Marion…. On Friday, State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) joined Governor Bruce Rauner in Marion for the signing of House Bill 2897 into law. The new law, sponsored by Rep. Severin, amends the Unified Code of Corrections to allow the Helping Paws Service Dog Program to begin training service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.

"I am proud to have sponsored HB 2897, a law that will help veterans suffering from PTSD or depression," Severin said. "I also want to thank Governor Rauner for signing the bill in Marion, where the Marion VA Hospital serves thousands of veterans from Southern Illinois and beyond.”

Severin noted that PTSD and depression are serious mental health issues affecting many veterans, and service dogs have proven to help them cope.

"This new law will help us keep our promise to provide top quality care for our veterans," Severin said. "The program has had a positive impact for the Illinoisans it currently serves, so I’m proud that we’ll now be able to utilize it to benefit veterans suffering from PTSD and depression. I'm thankful to my colleagues in the House and Senate and the Governor for recognizing the importance of helping our veterans that are struggling from the mental scars of war.”

The Helping Paws Service Dog Program is administered by the Illinois Department of Corrections. HB 2897 received unanimous support in both the House and the Senate and is the first bill initiated by Representative Severin to be signed into law.

Marion…. A bipartisan bill sponsored by State Representative David Severin (R-Benton), was signed into law by the Governor on Friday. Senate Bill 730/P.A. 100-0220 extends the Petroleum Education and Marketing Act (PEMA) another 10 years to January 1, 2028. The Illinois Petroleum Resources Board (IPRB), which works under the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will continue to oversee the act.

Representative Severin says that the PEMA is still primarily meant to promote the oil and gas industry. The act will also expand the purpose of the board to include oilfield environmental remediation and restoration activities.
“The PEMA is intended to be mainly educational, by working with teachers to educate students and the general public about the importance of the oil and gas industry in Illinois.” Rep. Severin said, “Under the renewed act, the board will also be able support efforts to clean up and/or restore tank battery sites that are environmentally friendly.”
The bill received support from the Illinois Oil and Gas Association and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources alike. It will go into effect immediately.
Springfield…. State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) today released the following statement on the vote of Senate Bill 1947:

“The vote on SB 1947 yesterday was nothing more than political theater and a waste of time. If the Speaker was serious about moving forward on school funding reform, he would have allowed a vote on the motion to override the Governor's amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1. Instead the Democrats decided to play games and put up a phony school funding bill that they never intended to pass.

“The state is already a week behind in state aid payments to schools and the legislature continues to waste time. It's time to stop stalling and get to the business of negotiating and compromising. It is the only way we will bring fair and equitable school funding to all Illinois students.”
Benton…. State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) on Wednesday presented members of the Farm City Days committee with a copy of House Resolution 380, which designated June 10, 2017, as “Farm City Days” in Illinois. The event saw an excellent turn out, considering that prior to this year Franklin County had not held Farm City Days in more than 21 years.

“It was great to have Farm City Days back in Benton this year, and I was glad see the so many people attended the event,” Rep. Severin said. “Thank you to the members of the committee for your hard work putting together the event and I hope HR 380 can bring more attention as you start preparations for next year.”
Farm City Days is a family-friendly festival that gives Franklin County residents a unique opportunity to learn about the equipment, operations, and techniques behind modern farming. Steve Browning, Chairman of Farm City Days 2017, was happy with this year’s event and felt that HB 380 would help build the events reputation moving forward.
“It is a big boost for Farm City Days to receive state wide recognition from the Illinois General Assembly.” Browning said, “The committee is proud of the event we were able to put on, and positive attention like what we have received from Representative Severin will only help grow the event for next year.
“Also thanks to my Co-Chair Gay Bowlin and the other committee men and women. Without their hard work Farm City Days could not have had the success it did.” 
The Farm City Days committee has already settled on June 9, 2018, as the date for next year’s event.

Marion…. Two bipartisan bills co-sponsored by State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) have been signed into law by the Governor. The new laws, House Bill 619/P.A. 100-0026 and House Bill 3063/P.A. 100-0035, are aimed at improving security in correctional facilities and improving the food safety standards at farmers’ markets.

HB 619 restricts individuals in a county jail or the Department of Corrections, from using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain law enforcement records that do not pertain to the individual’s case or claim. This includes but is not limited to records that have the potential of causing harm to others, risk of escape, or reveal personal information of victims or family members of inmates.

“In the past, inmates have been known to use FOIA to obtain information on other inmates and their families, as they look for ways to intimidate others,” said Rep. Severin. “FOIA has also been used by inmates to find information about victims of crimes. This bill aims to eliminate the practice in an effort to protect both victims and family members of inmates.”

HB 3063 seeks to improve food safety standards at local farmers’ markets. The bill directs the Department of Public Health and the Farmers’ Market Task Force to work together to set standards for handling and preserving hazardous foods. The bill also provides a list of homemade products that are not permitted for sale. Further the DPH and the Farmers’ Market Task force will also help solve vendor complaints regarding health department fees and sanitation requirements.

“HB 3063 makes positive steps towards protecting consumers at farmers’ markets,” Rep. Severin. “We all like our homemade farmers market products, but we must ensure that we know we can trust what we are buying.”
Marion…. State Representative Dave Severin (R- Benton) will be holding satellite office hours at Anne West Lindsey Library, 600 N Division St. & Bryan Ave, in Carterville from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Tuesday August 8th.
Rep. Severin’s staff will be available to meet with constituents to address concerns and receive feedback on the issues most important to them.
If you have any questions, please contact Rep. Severin’s District Office at (618) 440-5090 or through the contact form on his website at