Dear Friend,

As 2016 draws to an end, we look forward to a new year destined to shape of the political course of our country and our state. I want to invite you to please follow all the upcoming legislative action at my website www.RepBryant.com and be sure to leave me feedback on the site's Contact Form

My New Year's Resolution is to continue bringing you updates on the happenings in Springfield and to continue representing the people of Southern Illinois to the best of my ability. There are some important dates coming up in January, including inauguration and the beginning of the 100th Illinois General Assembly.

Inauguration January 11, 2017
On January 11, 2017 the 100th General Assembly of the State of Illinois will take the oath of office. A swearing in ceremony will take place on the campus of the University of Illinois Springfield. I will post photos and share information on the election of House leaders and much more. I look forward to raising my right hand and swearing to defend the Constitution of Illinois and the Constitution of the United States. It is my honor and privilege to serve as your State Representative.

New Laws 2017
On January 1, 2017, a significant number of new laws will take effect. For those wishing to catch up on the coming changes, the Illinois House Republican Caucus Blog has detailed explanations on 26 new laws that reflect significant changes.

A Look Ahead - Stopgap Budget Expires Dec. 31
Our State's fiscal condition is at an all time low, and the stopgap budget passed in June runs out as the New Year begins. Funding for Pre-K through 12th grade education will continue through the end of the fiscal year, but many critical services will be facing the prospect of no funding. The budget crisis in Illinois needs to come to a resolution immediately. I will continue to push both sides of the aisle to come together to pass a balanced budget to ensure critical state services continue uninterrupted.

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 4:30 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 at www.repbryant.com

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

It's Christmas again in Southern Illinois! This is truly one of my favorite times of the year. This Christmas season, I have been blessed to enjoy many of the fun events that Christmastime in Southern Illinois has to offer.

It is the honor of my lifetime to Represent the people of Southern Illinois in Springfield. I also find great joy in watching my children raise my grandchildren right here at home. I am truly blessed to know all of you and I want to extend my warmest wishes to you for very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dear Friend,

In this week's edition, I want to share some information with you that relates to my travels to Chicago this week to attend a joint committee hearing of the House and Senate's Human Services Committees. I am not a member of the Human Services committee, but specifically asked to be allowed to temporarily join the committee as a substitute because the issue being discussed is near and dear to Southern Illinois.

As many of you may know, during Pat Quinn's administration, Illinois radically changed the course of our mental health policy to move away from using state run mental health facilities like the Warren G. Murray Center in Centralia in favor of a "group home" or CILA mentality. CILA stands for Community Integrated Living Arrangement.

Rep. Bryant questions witnesses testifying before a joint committee
of the Illinois House and Senate's Human Services Committee during
a meeting in Chicago on Wednesday.
CILA's do have a place in the overall strategy to care for our most vulnerable citizens. It is incumbent upon all of us to make sure that the private contracting entities responsible for managing these types of housing arrangements are living up to their responsibility to provide top notch care for individuals with developmental disabilities in clean, safe environments.


Unfortunately, a lack of proper oversight and a lack of resources has led to some disturbing revelations made recently a series of articles written by the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune's investigation identified 1,311 cases of documented harm since July 2011 and at least 42 deaths linked to abuse and neglect in group homes or their day programs over the last seven years.

A significant development occurred on Tuesday when a Cook County judge ordered Disability Services, a company that runs group homes in Illinois, to turn over 18 of its residents to the state due to the possibility of "irreparable harm" being done to the residents of their CILAs. You can read more about that decision by clicking here.

When Pat Quinn tried to close the state run Murray Center in Southern Illinois, many families were put in an immediate crisis situation. Despite having lived their entire lives at Murray Center, residents and their families faced the possibility of being moved into a CILA, causing interruption to life long-routines and the potential of being moved as far away as Chicago.

It is my long-held belief that Illinois needs to have places like the Murray Center available for families to bring their loved ones to get around the clock, specialized care and supervision that they need and deserve. We also must have a place for individuals that are mentally disturbed and unable to feed or care for themselves in any way. Our society should be judged on how we care for our most vulnerable citizens.

During the hearing on Thursday, one of the CILA's administrators stated that he believed that Illinois should close 6 of its 7 state run mental health institutions. I found this to be completely unacceptable, especially when considering the revelations of 1311 cases of harm and 42 deaths in CILA's over the last seven years. You can read the Chicago Tribune's series called "Suffering in Secret" by clicking here.

In the coming weeks and months, I will continue to call on the Illinois Department of Human Services to do all that it can to implement a comprehensive strategy that protects places like Choate Mental Health Center in Anna and the Murray Center in Centralia so vulnerable citizens in Southern Illinois will have safe, reliable facilities to turn to.

I will keep you updated on further committee meetings on this topic.

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 4:30 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 at www.repbryant.com

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