Senator McGuire

Feb. 28, 2018

Dear Friends,

 

I hope this finds you well.

 

The Illinois Senate is in the fifth week of the 2018 session. The governor has given his State of the State address and proposed a budget. Hundreds of legislative measures have been introduced. This is the time of year when we spend most of our time in subject-area committees deciding which measures will come before the full Senate for a vote.

 

The two-year budget impasse ended last July due to bipartisanship. I'm hopeful that cooperative spirit will carry over into this spring.

 

Below is some of what's on my to-do list. To contact me regarding these important issues or any other concerns you may have in state government, don't hesitate to respond to this email or contact my office at 815-207-4445.

 

Sincerely,
Pat McGuire
State Senator
District 43

 

‘Our greatest competitor is nowhere’

 

The bipartisan, bicameral Higher Education Working Group recently finished hearing all 12 Illinois public university campuses describe what each is doing to attract, retain and graduate Illinois residents. Many told us to what schools they lose the students they have accepted. For instance, a student accepted at Illinois State might wind up enrolling at Iowa State.

 

The working group was jarred when several state schools told us their chief competitor is “nowhere.” That is, hundreds of students whose grades earn them acceptance at an Illinois public university wind up not enrolling in any college. Is this due to affordability? Lack of confidence? The absence of summer bridge programs? We’ve got to find out.

 

Proposed DCFS changes

 

Senator Julie Morrison, chair of the Senate Human Services Committee, and I met last week with Department of Children and Family Services Acting Director B.J. Walker for an update on reforms Walker proposed following Semaj Crosby’s death. Semaj’s mother was receiving Intact Family Services not from DCFS personnel but from a third-party provider hired by DCFS. Walker has asked for funds to hire 32 new DCFS staff members so DCFS, not third parties, would provide services to the 10 percent of Intact Family Services cases deemed most high-risk.

 

Infrastructure

 

The Transportation for Illinois Coalition began as a labor-management group assessing our state’s highway, waterway, railway and mass transit needs. TFIC this year invited Democrat and Republican House and Senate members to meet regularly in Springfield to prioritize infrastructure projects and study ways to pay for them. More than half of the legislators at a recent TFIC meeting were from Will County. We succeeded in pushing improvements on I-80 to a top spot on TFIC’s list.

 

Mental health

 

I learned last year in Andrew Solomon’s book Far From the Tree that schizophrenia, a mental illness very difficult to treat, often develops during adolescence. Last month I attended a mental health event in Chicago at which persons with mental illness and researchers emphasized the need for early detection and treatment. I'm now a chief co-sponsor of SB 2951, the Early Mental Health and Addictions Treatment Act. The legislation seeks to launch pilot programs of treatment proven to be effective with teenagers.

 

Sexual harassment

 

Senator Melinda Bush, the chief sponsor of the above mental health measure, is also the chief sponsor of SB 576. SB 576 brings members of legislators’ “immediate personal staffs” under the protection of the anti-sexual harassment protections of the Illinois Human Rights Act. I am a co-sponsor.

 

 

District Office

2200 Weber Road • Crest Hill, IL 60403

815-207-4445 (Phone) • 815-207-4446 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

417C Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8800 (Phone) • 217-782-8287 (Fax)

Category: Legislative updates