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Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) wants the public to know that the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center located in Centralia, Illinois is “alive and well”. Murray Center is the only State Operated Developmental Center (SODC) serving central Illinois and parts of southern Illinois. According to State Representative Charlie Meier, “The good news is Murray Center is accepting new residents on an individual basis and has recently welcomed a new resident thanks to a referral by State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro).”

Earlier this year, Peggy Strong, a retired teacher from Murphysboro visited with State Representative Terri Bryant to discuss her daughter’s special healthcare needs.  Peggy’s daughter suffers from several acute chronical medical diagnoses which collide together according to Peggy, and she was concerned her daughter was not receiving the type of care a CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement) could provide, which is why Peggy began looking for a new home that could provide the level of care her daughter needs and deserved.

Peggy had a reasonable request for her daughter, she asked Representative Bryant “to help her find a home for that would be safe and comfortable for her daughter”. Without hesitation, Representative Bryant suggested Peggy consider visiting Murray Center and she took that advice, fast forward to today and the rest is history. Peggy found a home that is safe and comfortable for her daughter; her new home is Murray Center.

According to Peggy Strong, “Thank God Murray Center did not close and thank God there is a place like this for my daughter. She is happy, the look on her face says it all. Murray Center has provided my daughter with more freedom. She has been smiling, laughing, and is able to walk when she wants – something most of us take for granted. You can’t do this in a CILA.”
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) participated in Agriculture Day ceremonies today at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The highlights of Agriculture Day was Governor Bruce Rauner signing into law Rep. Meier’s legislation to recognize Bicentennial Farms and the Governor’s announcement of the newly formed not-for-profit, Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, tasked with raising private funds to make capital improvements at the Springfield and Du Quoin fairgrounds.

Leaders in the agricultural community established the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation to promote, support, assist, and sustain the Springfield and Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. The foundation will be led by a volunteer board representing a diverse cross section of the agriculture industry. Board members will engage with private sector business organizations and individuals to develop strategies to raise private funding, coordinate with the Department of Agriculture to plan projects and determine the Fairgrounds’ needs, and serve as ambassadors for the revitalization and improvement of the Fairgrounds and their agricultural heritage.

“Being a farmer and lawmaker, I understand the positive impact Illinois’ agriculture industry has not only in the State, but throughout the world,” said Rep. Meier. “I strongly support the creation of the privately funded Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation. The State Fairgrounds help promote and preserve Illinois’ rich agricultural history. I am thankful to the volunteers who have chosen to make a commitment to raise private funds to improve and preserve both the Springfield and Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.”
Secretary of State Jesse White announced today that his office has reinstated the mailing of vehicle registration reminder notices to Illinois drivers. To offset the cost of the mailings, White is drafting legislation allowing his office to offer advertising space on the mailings. In addition, White is urging the public to sign-up for email notices to further reduce mailing costs.

The Secretary of State’s office discontinued mailing reminders in October 2015 due to the lack of funding as a direct result of the state budget impasse. The stop-gap budget recently passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor allows White’s office to reinstate the notices.

Vehicle owners can sign up for email notifications by visiting the Secretary of State website, To register for the program, vehicle owners will need their assigned registration ID and PIN, which can be found on their current vehicle registration card. If that information is not available, they can call the Secretary of State public inquiry division at 800-252-8980 to obtain the Registration ID and PIN.
On Thursday June 30th, the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Bruce Rauner approved a bipartisan stopgap budget less than 24 hours before the new fiscal year was set to begin on July 1st. The new law (Public Act 99-0524) totals $50.6 billion for fiscal year 2017, including $8.6 billion in General Revenue Funds, $33.6 billion in other state funds and $8.4 billion in federal funds.

According to State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville), “The bipartisan compromise we approved ensures K-12 schools open this fall and our public universities such as SIUE and our community colleges remain open. Just as important, the stopgap measure ensures critical human services receive the funding they need and more than 800 transportation improvements will remain active throughout the next 12 months.”

The funding plan signed into law Thursday does not rely on a tax hike and fully funds elementary and secondary education for the first time in seven years. The compromise stopgap funds road construction, federal programs, and other non-General Revenue Fund (GRF) programs for both fiscal years 2016 and 2017. It also provides FY17 funding to support 6 months of critical operations for higher education, state-operated facilities including prisons and veterans’ homes, fuel for the State Police to patrol our roads, and other core operations and programs for public safety, health, and welfare. Funds are available under current law for all components of this bridge plan.
The Illinois General Assembly reached a bipartisan agreement on Thursday, May 12 by approving $700 million in stopgap funding for Human Services. The legislation approved will provide much needed funding to keep the state’s social services infrastructure from collapsing.

“After eleven months of gridlock, it’s a breath of fresh air to witness both parties working together for the taxpayers,” said Rep. Meier. “The funding we approved will fund services such as meals for seniors, youth services, children’s health, women’s health screenings, and services for Veterans.”

Senate Bill 2038 has a dedicated funding source, mostly from the Commitment to Human Services Fund that was set up as part of the temporary income tax hike in 2010 and contains unspent money.  The funding will be directed to human services programs that are not covered by consent decrees or existing court orders.

Rep. Meier added, “This is not the be-all-end-all as we still need to reach an agreement to fund all State Operated Developmental Centers (SODCs) which includes Murray Center. We still need to secure funding to keep our prisons open and furthermore we need to complete a budget for last year and the upcoming fiscal year set to begin July 1. With that said, I won’t give up advocating for a balanced budget by the end of session which is scheduled to adjourn on May 31.”
The Illinois General Assembly reached a bipartisan compromise Friday by approving legislation which will send $600 million in stopgap funding for higher education.

“I am thrilled we have reached a bipartisan solution to help keep our community colleges and public universities open this fall. I hope this is a sign of more compromise to come from the legislature. I am keeping my toes and fingers crossed hoping the Senate will approve this stopgap funding today because the Governor said he will sign the bill.”

Senate Bill 2059 Amendment #3 appropriates $600 million from the Educational Assistance Fund (EAF) for Illinois’ public universities, community college system, and MAP grants for college students. The legislation now heads to the Senate for approval before reaching Governor Rauner’s desk.

Rep. Meier added, “Today’s action is only temporary, but necessary to provide assurance for students attending college this fall. We still have more work to do on reaching an agreement on a state budget, however this is a step in the right direction. I won’t give up fighting for more compromise and a balanced state budget.”
The Illinois House of Representatives completed its first week back in session for the week of April 4th. Throughout the week lawmakers scurried to get their legislation approved before the April 7th deadline for potential laws to be voted out of committee.

State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) was successful at getting three legislative proposals he sponsored approved, however Rep. Meier was disappointed with not getting a vote on an additional three pieces of legislation introduced for 2016.

“With only one week to get the legislation I sponsored approved, I didn’t stop and I won’t stop trying to pass the bills which are most important to the constituents I represent,” said Rep. Meier. “The truth is, one Democrat lawmaker from Chicago makes the ultimate decision on which legislative proposals get a chance to be voted on in the Illinois House. I wanted an up or down vote on three bills which are very important to my constituents but unfortunately we were not given the opportunity.”