Dear Friend, 

This week was absolutely jammed packed with action. So let’s get right to it!

Governor Signs Bill to Assist Volunteer Firefighters
On Monday, I sent out a press release announcing that Governor Rauner has signed HB 771.  I was proud to be the chief sponsor of this legislation in the House.  The law will allow volunteer firefighters to purchase one set of tires every three years at a discounted price using their fire station’s purchasing agreement. There is currently a shortage of volunteer firefighters in Illinois. This bill will hopefully help to incentivize more folks to join their local volunteer fire department.

Senator Schimpf and Rep. Bryant are pictured here with officials
from the Illinois Firefighters Association after being named 
Honorary Fire Chiefs for their dedication to issues important to firefighters.

I want to thank Senator Schimpf for carrying this bill in the Senate and I want to sincerely thank Governor Rauner for signing this important piece of legislation into law.


Transportation for Illinois Coalition Meeting in Mt. Vernon
On Tuesday, I met with leaders from across the state of Illinois to discuss the future of transportation funding and the need for improvements to our interstate, highway, and bridge infrastructure. Representatives from the Midwest Trucking Association, highway engineers, and representatives of union contractors were all in attendance.

Officials from South Central
Transit and the Illinois Public
Transportation Association were also on hand to discuss ways to improve transportation in all parts of southern Illinois for individuals traveling to work, doctor’s appointments, and more. 

One disturbing fact that emerged from the meeting is that Illinois has seen a dramatic drop-off in the number of man hours being spent building and repairing our roads and bridges. Engineering and planning efforts have also seen dramatic declines. Illinois needs a long term plan to improve and repair our aging infrastructure. Meetings like these help me understand the needs of this vital industry. Safe roads improve public safety and help reduce accidents.  

Rep. Bryant answers a question from a constituent
at Thursday's Town Hall in Bluford
Town Hall Meetings in Ava and Bluford
As I told you last week, I hosted two town hall meetings this week. The agenda for the meetings covered the status of the state’s financial condition and the budget that was passed in July. We also discussed the school funding formula bill. I was happy to meet with education officials in both towns and to answer their questions on the new funding formula.
I will be hosting more town hall meetings throughout the rest of this calendar year in advance of the new legislative session that begins in January. Please stay tuned to find out more details on where and when these events will be!

Thank you to everyone that showed up to ask questions and get informed on the latest happenings in Springfield.
Bluford Grant Presentation
Before Thursday night’s town hall meeting, I was pleased to join Bluford Mayor Mike Bullard and members of the Bluford village staff for a presentation of a check for grant funding for a new weather siren.

I was happy to lend my support to the village of Bluford’s efforts to secure a $25,000 federal grant to install the new siren. Thank you to Mayor Bullard and his staff for hosting me and for their service to the residents of Bluford!

Mt. Vernon Prayer Breakfast

On Friday morning, I joined Senator Schimpf and leaders from throughout Jefferson County for the Annual Mt. Vernon Prayer Breakfast. The turnout was fantastic once again this year. Senator Schimpf and I were glad to host our Mt. Vernon office director Karri Fisher and one of our previous interns Caleb Rhoades of Mt. Vernon for the breakfast.

Murphysboro Apple Festival Kicks Off with Prayer Breakfast
Every year, the Murphysboro Apple Festival kicks off with a prayer breakfast. This year’s event was hosted by the Murphysboro Ministerial Alliance, sponsored by Southern Illinois Healthcare, and served by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Praise God for all those who attended and served at this awesome event.
A huge crowd was on hand to kick off the prayer breakfast marking
 the start of this year's Murphysboro Apple Fest
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 - Your opinions on important topics facing the State of Illinois are invaluable to me. Keep them coming!
Murphysboro....State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) has announced that Governor Rauner has signed HB 771, a bill she sponsored that will provide assistance to volunteer firefighters with purchasing tires for their vehicles.

Bryant says that in the face of budget cuts, and a shortage of volunteers to join fire departments across the state, the signing of HB 771 will provide another incentive and much needed financial assistance.

State Rep. Terri Bryant and Sen. Paul Schimpf were recently named “Honorary Fire Chiefs” and were each presented with a white chief helmet engraved with their names by the Illinois Firefighters Association at a meeting of the Coal Belt Fire Protection Association.  The legislators are surrounded by members of the DeSoto Fire Department and officials from the Illinois Firefighters Association.
"In Illinois, 70 percent of all firefighters are volunteers," Bryant said. "This law will allow a volunteer firefighter to purchase one set of tires for their vehicle every three years at a reduced price per the fire district's joint purchasing agreement. The goal is to provide a little bit of help to the folks that volunteer to fight fires and keep us safe. I’m particularly thankful to Senator Paul Schimpf for his advocacy and for sponsoring this bill in the Senate.”

Earlier this year, Representative Bryant and Senator Schimpf were named ‘Honorary Fire Chiefs’ by the Illinois Firefighters Association in recognition of their advocacy on issues of importance to firefighters across the State of Illinois. Margaret Vaughn is the Illinois Firefighters Association’s Director of Government Affairs. She offered her thanks to Representative Bryant and Senator Schimpf.

“Volunteer firefighters save our state millions of dollars annually which otherwise would have to be made up with tax revenue,” Vaughn said. “These volunteers are on call on their own time and often use their own vehicles to respond to an emergency. The Illinois Firefighters Association greatly appreciates all the hard work Rep. Bryant and Sen Schimpf put into getting this important legislation passed and thanks Governor Rauner for signing the measure into law.”

Dear Friend,

As you are aware by now, Hurricane Irma is a historic storm that's headed directly toward Florida and other Atlantic coast states. I have many friends and relatives that live in south Florida, and I wanted to use this space to offer my heartfelt prayers for safety for everyone in the path of the storm. With the states of Texas and Louisiana both still reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, the United States' charitable and disaster relief organizations are under severe stress.

If you want to know how you can help the victims of these disasters, please either visit the Red Cross of Central and Southern Illinois by visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

State of Illinois Financial Update
This week, big news was made in regard to the State of Illinois' financial picture. As you know, the 2 years-plus budget impasse resulted in many problematic financial consequences for our state.

Many social service providers experienced deep cuts, or closed down altogether, health care providers are still owed billions of dollars (and some have been waiting more than 2 years for payment), and school districts have suffered because the State's officials have not had the legal authority (or the money) to be able to make regular distributions of money to keep them properly funded.The delay in payments to our schools even caused some to announce last month that they simply could not continue operating for the entire 2017-18 school year.

The passage of Illinois' budget in July and the recent signing of the historic education funding reform law (SB 1947) have caused a major change in regard to these problems. Two major announcements this week by the Governor and the Comptroller will help our State begin taking steps to fix two of our most pressing financial problems.

Bill Backlog News
One provision of the FY 18 budget allowed for the issuance of $6 billion in bonds to help consolidate payments and lower interest rates that are racking up as a result of our $15 billion bill backlog.  In Illinois, if a certain bill is more than 6 months old, the State is forced to pay the recipient up to 12% interest when the money is finally paid!

There is finally some good news on this subject. This week, Governor Rauner announced that he will issuing bonds to consolidate our debts means that taxpayers will pay less interest over time and our state's cash-flow situation will improve. Paying the debts we owe to the aforementioned health care providers and social service providers, which are often small businesses, will also mean continued service and/or restoration of some services that might have already been lost.

One of the main reasons Illinois needed a budget in place was that our social service provider network was on the ropes from a financial standpoint. Losing these vital services also means losing the jobs that go with them.

In Southern Illinois, we need to do all we can to keep services and keep jobs for our people. Consolidating our state's backlog and lowering the interest that YOU as a taxpayer ultimately pay is a good move that will save jobs and save money. I applaud the Governor and thank him for taking this action.

School Funding News
Good news came on Thursday morning, as Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced the release of more than $800 million in funding for Illinois' K-12 schools. For weeks, I have used this space to urge legislators to come together with the Governor to finally put a fair and equitable funding formula into place.

As you know, last week Governor Rauner signed that bipartisan compromise legislation into law. The release of this funding means schools can in fact stay open all year. The education funding reform law also means that Illinois' poorest schools and communities will finally receive an adequate level of funding.

For too long, Illinois was the land of the haves and the have-nots when it came to education funding. I am so proud to have supported SB 1947 because it means the unfair system of the past will end. I pledge to work to make sure Illinois KEEPS the promises we have made in the school funding agreement.

Town Hall Meetings Next Week
I am happy to announce that I will be providing a legislative update at two town hall meetings next week. See below for details.

Ava Town Hall Meeting
When: Tuesday, September 12th 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM.
Where: Ava Community Building, S. 3rd Street in Ava

Bluford Town Hall Meeting

When: Thursday, September 14th 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Where: Bluford Elementary School, 901 6th Street in Bluford

If you have any questions or if you need assistance prior to these meetings, please contact my office at (618) 242-8115. I hope to see you there!

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

Dear Friend,

After years of negotiations and months of debate in the legislature, a compromise agreement was reached, and this week the Governor signed the new education funding formula into law. In addition to stopping the threat of public school closures, the new education funding distribution formula will result in the equal and fair treatment of all of Illinois schools and students.

Every school in the 115th district will benefit financially from the new evidence-based funding formula model. No school gets a special deal in this compromise agreement. The new law will result in more than $5 million in total new funding for schools in my legislative district. I voted YES on SB 1947 and I am proud that my colleagues in the House and Senate found a way to work together for the betterment of every Illinois student's education.

The evidence-based funding model is based on research of best practices on teaching and learning. Now Illinois will structure school funding around what is best for kids and teaching and learning.

To read more news coverage on the historic passage of SB 1947 you can visit the links below:

The Southern Illinoisan: Illinois governor signs sweeping school funding changes

Belleville News Democrat: New school funding formula means you could pay less in property taxes

WPSD Local 6: Illinois school funding plan expected to help local schools

Illinois Department of Employment Security Announces Streamlining Measures in Carbondale
On Wednesday, I was happy to attend a press conference with IDES Director Jeff Mays, Senator Schimpf, Senator Fowler, and Rep. Severin at Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center at SIU in Carbondale. The purpose of the press conference was to allow IDES to announce that it is streamlining computer systems to make it easier for Illinois businesses to pay unemployment taxes and file required paperwork.
Rep. Bryant addresses the media during the press conference.
The change will take place for all businesses on September 11th. The new computer system will mean less redundancy and red tape for businesses when they file reports and pay their unemployment taxes to the state.IDES Director Mays was on WSIL TV Wednesday morning to explain the change. You can click here to watch and learn more!

Meeting on Route 57 Safety Measures
Also on Wednesday, I joined Senators Schimpf and Fowler and Representative Severin in Carbondale for a meeting with Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police officials for a meeting to discuss efforts to improve safety on Route 57. As you may know, fatal crashes have jumped significantly during 2017 on the stretch of I-57 between Mount Vernon and Marion.

We all have a stake in keeping our highways safe. Please remember to follow the speed limit, wear your seat belt, make sure that young children are properly secured in a car seat that is appropriate for their age and size, and AVOID DISTRACTED DRIVING. Thank you to the ISP and IDOT for taking the time to explain their increased safety measures and for all the work they do year-round to keep all of our roads safe.

Jackson County Farm Bureau Legislator Breakfast
Last weekend I was thrilled to join Congressman Mike Bost and members of the Jackson County Farm Bureau for the annual Legislator Breakfast at Kinkaid Lake Marina. I joined JCFB board and to hear and provide updates at the state and national level about agriculture and many other topics. Thank you to the Jackson County Farm Bureau for hosting us and thank you to everyone for a productive round table (chair) discussion!

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