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Lawmaker proposes splitting up the SIU system

SPRINGFIELD — After Thursday’s vote against a plan to shift more money from SIUC to SIUE, a state lawmaker with ties to Edwardsville wants to split the two campuses.

State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) has suggested the idea several times over the past couple decades, but he still feels the effort could win approval, especially in light of this week’s events.

Hoffman said he feels like SIUE doesn’t benefit much from being in the SIU system. He also feels like the two universities have different missions, and having different governing boards for each one will allow both to thrive.

Hoffman has filed similar legislation as recently as 2014.

His bills would essentially do two things: put SIU Edwardsville and the SIU School of Medicine under one umbrella and let SIU Carbondale have its own board.

It would also guarantee the two universities receive the same amount of money, not the 60-40 split it’s supposed to be currently.

Hoffman said that won’t cause SIUC to lose money.

“I would provide money to adequately fund the university systems, which would, I believe, not end up with SIU Carbondale losing money but both the universities would actually see an increase in the money,” Hoffman said.

Local lawmakers aren’t on board with the proposal.

“The timing is awful and it reeks a bit like a tantrum over what happened (Thursday),” State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) said.

Bryant also said the move would hurt SIU’s research accreditation.

State Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) and State Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie (D-Elizabethtown) want more time to research the idea, but Schimpf also said in a statement he feels the two universities are better off in the same system.

State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) worries SIUC will lose more money under the proposal, which could be devastating to the community.

News 3 also reached out to SIU system president Randy Dunn. His spokesman told us he wants to wait a few days to respond.

Rep. Katie Stuart co-sponsors legislation to increase transparency, safety, in Illinois’ veterans home |

Katie StuartCOLLINSVILLE – In response to continued outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease at the Quincy Veterans’ Home, state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, is co-sponsoring legislation to increase transparency and safety in Illinois’ veterans homes.

“The failure of the governor’s administration to act to remediate the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Quincy Veterans’ Home and the subsequent attempt to cover it up is shameful. At the very least, the residents and their loved ones should have been informed of the potential of infection,” said Stuart. “Our veterans put their lives on the line in service to us; it is imperative that we take care of them as they age in our hospitals and nursing homes.”

Thirteen veterans and their spouses have died as a result of Legionnaires’ disease with dozens more falling ill. Stuart is co-sponsoring House Bill 4278 to require veterans’ homes to notify residents along with their next of kin or emergency contact of any infectious disease outbreak. The home must also post notification of the outbreak at the front door and provide written notification to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Public Health. House Bill 5784 requires the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to submit quarterly reports on the health and wellness of its residents, including cases of communicable diseases.

To discuss this legislation as well as other concerns, Stuart is hosting a Veterans Issues Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, March 14 from 11 a.m. to noon at the American Legion Post 365, located at 1022 Vandalia St. in Collinsville. The event is free and open to the public.

“These bills are about increasing transparency in our state’s veterans’ homes to ensure that the public and most importantly, the veterans and their families, are fully aware of the state of the living conditions in these homes,” Stuart said. “If they don’t know of an infectious disease outbreak, then they don’t know to take the precautions and steps necessary to protect themselves. The state should do a much better job of communicating with residents and their families and taking additional steps to protect the health and safety of these veterans and their spouses.”

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State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit Highlights New Legal Assistance Hotline for Veterans – WspyNews (press release)

WspyNews (press release)
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit Highlights New Legal Assistance Hotline for Veterans
WspyNews (press release)
Democratic State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego is highlighting a new legal assistance hotline which can help Illinois Veterans, active-duty service members, reservists, and their dependents with matters including consumer, housing and family law

Expungement, criminal record-sealing opportunity set Saturday Legislative sponsors, including State Rep. Carol Ammons and State Sen. Scott Bennett, will participate in a panel discussion on legislative changes to …

Beiser sponsors legislation to waive fees for individuals freezing credit ALTON – As millions of Americans work to secure their credit and identity after the data breach at Equifax, state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, …

Beiser backs measure to honor Illinois National Guard members The approved budget also restores cuts that Rauner made to The Autism Project, Arc of Illinois, Early Intervention and community mental health …

State rep pushing measure to improve police-community relations

EAST ST. LOUIS — State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, is working to facilitate understanding and cooperation between law enforcement officers and the communities they protect, and create partnerships that will keep local communities safe.

“Law enforcement and members of the community can begin to build trust with one another with more positive interactions,” Greenwood said. “Often times the effort that goes into policing is reactive to situations, but if we can urge law enforcement to take a more proactive approach to positively engage with the community, I believe we can create greater understanding and productive relationships that keep will keep all of our communities safe.”

Greenwood introduced House Resolution 122, which urges local law enforcement agencies and departments throughout the state to designate police officers as community liaison partners within their communities to help communicate with local residents, address needs and concerns, and foster mutual understanding. Greenwood’s resolution also encourages law enforcement agencies to create advisory committees that would actively involve the community in preventing and helping resolve crimes.

“The vast majority of law enforcement officers want to have positive relationships within the communities they protect, just as the vast majority of residents are law-abiding citizens who want to keep their communities safe,” she said. “Community liaison programs help police and citizens see the best in one another. I commend departments that already have community-based programs in place, and I look forward to more community-based policing programs throughout Illinois.”

Greenwood’s House Resolution 122 received bipartisan support in the House Police and First Responders Committee this week. The measure now awaits consideration before the full House.

Staff report

Senator Michael E. Hastings streamlines veterans’ certification process Hastings (D-Tinley Park). SPRINGFIELD – Illinois veterans may soon have a streamlined process to apply for small business contracts. State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) advanced Senate Bill 1620 to create a one-stop shop for veterans to gain …

Gov. Rauner signs crime-reform law sponsored by Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth Jehan Gordon-Booth, second from right, flanked by local law enforcement officials, civic leaders and Peoria Public Schools District 150 …

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