Dear Friend,

This week's E News focuses on two major issues that came about this week. Thank you for your continued input on the issues facing the State of Illinois. Also, this week my long time friend and legislative aid Beckie Johnson has decided to retire and enjoy time with her grandchildren in Florida. I am so happy for Beckie and I want to publicly thank her for her friendship and hard work for the people of Illinois. Beckie has been a dedicated public servant having worked for Senator John O. Jones for many years. Beckie will truly be missesd. All the best to her!

HB 40 - I Voted NO on Taxpayer Funded Abortion
I spoke forcefully against a bill that would vastly expand access to elective, taxpayer-funded abortions during a more than hour-long debate on HB 40 on Tuesday. I also voted no on the measure,

This bill goes to the core of my faith. I believe a life begins at conception and no one has a right to take that life. The sponsors of this bill routinely introduce legislation and support bills to use Medicaid dollars to help the most vulnerable among us. The same value set that drives those votes does not square with using Medicaid dollars to terminate the lives of the weakest, most helpless, and vulnerable of those among us, the unborn.

During questioning, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) admitted that the bill will expand the use of Medicaid to pay for elective abortions. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) has estimated that the bill could result in an extra $60 million of Medicaid spending to cover abortions per year.

The bill’s sponsor also admitted that the bill allows women to choose abortions for any reason, during any stage of pregnancy. In, just my lifetime, we have moved from allowing 1st trimester, to 2nd, then 3rd trimester and now partial birth abortion. HB 40 provides taxpayer funded abortion on demand and I cannot in good conscience support this attempt to expand the taxpayer’s financial burden to fund these barbaric practices.

On Tuesday, hundreds of women descended on Springfield to march in support of equal pay for women, expanded abortion access, and a host of other issues. I find it bewildering that on ‘Women’s Day’ in Springfield, Chicago Democrats advanced a bill to vastly expand abortion access. Their failure to recognize the unfulfilled potential of the millions of female lives that have been aborted in the decades that have passed since Roe vs. Wade is a truly perverted twist on the issue of equal opportunity for women.

Governor Rescinds Layoffs of Department of Corrections Nurses
State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) issued the following statement on Thursday in response to news that Governor Rauner has rescinded previously planned layoffs and will return to the negotiations with the Illinois Nurses Association.

I was extremely disappointed and concerned when I learned of the planned layoffs of more than 120 Illinois correctional facility nurses. I was a proud chief co-sponsor of a bill that passed the House that would have rescinded the layoffs of the nurses that work in Illinois’ correctional facilities.

As a retired, 20-year veteran of the Illinois Department of Corrections, I understand the difficult environment that these hard-working nurses face every day. I was pleased to learn on Thursday that the Administration has in fact rescinded the layoffs and expressed their willingness to return to the negotiating table.

I believe that the layoffs and subcontracting can be permanently solved if both sides negotiate seriously and in good faith. I urge both sides to stay at the table as long as it takes to come to a reasonable and fair agreement.

Page for a Day
It was my honor to host Woodlawn 7th grader Angelina Bruggen as my Page for a Day on Thursday. Thank you for visiting us in Springfield!


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 4:30 PM. You can find me on Facebook to keep up with my travels throughout the district. 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….Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) spoke forcefully against a bill that would vastly expand access to elective, taxpayer-funded abortions during a more than hour-long debate on HB 40 on Tuesday. Bryant, who ultimately voted no on the measure, cited both her faith and the potential cost to the State of Illinois as her reasons for opposing the bill.

“This bill goes to the core of my faith,” Bryant said. “I believe a life begins at conception and no one has a right to take that life. The sponsors of this bill routinely introduce legislation and support bills to use Medicaid dollars to help the most vulnerable among us. The same value set that drives those votes does not square with using Medicaid dollars to terminate the lives of the weakest, most helpless, and vulnerable of those among us, the unborn.”

During questioning, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) admitted that the bill will expand the use of Medicaid to pay for elective abortions. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) has estimated that the bill could result in an extra $60 million of Medicaid spending to cover abortions per year.

“The bill’s sponsor admitted that the bill allows women to choose abortions for any reason, during any stage of pregnancy,” Bryant said. “During my lifetime we have moved from allowing 1st trimester, to 2nd, then the 3rd trimester and now we allow partial birth abortion. HB 40 provides taxpayer funded abortion on demand and I cannot in good conscience support this attempt to expand the taxpayer’s financial burden to fund this barbaric practice.”

On Tuesday, hundreds of women descended on Springfield to march in support of equal pay for women, expanded abortion access, and a host of other issues. Bryant says she was stunned by the lack of self-awareness shown by the supporters of HB 40 and the women rallying at the Capitol today.

“I find it bewildering that on ‘Women’s Day’ here in Springfield, the Democrats from Chicago pushed a bill to vastly expand abortion access,” Bryant said. “Their failure to recognize the unfulfilled potential of the millions of female lives that have been aborted in the decades that have passed since Roe vs. Wade is a truly perverted twist on the issue equal opportunity for women.”

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 Dear Friend, 

This week the action in the Illinois House was dominated by an attempt by Speaker Madigan and House Democrats to pass a so-called "lifeline" budget for human services and higher education.

I voted NO on this empty-promise filled spending plan. I am happy to explain why:

1. The Governor indicated he would veto the bill if it reached his desk. The bill did not pass with enough votes to override a Governor's veto. Passing a spending bill knowing it will never become law is an empty promise.

2. The bill did not include a full year of funding. The amount of money appropriated to the Southern Illinois University system would amount to a 60% CUT, as it is likely that the money provided in HB 109 would be all the funding SIU would see in Fiscal Year 2018.

3. The Democrats' spending plan contained more than $10 million in pork barrel projects for Chicago
legislators. Some of the money was earmarked for programs that either no longer exist or are ineligible to receive funding. Here are two egregious examples:

- $1.5 million for a Chicago Area Health and Medical Careers Program. This program has been disbanded. No employees work there and the program doesn't exist any more. 

- $265,000 each for an African American Family Commission and a Latino Family Commission. Neither entity is currently eligible to receive funds previously appropriated for FY17 due to noncompliance issues with reporting of how funds were previously spent.

At this point, you are right to ask yourself, "If Democrats were serious about funding higher education and human services, why would they include millions of dollars in spending for programs that either no longer exist or are ineligible to receive funding?"

The answer is because this wasn't a serious attempt to fund higher education and human services.

This bill was about political theater. HB 109 was advanced so Speaker Madigan's political organization can can paint Republicans as cruel and uncaring in upcoming political advertisements.

But, what's truly cruel is for Democrats to make this type of empty promise to victims of domestic violence, persons with disabilities, and University staff, students, and administration and pretend that their vote means funding would actually make it to these folks that need it.

I have repeatedly said that I am ready and willing to work with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to find agreement on a budget that balances and fixes the long term issues facing our state while respecting the priorities of both Republicans and Democrats. The gotcha votes and the one-sided attempts at passing budgets must come to an end.

4. Voting to support the so-called "lifeline budget" would have stopped the movement of a real, fully-funded budget in the Senate. Last week, State Senator Bill Brady introduced fully-funded full-year budget with reforms, cuts, and revenue. The bill is currently being negotiated by Democrats and Republicans alike. I want to restate that point: The budget bill currently before the Senate is being worked on in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion.

The House adjourned on Friday for the next two weeks and the Senate is already adjourned until April 25th. The areas of disagreement in Senator Brady's fully-funded, full-year budget are being hammered out over the next two weeks in advance of the House and Senate's return to Springfield.

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 AM to 4:30 PM. You can find me on Facebook to keep up with my travels throughout the district. 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!




Dear Friend, 

This week, SIU President Randy Dunn detailed proposed cuts to the budget for the Southern Illinois University system. The SIU Carbondale campus is situated within the 115th district, and is a major research and economic engine for Southern Illinois. 

Like you, I am troubled at the numbers outlined in President Dunn’s proposal. The budget impasse is having a severe impact on higher education as a whole in the State of Illinois. I have been meeting with President Dunn and Chancellor Colwell on a regular basis, both in Springfield and at various events in the district to identify the needs of the university system.

When this session began, I requested to be made a member of the House Higher Education Committee. That request was granted and I am now a standing member of the Committee. I am using my time on the Higher Ed committee to work to ensure healthy growth and proper maintenance of all three of SIU's campuses and to increase awareness among my colleagues of the dire situation facing the University.

More must be done to protect Southern Illinois’ flagship university. Every week, I am continuing to work to bring my colleagues together to fashion a balanced budget that will grow our economy and create jobs.

SIU President Dunn and FFA Students Meet at the Capitol
Speaking of President Dunn, a group of Future Farmers of America students from Mt. Vernon High School met with Mr. Dunn and myself in the Capitol rotunda this week. The students were accompanied by former Ag Teacher of the Year, Mr. John Kabat, Sponsor of the Mt. Vernon High School FFA. Thanks to President Dunn and Mr. Kabat for joining us for pictures!


Special Olympics of Southern Illinois Visits Springfield
I had a terrific time meeting with Special Olympians visiting Springfield this week. Thank you for visiting your Capitol!

Poshard Foundation Recognizes April as Child Abuse Prevention Month
As you may know, April is recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Earlier this morning, I was proud to join Glenn and Jo Poshard at John A Logan College on Friday for a special event to help raise awareness. I want to thank Jo and Glenn Poshard and all that contribute to the Poshard Foundation to help combat the scourge of child abuse in our communities.

To learn how you can help the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, please click here.


House Gives Unanimous Support to DuQuoin State Fair Funding Bill
On Thursday evening, I was proud to earn unanimous support for a bipartisan measure intended to help protect funding for maintenance and activities at the DuQuoin State Fair. HB 3274 requires any income derived from the sale of advertising at the DuQuoin State Fair to be deposited into the Illinois State Fair Fund rather than the Agricultural Premium Fund as is the current practice.

The change in law will help protect scarce financial resources at a time when the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds is in need of significant repairs and upgrades.

Thousands of families visit the DuQuoin State Fair every year, and it is a source of pride for me, the city of DuQuoin, and Southern Illinoisans in general. My bill will ensure that any advertising dollars spent at the DuQuoin State Fair come back to Southern Illinois to help fix up the fairgrounds and keep the fair safe for generations to come.

This bill accompanies Republican efforts last year to provide further funding avenues for the State’s two fairgrounds. In 2016, I  sponsored legislation to establish a foundation to allow private fundraising to aid in repairs to the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. HB 4990 was bottled up in Speaker Madigan’s Rules Committee and never allowed a hearing.

Enhanced DUI Penalty Bill Passes House
Also this week, I successfully passed legislation to allow enhanced penalties for impaired drivers involved in vehicle-property collisions through the Illinois House. The need for this change in the law comes from a case in Mt. Vernon where several families’ apartments were destroyed and much of what they owned was destroyed in a fire caused by a drunken driving accident.  

HB 2606 would allow prosecutors to charge offenders with aggravated DUI when catastrophic damage to property occurs as a result of a collision between a vehicle and a business or residential property The minimum threshold for damages under the bill would be $50,000. The bill is now waiting consideration in the Senate.

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 AM to 4:30 PM. You can find me on Facebook to keep up with my travels throughout the district. 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!