Dear Friend,

During his second annual budget address, the Governor indicated that he is ready to work across party lines to balance the state budget. I am hopeful that the financial choices laid out by the Governor last week will eventually strike a nerve with rank and file Democrats in the legislature and spark movement to finally fix our budget problems.

According to data available through the Illinois Comptroller's website, Illinois currently owes more than $7 billion in unpaid bills. If the state continues to operate without a budget for FY 17, we will spend $6.2 billion more than we have coming in. If we do nothing, we will undoubtedly begin next fiscal year with more than $10 billion in debt. That doesn't even count the more than $100 billion in liabilities owed to the state's pension systems. Illinois is awash in red ink.

Tax and spend policies and unfriendly business laws have caused a massive outward migration of jobs and population that has crushed our tax base. There are realities that have to be faced in Illinois. Raising taxes alone has not fixed our state's problems. In fact, we are worse off financially now than before the 'temporary' income tax was even implemented.


We can not fall victim to an endless cycle of raising taxes and then spending more than we take in. That is a recipe for disaster, as we have seen. Reforms to the way our State approaches job creation and the management of our tax dollars are necessary if we want to improve our financial condition. 



Rep. Bryant and Leader Durkin were joined by family
members and friends of Molly Young for a press conference
to announce new legislation on Saturday
Introducing "Molly's Law" at Saturday Press Conference in Carbondale with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin responds to
reporters' questions during Saturday's press conference.
This past Saturday, I was joined by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin at the Carbondale Civic Center to announce the introduction of legislation aimed at strengthening Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act, and changes the time frame in which wrongful death lawsuits can be filed. The change in the law is meant to aid victims’ families in their pursuit of the truth about the death of a loved one.

I was proud to stand beside Molly Young's father Larry, and several of Molly's friends and family members who have been working since Molly's death in 2012 to gain information on the investigation into her passing.

Mr. Young approached me last year with some thoughts on how we could strengthen our laws to aid families dealing with these terrible situations, and I was happy to explore ways in which we could help.


HB 6083, titled “Molly’s Law” states that public bodies that willfully and intentionally fail to comply with Court orders to release information through FOIA can be penalized up to $10,000 for each occurrence. If the public body fails to comply with the court’s order after 30 days, under HB 6083 the court would impose an additional $1,000 penalty for every day the violation continues. 
There was extensive media coverage of this press conference.

Please take the time to read the news accounts of this newly introduced law by following the links below. 


The Daily Egyptian - Rep. Bryant, Illinois House Republican Leader Durkin announce 'Molly's Law'


WSIU Radio - "Molly's Law" Filed in Springfield; Would Change FOIA and Wrongful Death Rules


WPSD Local 6Father looking to change law after daughter's 2012 death

WSIL TV 3 -  Molly Young death investigation inspires new legislation

The Southern Illinoisan -  Bryant introduces Molly's Law

KFVS 12 - IL lawmakers hope to pass 'Molly's Law' in honor of Molly Young

Eagle Scout Presentation
Congratulations to Josh Loyd of Carbondale on attaining the rank of Eagle Scout! I was pleased to join Josh and his family and friends for a pinning ceremony at the Giant City Lodge in Makanda last week.

I presented Josh with an official certificate of congratulations from the Illinois House of Representatives. Josh is a fine young man that will go far. I am so honored that he and his family welcomed me to join in this special event! Congratulations Josh!

If you or someone you know is interested in receiving special recognition from the Illinois House of Representatives, please feel free to contact my office with details!





Cedarhurst Center for the Arts - Family Fun!
The 115th district is home to many points of cultural interest. One of my favorite spots to take my grand daughters is Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon. We are pictured here with a Gorilla sculpture commissioned by artist John Kearney in 1990.

To learn more about Cedarhurst Center for the Arts Click Here!










S
tay 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 to 4:00 PM. You can find me on Facebook to keep up with my travels throughout the district. You can email me directly at bryant@ilhousegop.org or send me a message through the contact form on my website.

Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!
Family members and friends of Molly Young's family  joined Rep. Terri Bryant and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin for a press
conference in Carbondale on Saturday. Bryant has introduced HB 6083, dubbed "Molly's Law"
Carbondale….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) joined House Republican Leader Jim Durkin on Saturday at the Carbondale Civic Center to announce that she has introduced legislation aimed at strengthening Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act, and change the timeframe in which wrongful death lawsuits can be filed. Bryant says the change in the law is meant to aid victims’ families in their pursuit of the truth about the death of their loved one.

“Today, I am proud to stand beside Larry Young, Molly Young’s father, who has been fighting since the death of his daughter in 2012 to gain information on the investigation into her death,” Bryant said. “Larry approached me last year with some thoughts on how we can strengthen our laws to aid families dealing with these terrible situations, and I was happy to explore ways in which we could help.”
Rep. Bryant responds to questions from reporters at Saturday's press
conference.

HB 6083, titled “Molly’s Law” states that public bodies that willfully and intentionally fail to comply with Court orders to release information through FOIA can be penalized up to $10,000 for each occurrence. If the public body fails to comply with the court’s order after 30 days, under HB 6083 the court would impose an additional $1,000 penalty for every day the violation continues. 


Additionally, the newly introduced legislation changes language in regard to the state’s Wrongful Death law. Current law states that a wrongful death suit must be brought within 2 years of the death of a decedent. Rep. Bryant’s bill changes the law to say that a lawsuit would be able to be brought within 2 years after the discovery of evidence that indicates that a wrongful death may have occurred.


House Republican Leader Jim Durkin joined Bryant and the Young family for the press conference and talked about the importance of this change in the law for families in the future. 

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin answers a question from reporters
during Saturday's press conference in Carbondale.

“Due to the length of time that the investigation into Molly Young’s death has taken, the statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits expired. I don’t believe this is a unique situation as other families have sadly stood in Larry Young’s shoes,” Durkin said. “This change in law will allow sufficient time for a determination of death to be made in future cases.  The changes that “Molly’s Law” makes will help families in these situations with accessing public information and allow sufficient time to investigate what really happened. It’s a victim’s rights bill I’m glad to stand with Larry Young and Rep. Bryant today to lend my support to their efforts.” 




####


Springfield….Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his second Budget Address to the General Assembly on Wednesday. State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) believes the Governor sent a clear signal he is ready to work across party lines to balance the state budget.

“The Governor detailed the very dangerous financial consequences of ignoring the State's most pressing issues, and clearly expressed to the majority party his willingness to negotiate towards a balanced budget,” Bryant said. “Since I’ve been in office, the Democrats have not shown a willingness to compromise on a budget that is balanced. I think it is clear the Governor has been and continues to be willing to strike a deal.”

Bryant says she is hopeful that House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton are willing to put aside election year politics and make the citizens that rely on state services and the taxpayers that fund them a priority.

“The State of Illinois has been digging this financial hole for more than a decade,” Bryant said. “The Governor rightly pointed out that Illinois has seen massive outward migration of jobs and population that has crushed our tax base. There are realities that have to be faced here, and raising taxes alone will not fix our problem. He illustrated that we are worse off financially now than before the 'temporary' income tax was even implemented. Reforms to the way our State approaches job creation and the management of our tax dollars are necessary if we want to improve our financial condition.”

Bryant says she hopes the financial choices laid out by the Governor today will strike a nerve with rank and file Democrats in the legislature and spark an honest conversation about Illinois’ budget situation.

####
Dear Friend,

This week was indeed an historic one in Illinois, with President Obama making an address to a joint session of the Illinois Legislature on Wednesday. President Obama is the 4th sitting President to address the Illinois General Assembly, joining Presidents William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, and Jimmy Carter as the only other Presidents to do so.

This week I was busy traveling back and forth to Springfield and attending events and meeting people all around my district. Bitter temperatures are expected to lift late next week. Here's to hoping they are gone for a long while! We return to Springfield next week for more session and there is much work to be done. Illinois is in its 8th month without a budget. We have to get to work on passing a balanced budget with an eye toward reforming the way our broken state treats job creators.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!


Please read below for more information on my travels in the 115th district this week, and until the weather breaks, STAY WARM!



Also, I want to take a moment to wish my wonderful husband Rick a VERY Happy Valentine's Day. I hope you all get to spend the day with someone you love! 



Vergennes Receives Grant Notification to Build New Water Tower


On Monday, I was pleased to join the Vergennes village board for their monthly meeting. An announcement was made that the village had received notice that they were awarded a grant to build a new water tower.

I am proud to say that by working together and urging on the Capital Development Board, the village was selected for the funds. When they receive the money a new water tower will be built.This is exciting news for the village!

I want to congratulate the Mayor and the village board members on their hard work to help the good people of Vergennes have access to safe, clean water!

John Kabat and Adrian Austin of Mt. Vernon Township High School's FFA Honored with Resolution

Rep. Bryant is pictured here with John Kabat and Adrian
Austin of the Mt. Vernon High School FFA
As some of you may know, the Mt. Vernon Township High School's Future Farmers of America program is one of the best in the entire State of Illinois. Mr. John Kabat is an outstanding teacher, and leader of the FFA at MVTHS. Last year, Mr. Kabat received the National Agriculture Service Citation Award in New Orleans at the National Association of Agriculture Educators Conference.


Only 6 people in the United States are selected for this honor every year. Congratulations to Mr. Kabat on this incredible award. I honored his hard work and years of dedication to the FFA in Mt. Vernon with a House Resolution that passed last week. You can read the Resolution Clicking Here!

Rep. Bryant reads a resolution to Adrian Austin congratulating
her on success at the 2015 National FFA Convention.

Another House Resolution that passed last week honored Mt. Vernon High School Senior Adrian Austin for  earning top marks at the National Future Farmers of America Convention. Adrian Austin won first place in the nation in reasons evaluation on all species of livestock during the 88th National FFA Convention held last year. Congratulations to Adrian! You can read her Resolution Here!


Shawnee Forest Quarter Launch Event

I was excited to be in attendance for the launch of the new Illinois Quarter. The new quarter features Camel Rock in Shawnee National Forest. The Shawnee National Forest is just a few miles from my house and I could not be more proud to represent an area that is home to such a beautiful natural treasure!
Representatives from the US Mint and Forestry Service, as
well as other 
honored guests from around the country


WJPF Radio Interview

I was honored to speak with Tom Miller on the WJPF morning news watch this week. We talked about the President's address and many other topics. Please click here to listen in!

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 to 4:00 PM. You can find me on Facebook to keep up with my travels throughout the district. You can email me directly at bryant@ilhousegop.org or send me a message through the contact form on my website.

Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!
Springfield….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) is sponsoring a bill to help address a problem she finds disturbing, a trend that has adults and teenagers videotaping staged assaults, gang-style beatings, and one-on-one battles between consenting and non-consenting participants, and then uploading them to social media accounts and street fighting websites. The bill would add the misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct if the intent of the filming is to promote or condone the illegal violence.

"The bill is designed to discourage people from uploading video to YouTube or other social networking websites with the intent to promote or condone the crimes being committed. We're addressing organized gang-related fights, staged one-on-one fights, and the ‘knockout game'," Bryant said. "If someone has evidence of these crimes on video, and fail to provide a law enforcement agency with that video upon request, under this bill they could possibly face a disorderly conduct charge."

Bryant says she has been aware of the problem with both adults and youths staging fights and filming planned assaults on unassuming victims for a while now.  However, the issue hit home recently when cell phone video of a fight between Murphysboro middle schoolers was uploaded to social media.

"You see these stories in national newspapers, on TV and online, and you think that those problems don't happen in your community," Bryant said. "We saw in my own hometown of Murphysboro several students standing around laughing and filming some pretty violent behavior in an after school fight. It was obvious the assault was planned and it was obvious that those filming it were planning to do so. Instead of going to get help, instead of giving the video to the police as evidence of a crime, the bystanders uploaded the videos to their social media accounts."

Bryant says she the main point of HB 4419 is to address the rapid multiplication of this type of violence and to dissuade minors from repeating the mistakes that they see adults make. Bryant says protecting victims' rights in situations like these is equally as important.

"If we can show adults that this type of behavior is unacceptable, it is my hope that kids will learn from that," Bryant said. "Also, when someone does not consent to a fight, when someone is knocked out from behind as part of some sick game, they are a victim of a very violent crime. Sometimes they have to relive the trauma because the videos play on social media, and YouTube. We need to think of the victims of these brutal assaults and send a message to our young people that when adults do this, it is wrong. When kids do it, it is wrong too."
                                                                                    ####
Dear Friend,

Last week was a busy one in the Illinois House. The Governor offered his annual State of the State Address to a joint Session of the Illinois House and Senate.

He mentioned several critical items of note and called upon the legislature to work together in a more productive way. We also debated and voted on a bill that purports to be a funding bill for MAP grants and for some adult education programs.

State of the State Address
In his annual State of the State Address, Governor Rauner reminded Illinoisans that despite the fact that significant challenges remain, progress on some important areas of reform has been made since he took office just over a year ago.

A joint session of the legislature convened recently
for Governor Rauner's 2nd Annual State of the State Address
He noted that more children are moving from state sponsored facilities to foster homes and that our system of tax credits for businesses has been changed to reward job creation. I was pleased to hear the Governor mention that he will renew his efforts to push reforms to the workers’ compensation program, term limits to stop career politicians, and a fair process for drawing legislative maps.

To read more on my reaction to the Governor's State of the State Address Click Here. More news on my reaction is here.

MAP Grant and Community College and Adult Education Funding
An early Thursday morning session of the Illinois House of Representatives put on display some really shameful political posturing by the House Democrats on MAP grant funding.

Rep. Bryant speaks on the MAP grant legislation SB 2043.
The students that rely on the MAP grant program were used as pawns in Mike Madigan's political game. I voted no on SB 2043 because the spending plan lacks a funding mechanism.

The bill was wholly inadequate in its scope as well. Though they sold the bill as a higher education funding bill, SB 2043 included Zero dollars for Southern Illinois University. I cannot support a funding bill that leaves out Southern Illinois' flagship University.

I have a plan to fund MAP grants, Community Colleges and public Universities in Illinois. To read more about my plan to fund these critical higher education items, Click Here. You can watch my speech on the House Floor on this issue here:

a

WJPF Radio Interview
When I got home from Springfield last week, I was pleased to speak with Newsradio WJPF's Tom Miller about the MAP grant issue and about the budget and upcoming elections. Thanks, Tom for the interview. You can listen by Clicking Here!

Union County Chamber Gala
Congratulations to my friends in Union County on a fantastic Chamber of Commerce Gala.

See more pictures of the event by reading the Union County Chamber's Monthly Newsletter Here

I was glad to be joined by former Murphysboro Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bruce Wallace as well as some students that are aspiring entrepreneurs. Always great to see young people with so much ambition and drive!

Thank you to the Chamber for a wonderful event and to the emcees Mollie Lair & Laura Wibbenmeyer of KFVS Channel 12. I can't wait to return next year!


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 to 4:00 PM. You can find me on Facebook to keep up with my travels throughout the district. You can email me directly at bryant@ilhousegop.org or send me a message through the contact form on my website.

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