Dear Friends,

Yesterday, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued a disaster proclamation for seven counties to help support them and recover from flood damages. These counties include Calhoun, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair. 

You can find the latest information on evacuation instructions and road closures by visiting http://jacksoncountyema.yolasite.com/

Volunteers 
Anyone wishing to volunteer for the flood fighting efforts, please call the Jackson County Volunteer Coordinator at 618-534-9212. Please note that if you are volunteering, you must prepare to be self-sufficient with respect to adequate clothing, gloves, food etc.

The volunteer effort thus far has been amazing. Southern Illinoisans are pulling together to help their friends and neighbors fill and place sandbags and provide food and shelter to displaced families.

Organizations wishing to volunteer in groups should also work through the Volunteer Coordinator prior to deployment.

Bottoms Evacuation Facebook Page
I want to extend a special note of thanks to the administrators of the Bottoms Evacuation Facebook Page. This Facebook group has gathered more than 2,000 members in its short existence and has provided critical information regarding the volunteer effort. The Jackson County Volunteer support center has also played a critical role in dispatching volunteers to help sandbag and deliver food. Thank you to these special groups and to all of their members for their hard work and volunteerism. 


Murphysboro....State Rep. Terri Bryant joined members and staff of the Murphysboro Chamber of Commerce for a different kind of ribbon cutting this week. The Chamber is always present at ribbon cuttings for new businesses, but this time it was their turn to cut a ribbon at their new offices.

The new office of the Murphysboro Chamber of Commerce is located within the First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust on Walnut street in Murphysboro. Congratulations! Bryant joined Executive Director Bruce Wallace and Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens for the event.

Dear Friend,

This week's edition of my E-news week in review will be much lighter on the policy side than last week. This past Monday, the Illinois Senate passed SB 2039 and Governor Rauner quickly signed it into law. The bill, as I told you last week, was created out of necessity due to the budget crisis.

The bill contains more than $3  billion in funding for 911 emergency response, local government distribution and motor fuel tax disbursements. The bill contains funding for IDOT and local road maintainers to have access to salt and supplies they will need to keep our roads safe in winter conditions.
Carterville....I joined Tom Miller of WJPF River Radio on December 8 to talk about the state budget and other matters important to Illinois government. Please take a listen and share this link with your friends. Thank you for all of the input you provide to my office. Your opinion counts! Please take a listen and share your thoughts on the state of Illinois government. It is my privilege to serve you in Springfield!

Click here to listen!
Murphysboro....I visited Murphysboro to act as Principal for a day today. I met some incredibly smart students. This is a water table. It's used to illustrate the way water flows through different types of soil. It is shared between Murphysboro and TriCo. 


This is one of the only water tables in the region. The students and teachers were very excited about this. I had a great visit as Principal for a day in Murphysboro today! Thanks to the administration, staff, and students for the warm welcome and the education!



####
Dear Friend,

News came fast and furious out of Springfield this week. In order to get you up to date on everything that happened, this week's e-news update will focus on three key points.

Gov. Rauner and legislative leaders met for an historic
public meeting this week. More meetings on the budget
are planned in the coming weeks.
First, Governor Rauner and the 4 legislative leaders, (House Speaker Madigan, Minority Leader Durkin, Senate President Cullerton and Minority Leader Radogno) met for an historic public meeting on Tuesday. The meeting was the first of its kind and unique in that all 5 leaders made public statements detailing their positions on the major issues facing Illinois. After their public statements, the leaders went into a private meeting for several hours.

Though a final solution was not reached during the meeting, I am encouraged that more meetings are planned.

 Our leaders need to be talking to each other. The people of our state have suffered because of hyper-partisanship and the lack of willingness of our leaders to come together and compromise to reach a budget solution. Getting the people in charge of ultimately solving our budget impasse in the same room was a positive first step.

Building on the cooperative spirit of the leaders' meeting, on Wednesday the House took action on a bill to provide more than $3 billion in funding for various critical services.  The bill covers spending from dozens of special funds that are dedicated to specific issues. SB 2039 passed the House with near unanimous support. Below is a list of items covered under the bill:

Springfield....State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) voted on Wednesday to support funding for critical services that will benefit multiple government and service related agencies across Southern Illinois. Bryant said that the bill, which appropriates just over $3 billion in spending from several dedicated funds will help remove funding uncertainty on a variety of fronts.

“When we work together, and put partisan politics aside, we can get important work done in Springfield,” Bryant said. “Today’s bill will provide funding to many critical areas including low income energy assistance, 911 emergency response funding, motor fuel tax disbursements to local and county governments, veterans, and victims of domestic violence.”

Bryant had previously supported HB 4305, when the legislature was last in session in November. That bill would have provided funding for many of the same items, but was held up due to a procedural motion implemented by a top member of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s leadership team.

“It shouldn’t have taken this long,” Bryant said. “Unfortunately, the funding items in the bill that passed today were held in legislative limbo during the Thanksgiving break, as many local governments and critical service providers sat and wondered if their money was coming. But, the positive takeaway from today is that this bill will provide money to pay vendors that provide food to our prisons, service to the Anna Veteran’s Home, the Special Olympics, and funding for things like fixing potholes and paying for IDOT to have the salt and supplies it will need to keep our roads safe this winter.”

SB 2039 received 107 yes votes and now heads to the Senate for final concurrence. If it reaches Governor Rauner’s desk, he is expected to sign it.

                                                                              ####