ Department of Corrections is operating at 150% of its capacity. Prison overcrowding causes an unsafe environment for corrections staff and for inmates alike. Reopening Murphysboro would help to alleviate some pressure on existing facilities and help increase safety for front line staff members and inmates. 
2. Reducing unemployment. Southern Illinois’ economy has been decimated by the policies of Rod Blagojevich, Pat Quinn, and Mike Madigan. The closure of the correctional facility at Tamms, and the closure of the Murphysboro work camp have contributed to these factors. Passing the legislation I introduced this week would provide good paying jobs to our friends and neighbors in southern Illinois in a rewarding occupation. 
3. Reducing recidivism and saving taxpayer dollars. Work camps have proven to reduce the rate at which prisoners return to prison. It costs tens of thousands of dollars to house inmates in a correctional facility every year. We should be exploring all options to move low level, non- violent offenders out of the general population in our prisons. It is my hope that the Task Force on Work Camp Rehabilitation would help to highlight this important point, and would help drive public policy on how to reduce our overall prison population moving forward.
I was honored to be joined by front line staff members from the Department of Corrections, as well as members of the Murphysboro city council and the Jackson County Board for this important press conference.
Links to media coverage of the event are listed below. I invite you to check out the stories. 

KFVS 12 -
http://www.kfvs12.com/story/30556984/il-lawmaker-campaigning-for-youth-center-in-murphysboro 


The Southern -
http://thesouthern.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/state-rep-calling-for-repurposing-reopening-illinois-youth-center-in/article_be558b01-d9da-55b3-94eb-db7b2b2bf487.html 



WSIL-TV
http://www.wsiltv.com/story/30564496/bryant-pushes-to-reopen-iyc-as-adult-prison 


First Weekend of Shotgun Deer Hunting Season!

Rep. Bryant poses with local sportsmen taking a break
from deer hunting in Perry County.
I want to wish all local sportsmen and women the best of luck while hunting this weekend. Shotgun season is an exciting time! I want to pass along some shotgun safety tips provided by our friends at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Check out IDNR's
Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety! 


Thanks to my friends Bruce and Reece Rodely of DuQuoin for taking a break from tracking Bambi today to pose for a selfie! Good luck guys!

Let me know what you think!
As always, my offices in Mt. Vernon and Murphysboro are open every week to assist you with anything that you need. I encourage you to visit my website at www.repbryant.com  - fill out the contact form and send me an email to let me know your opinion on this and any other issue dealing with state government. 


State Rep. Terri Bryant was joined by front line correctional officers today for a press conference announcing
the introduction of a bill to reopen and repurpose the shuttered Murphysboro correctional facility. Bryant also announced her support for keeping the Hardin County Work Camp open. Bryant also introduced a resolution this week that would
establish a task force to study the effectiveness of work camps at reducing recidivism, crime and the overall prison population.
Murphysboro....Calling it a necessary step in reducing Illinois’ overcrowded prison population, State Rep. Terri Bryant (R - Murphysboro) announced Thursday that she has filed legislation aimed at reopening and repurposing the shuttered Illinois Youth Center at Murphysboro. During a press conference in front of the facility, which was closed in 2013 by Democrat Governor Pat Quinn, Bryant detailed her support for an accompanying resolution to study the effectiveness of work camps and adult rehabilitation facilities in reducing recidivism rates.

“I’m here today to announce that I have introduced legislation that would provide the funding and administrative support necessary to reopen and repurpose this institution as an adult correctional facility,” Bryant said. “When Pat Quinn closed this facility, he did it against the advice of everyone that knows anything about how the Department of Corrections works. Pat Quinn’s mistake needs to be corrected so we can reduce the overcrowding in our correctional facilities across this state. Our prisons are currently operating at 150% of their capacity. Opening Murphysboro as an adult correctional facility will provide a much needed relief outlet for the overburdened and overcrowded facilities that pose a danger to our front line staff and to inmates alike.”

Bryant also used the press conference to offer her public support for keeping the Hardin County Work Camp open and to announce she is working to create a task force to study the effectiveness of work camps in Illinois.

“I have reached out to Representative Brandon Phelps and offered my support and sponsorship of his bill to keep the Hardin County Work Camp open, and I have introduced the work camp study resolution because I truly believe in the effectiveness of the work camps,” Bryant said. “Work camps help reduce recidivism, which will help decrease our prison population and ultimately increase public safety and provide adult education, high school equivalency classes, vocational education, and community service opportunities that benefit surrounding communities and the incarcerated individual on their road to rehabilitation.”

Bryant said Phelps has offered his support and is co-sponsoring HB 4340, the bill to reopen Murphysboro as an adult correctional facility, and HJR 105, which creates the Task Force on Work Camp Rehabilitation.

 

Mt. Vernon....On Friday November 13, Rep. Terri Bryant presented Jefferson County Treasurer Dan Knox with a resolution passed by the Illinois House of Representatives congratulating him on being named the Illinois Treasurer's Association Zone 1 Treasurer of the Year. Knox received the award for the 2nd year in a row. House Resolution 836 was sponsored by Rep. Bryant and passed the House unanimously. 


Sesser....State Rep. Terri Bryant and Judge David Overstreet recently joined Youth and Government students from Mt. Vernon Twp. High School at a Pre-Legislative event at the Sesser-Valier High School. Rep. Bryant offered remarks on civic engagement and encouraged students to bring her their ideas for introducing new laws. The Youth and Government students will head to Springfield for the State conference on March 18-March 20. Illinois YMCA Youth & Government is a leadership development program for high school students. (From the Youth and Government website) "Participants immerse themselves in all aspects of Illinois government by assuming roles of legislators, attorneys, executive officials, lobbyists, press members and more.  The culmination of each program year is a 3 day conference in which students debate issues using the actual Illinois Capitol and Supreme Court facilities."
Late last week, I was contacted by the editor of the opinion page of the Southern regarding my stance on legislation dealing with changes to the Child Care Assistance Program. CCAP, as it is known to many, provides low-income families with assistance to help bridge the financial gap when trying to afford childcare.

In that interview, I explained that I believed strongly in the program, but found it disingenuous to support funding levels we can’t afford. I also expressed my concern that the bill would prevent the administration from being able to take management steps in the case of a financial emergency.

Last year, CCAP came up $300 million short and Republicans and Democrats had to come together to find a solution to fund the program. At that time, I gladly took votes to shore up the CCAP program. Other worthy programs were swept and funds were diverted to fix the budget gap that Democratic leaders fully admitted were shorted on purpose. Our finances are even worse this year, and with the ongoing budget impasse things are only deteriorating further.

As a mother, I don’t take this issue lightly. While raising my young family, my husband and I had to work on a tight budget, and often sacrificed sleep and career opportunities as we swapped schedules. Often times, we couldn’t afford child care. As State Representative I have become very familiar with this program because daycare providers and the working families that depend on CCAP have done a tremendous job of organizing and getting their message to me.

Dear Friend, 

Its been a busy couple of weeks in the 115th District. I have traveled across the district, meeting with constituents and attending events. I also traveled to Springfield for a marathon day of legislative action on several vital programs and services. An explanation of all the legislative actions is contained in the lengthy paragraphs below. 

Outside of the constant political war in Springfield, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a few pictures and some stories of the places I've been and the folks I've been meeting with during the last couple of weeks, as well as offer you a glimpse at what's coming up in the New Year (it's just around the corner)!


Rep. Bryant, Jim Maurer of AT&T, and Debbie Holsapple
of Comprehensive Connections
Early this month, I was honored to join Jim Maurer, Vice President of External affairs for AT&T Illinois in presenting $2,000 in Investing in Illinois grant funds to Debbie Holsapple, Fiscal Manager and Deputy Director of Comprehensive Connections. The money will be used by Comprehensive Connections to support meals for senior citizens. Thank you to AT&T for your support of this vital service and thank you to all of those that help make comprehensive connections successful.

Rep. Bryant is shown here with Mt. Vernon High School's
Youth and Government delegation. 

I also had the privilege of joining with several area high schools' Youth and Government programs for their pre-legislative event. Every year, students from across the state converge on Springfield to engage in mock legislature and Supreme Court exercises. I was proud to stand with the students of the Mt. Vernon high school chapter of the YMCA sponsored Youth and Government program at this year's event hosted by Sesser-Valier high school.



I took the opportunity to extend my appreciation to the students for their interest in the political process and I encouraged them to submit their ideas for legislation to my office. Congratulations to all of the students and best of luck in Springfield in March!


I was very honored to present the Jefferson County Senior Saints with official Certificates of Congratulations from the Illinois House of Representatives. Each year, seniors that volunteer, donate money and their time, and participate in activities that benefit the community are honored by The Senior Saints Hall of Fame, a cooperative program between the hall of fame committee, the City of Mt. Vernon, Jefferson County and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. Congratulations to all of this year's Senior Saints winners! You can read more about the Senior Saints program by clicking here

And finally, last Friday I presented my good friend, Jefferson County Treasurer Dan Knox with a congratulatory resolution that passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday. Earlier this year, Treasurer Knox was named the Illinois County Treasurer's Association Zone 1 Treasurer of the Year. This is the second year in a row that Dan has earned this distinction. Thank you to Treasurer Knox and his outstanding staff for the great work you do for the citizens of Jefferson County!

And now, for more information on Illinois' budget situation, and movement on important pieces of legislation, please click the "Read More" link below: 



Mt. Vernon....On Tuesday, November 3, Rep. Terri Bryant joined Jim Maurer, Vice President of External affairs for AT&T Illinois in presenting $2,000 in Investing in Illinois grant funds to Debbie Holsapple, Fiscal Manager and Deputy Director of Comprehensive Connections. The money will be used by Comprehensive Connections to support meals for senior citizens.