Legislation would put Illinois workers back on the job
and is supported by labor and business

Speaking is Marc Poulos, Executive Director at the Indiana, Illinois and Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting (Operating Engineers Local 150); Rep. Dave Severin (center - left of podium) with leaders from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Manufacturers Association, and fellow legislators to announce the "Blue Collar Jobs Act" at the Capitol.
State Rep. Dave Severin today joined with labor and business leaders and legislative colleagues to introduce House Bill 5864, the Blue Collar Jobs Act, to incentivize construction projects in the state of Illinois and create jobs for the middle class.

"This bill is good for southern Illinois and good for my district specifically where there are too many buildings sitting empty," commented Rep. Dave Severin, a member of the Business Incentives for Local Communities Committee. "This will help businesses that are here now and help those looking to relocate or start up here."

The Blue Collar Jobs Act is supported by both labor and business groups and offers tax incentives to companies making significant capital improvements in Illinois based on the withholding tax paid to construction workers. It does this through the creation of four new tax credits, including:

- High Impact Business construction jobs credit 

- Enterprise Zone construction jobs credit 

- New Construction EDGE Credit 

- River Edge construction jobs credit


“We support prioritizing Illinois construction workers in our state’s economic development toolset through incentives for new construction, expansion, and rehabilitation projects,” said Marc Poulos, Executive Director IN, IL, IA FFC, the labor-management group of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150.

The program will work under the same structure as the current EDGE program:

- Tax credit value is 50% of Illinois income tax withheld of workers covered under the agreement;

- Tax credit value rises to 75% of Illinois income tax withheld of workers covered under the agreement in areas designated to be in an underserved area that meets certain poverty, unemployment, and federal assistance rates;

- Tax credit is issued to the organization that builds, renovates or expands the building just as the EDGE tax credit goes to the company hiring the workers. The tax credit is meant to incentivize the company to construct new buildings or improve existing buildings which can’t be built without the use of Illinois labor.

“The Blue Collar Jobs Act gives growing businesses another reason to make substantial capital investments in Illinois to bring more jobs and opportunities to our state,” said Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

The tax credits only become available after the work has been fully completed. There is no risk to the state for a company not meeting its requirement as the state has already captured the withholding tax prior to the tax credit being issued.

“Helping the middle class is precisely what the Blue Collar Jobs Act does. It sends a message that Illinois is open for business by putting our highly-skilled construction workers to work,” added Rep. Severin.

HB 5864 has been introduced is waiting to be assigned to committee.
Crab Orchard High School "Top Achievers" for 2017-18

Marion High School "Top Achievers" for 2017-18

Marion High School graduate and current Marion Chief of Police, Dawn Tondini,
receives the "Alumnus of the Year" Award from Bill Swinford.


Retired SIU Football Coach Jerry Kill was the guest speaker an talked about setting goals and working hard.
Congratulations to the "Top Achievers" of the graduating seniors from Crab Orchard High School and Marion High School!

The Marion Star (Swinford-Reppert publishers) annually awards the Top 6 graduating seniors from our high schools in Marion and Crab Orchard. Today, there were seven from Marion because of a set of twin sisters who are top achievers. The luncheon ceremony was hosted at the Artstarts House on Van Buren Street, across from the old jail/history museum.

Former Southern Illinois University football coach Jerry Kill was the guest speaker and spoke about setting goals, working hard, listening to parents and teachers, and making good choices in the face of going off to college and being independent.
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·     Illinois Top 200 survey names Wrigley Field as Illinois’ top building.  Participants in the Illinois Bicentennial’s Top 200 survey were asked to pick their favorite building in Illinois.  The popular choice was Wrigley Field, the century-old Major League Baseball park that became the home of the Chicago Cubs in 1916.  After many generations of mixed results, the storied Friendly Confines became the home of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.

Other Illinois buildings were also supported by survey participants.  Coming in second was a building owned by the people of Illinois, Springfield’s Dana-Thomas House.  The Prairie Style house contains artistic motifs that celebrate Illinois’s ecology and landscapes, and is fitted with more than 100 pieces of Wright-designed furniture, lights, and art glass.  The Wilmette Baha’i Temple, Chicago’s Willis Tower, and Chicago’s Robie House were honored with selection slots #3 through #5.     
Our children’s education remains a top priority for Illinois House Republicans, which is why they have taken action to address the growing teacher shortage in our state. First and foremost, our members are committed to ensuring highly prepared and effective educators are teaching our children. To do that, Illinois must address the teacher shortage.

Background 
The Illinois State Board of Education said the 2017-18 school year began with about 2,000 unfilled teaching positions across the state.* And a recent survey conducted by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools found that school districts were increasingly having difficulty finding qualified candidates to apply for teaching positions.

The results of the survey showed concerns about teacher shortages were more prominent in rural districts in the central part of the state, and substitute teacher shortage concerns were most evident in southern part of the state. The most difficult positions to fill include bilingual, Spanish, special education teachers as well as nurses and school psychologists.

“The reduced candidate pool is likely caused by a combination of factors such as educators leaving Illinois, educators leaving the profession entirely, fewer students enrolled in Illinois approved programs leading to licensure, out-of- state educators choosing not to come to Illinois, and/or out-of-state educators unable to meet Illinois’ licensure standards without substantial delays and additional requirements being met. These issues span across the entire state and are not isolated to rural or urban communities, a particular district type, or geographic location.” **

Legislative solutions
House Republicans have been working closely with educational professionals to devise solutions to increase the number of qualified teachers in Illinois classrooms. Their legislative agenda to address the teacher shortage is outlined below:
  • To address the need for substitute teachers, Rep. Lindsay Parkhurstintroduced legislation establishing a Short-Term Substitute Teaching License. This special provision requires applicants to have an associates degree and allows them to substitute teach in a classroom for a no more than five consecutive days. This provision would allow more qualified individuals to enter the substitute teaching pool.
  • Rep. Bob Pritchard’s measure establishes the Growing Future Educators Program to train qualified high school graduates to become secondary language educators beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. This effort is designed to help meet the need for bilingual and Spanish teachers. 
  • Rep. Pritchard also offered legislation to address the shortage of school psychologists by removing the requirements that those who already hold a valid Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential take additional state-mandated tests for licensure. 
  • To help future teachers complete their education expeditiously, Rep. John Cavaletto submitted legislation that requires Illinois public universities with an educator preparation program to offer those enrolled in it a three-year degree completion program. This is an effort to feed more teachers into the system as soon as possible. 
  • Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer’s legislation will streamline the hiring process for educators at the Illinois School for the Deaf and Illinois School for the Visually Impaired by eliminating the sunset date of which ISD and ISVI employees are exempt from CMS’ grading process.
  • bill sponsored by Rep. Keith Wheeler would eliminate duplicative efforts by state agencies that slow down licensing approval of teachers in the Juvenile Justice System. The provision would eliminate the need for the Department of Central Management Services to verify the State educator license of a teacher employed by the Department of Juvenile Justice if the State Board of Education verifies the license. The bill also ensures that the salary of teachers employed by the Department of Juvenile Justice is comparable to the salary of a teacher employed by a school district in the same geographical area in which the institution or facility is located.
  • In an effort to speak to the shortage of everyday classroom teachers, as well as the scarcity of substitute teachers, Rep. Tom Bennett introduced legislationthat encompasses many of the elements of the previous sponsors and tackles the problem from a number of angles. Among other things it would provide full reciprocity for out-of-state applicants for a Professional Educator License (PEL), thus allowing out-of-state licensed educators to teach in Illinois. Additionally, school districts would be able to hire an individual who already has a PEL or an Educator License with Stipulations to serve as a substitute teacher without that person having to go through the separate application process for a Substitute Teaching License. Lastly, the legislation would adjust the Pension Code to allow retired educators to substitute for more days each year without infringing upon their pension benefits.


Attribution
http://www.whig.com/20180417/teacher-shortage-threatens-harm-to-illinois-education-system#
** http://iarss.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/IllinoisTeacherShortage_12-10-15_kd-2.pdf (pg. 18).

An advertising group in Illinois is providing free advertising space statewide to help promote a new helpline for those struggling with opioids and other substance abuse.

A statement from the state's Department of Human Services says the Outdoor Advertising Association of Illinois has donated some 100 billboards. They will advertise the helpline that offers treatment information for anyone who has questions about opioids and other substances. Several large billboards will appear on tollways.

The Illinois Department of Human Services launched the helpline in December. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's also free and confidential. The number for the helpline is 1-833-2FINDHELP.


WSIL -- Almost a month after Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, the bill sponsor said he plans to file an override. News Three talked with three local Representatives that say, if the override comes up in the House, they won't support it. 
Last month, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a gun control bill he called "duplicative" of federal laws. 
The bill would require gun dealers to pay for a state license and require further training for their employees on how to do background checks.
Representative Dave Severin feels bills like this are for personal gain.
"This is an election year. So some of these bills are "gotcha bills." Some of them are just trying to get people on record for where they stand or what they stand for or don't stand for. A lot of this is gamesmanship going on," said Rep. Severin. 
The veto is expected to be brought up as early as Tuesday. 
Click here to read the full article on-line and watch the video report at WSIL-TV 3


SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) is outraged that very important pieces of public safety legislation were not advanced out of the House Judiciary-Criminal committee yesterday. With the committee deadline today, these bills will not advance to the House Chamber this legislative session.

“The message from the House Democrats yesterday is clear – partisan politics are more important to them than protecting the most innocent and vulnerable in our state,” Durkin said. “Our message to them is that the House Republicans will not stand down and will continue to fight for victims of crime, first responders and all the citizens of Illinois.”

Some critical public safety bills that were killed by Democrats in committee yesterday are:

  • House Bill 5649, introduced by Leader Durkin, would deny bail for offenders who commit battery against a police officer while in police custody.
  • House Bill 5079, introduced by State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), increases the penalties for human traffickers.
  • House Bill 4586, introduced by State Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Savanna), increases a battery charge to aggravated battery if the victim is an employee of the Adult Protective Services Program, the Ombudsman Program or Department of Child and Family Services and the offender knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement of the victim. This bill was the result of the tragic death of DCFS employee Pamela Knight who was murdered while trying to take an abused child into custody.
  • House Bill 4318, introduced by State Rep. Michael Unes (R-East Peoria), would make it illegal for a sex offender to knowingly reside within one mile of the victim of the sex offense. Currently, the law allows sex offenders to live as close as 500 feet to their victims.

“Our single, greatest duty as legislators is to protect our constituents, and these actions by the House Democrats are appalling, egregious and unacceptable,” Durkin said, who previously served as a felony prosecutor at the Cook County State’s Attorney Office. “These bills are responsible, thought out, and will have an immediate impact in providing protections for innocent victims of crime.”

"Congratulations to Touch of Nature Environmental Center at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, the Dr. William Freeberg Family, and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke on your well-deserved recognition for all of your good work to develop programs and help start the Special Olympics in 1968 right here in Illinois!"
--State Rep. Dave Severin



One of the Special Olympic Athletes who led
the opening ceremonies with the
Special Olympics Pledge.
Dr. William Freeberg's granddaughter, Brittany Freeberg,
talks about his life's work here in Southern Illinois and
his impact on Special Olympics.




















IL Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke organized the
first Special Olympics in Chicago in 1968.
State Rep. Terri Bryant, State Rep. John Cavaletto, and State Rep. Dave Severin at the "Gala in the Woods" to celebrate and raise money for the Special Olympics of Southern Illinois and SIU's Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

Congratulations to my colleague, John Cavaletto, for your part in developing activities and programs for children with special needs at the summer camps. To watch some of the ceremony, click here to see the story by Joe Ragusa at WSIL ABC Channel 3.

Click HERE to see the full video.
Pictured (l-r) are State Rep. Dave Severin, Pastor Rick Fowler, and Administrative Bishop Rick Whitter.


This past Sunday, Rep. Dave Severin, joined a host of family and friends as they celebrated 100 years of ministry to Logan and the surrounding area. Special guest was Administrative Bishop Rick & Letha Whitter. Lunch was provided by "some of the best cooks around!" Rep. Severin presented a House Certificate to commemorate the occasion.
CARBONDALE – United States Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) along with Illinois State Senator Paul Schimpf (IL-58), State Senator Dale Fowler (IL-59), Representative Terri Bryant (IL-115), Representative Dave Severin (IL-117), and Representative Natalie Phelps-Finnie (IL-118) urged caution regarding a recent proposal to swiftly move more than $5 million in funds from Southern Illinois University’s Carbondale (SIUC) campus and divert the money to the University’s Edwardsville campus.

“The Carbondale campus is currently working through the first steps of a reorganization that has not really been given a chance to start working,” said Bost. “I’m concerned there is a push to make a quick decision to divert funds from Carbondale to Edwardsville by a Board of Trustees that currently has a vacant seat. We’re talking about moving a lot of money out of Carbondale’s economy. I think we should slow down, study this, and at the very least have a fully-slated Board of Trustees before making such a vitally important decision.”

“Although I support evaluating and potentially updating the funding ratio between the two universities, any such change should only occur after a careful study, conducted in a process that has the support of the full board of trustees,” Schimpf said. “The current proposal is scheduled to go before an incomplete Board of Trustees, without the benefit of outside, impartial study, at a time when SIUC is in the midst of a reorganization. I urge the University President and the Chair of the Board of Trustees to rethink their decision to press ahead with this vote.”

“I do not oppose coming together to take a closer look at where funds are currently being allocated
and exploring the possibility and consequences of adjusting the funding ratio between SIUC and SIUE. However, I will not support pushing through a funding shift that would have lasting negative consequences on SIUC’s future, the community and the region as a whole,” said Sen. Fowler (R-Harrisburg). “This is a decision that will require careful consideration and demands input from the SIUC community, weighing the impact such a cost shift would have on staffing, future enrollment and the surrounding economy.

I encourage the Board to postpone their vote, ensure the community has a voice in this decision and move forward in a cooperative and thoughtful manner.”

“I share my constituents’ concerns that a major diversion of funding from SIUC to the Edwardsville campus will hurt the local and regional economy,” Bryant said. “This move would further downgrade the capabilities of the University to be the world class research facility and economic engine that we need in southern Illinois. The jobs that could be lost due to this funding plan will hurt the Carbondale economy and losing more programs at SIUC will only make the problem of dropping enrollment worse.”

“I have been concerned at the speed with which major step was proposed and brought forward for consideration,” Rep. Dave Severin said. “We are urging that the full Board of Trustees be seated before taking any action on any reallocation plans. I am calling on the Board to slow down and study this from every angle. SIU Carbondale is an economic driver for the region and we need to protect it and continue to work to grow enrollment.”

“Southern Illinois University - Carbondale has been the cornerstone of education and research as well as the economic engine for Southern Illinois for many years. Shifting money to the Edwardsville campus is not the best way forward for the SIU system. Southern Illinoisans cherish the Carbondale campus as a part of their lives and as part of the town’s iconic history, and our entire economy is heavily dependent upon its success. We need to find a better way to increase funding and reestablish SIU-C as the educational beacon that attracts our own students, as well as those from across the United States,” said Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie, D-Elizabethtown.

Each of the legislators is encouraging their constituents to contact them to share their own opinions on this critical issue for southern Illinois.

Contact:
United States Representative Mike Bost | 202-225-5661
State Senator Paul Schimpf | 217-737-2782
State Senator Dale Fowler | 618-294-8951
State Representative Terri Bryant | 618-242-8115
State Representative Dave Severin| 618-440-5090
State Representative Natalie Phelps-Finnie | 618-253-4189