State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) announced there are 237 new laws scheduled to take effect January 1, 2016.

Rep. Meier called attention to several new laws which may be of interest to residents in region this New Year. Some of the laws scheduled to take effect include deterring 911 prank calls, adding missing senior citizens to the Amber Alert, banning the sale of powdered caffeine to minors, protecting senior citizens from estate scams and prioritizing handicap accessible parks.

According to Rep. Meier added, “Hundreds of laws are scheduled to take effect this New Year, it is important the public become familiar with the new laws which have an impact on us and our neighbors.”

Illinois lottery winners to be paid for IOUs


After months of gridlock, the State of Illinois will be releasing funds owed to local municipalities for the maintenance of roads and 9-1-1 services. State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) supported the legislation recently signed into law authorizing the release of state funds to be used for public safety, among other appropriations include payments to lottery winners.

“I was hearing concerns for months from local governments in my district desperately needing the funds owed to them so they can buy road salt to keep their streets and highways safe this winter,” said Rep. Meier. I am told local governments should expect to receive their funding fairly soon. It’s refreshing to see bipartisanship on this legislation. I hope this is a sign of positive things to come.”

Public Act 99-0491 authorized the release of $3.1 billion for sixty-six funds. Since the FY15 budget ended on June 30, 2015, funds owed to local governments were delayed as a result of no state law authorizing the funds to be released and even lottery winners were given IOUs for prizes exceeding $600.

Rep. Meier added, “When the State of Illinois stopped paying lottery winners over $600, our lottery ticket sales dropped and some residents in my district went across the river to Missouri to buy lottery tickets and the same thing happened throughout the State. I anticipate Illinoisans will start to play Illinois lottery now that we can pay them with cash instead of an IOU.”
The Clinton County State’s Attorney’s office is now tasked with investigating the death of a Murray Center resident which occurred in March of this year. On Thursday, November 12, the Marion County Coroner’s office determined the death at Murray Center was a homicide, reverting the homicide back to Clinton County for investigation.

According to State Rep. Charlie Meier, “The Murray Parents Association and myself addressed our concerns with the Department of Human Services on numerous occasions about the safety and well-being of the residents at Murray Center. The Quinn administration hired unqualified employees and didn’t provide adequate training, they just didn’t care because they planned on closing Murray Center. We are saddened and outraged to learn the death was a homicide. We look forward to justice being served.”

The homicide without a doubt is tragic news for those who have loved ones and friends living at Murray Center. However, the positive news is the fact that the death was initially investigated by the Rauner administration. Unlike, in September 2013 a former resident of Murray Center named Barbie died after being moved. The former resident was cremated within hours by the Quinn administration, hindering the ability to investigate further.

Rep. Meier added, “we applaud the Rauner administration for investigating this tragic death which otherwise would have been overlooked by the previous administration. I anticipate the investigation will ensure safeguards are put in place to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.”

Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) recently co-sponsored House Resolution 839 to recognize and promote the significant impact Illinois’ pork industry has on the State’s economy.

According to the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), Illinois ranks 4th in the nation in swine production and the pork industry contributes more than $1.8 billion and more than 10,500 jobs to the State's economy.

“I am proud of Illinois’ pork industry, one of the largest pork producers in the nation is headquarted in Clinton County,” said Rep. Meier. “Illinois pork helps feed the world while providing thousands of good paying jobs to the people of Illinois. It’s hard work, my family farm used to raise hogs for decades up until 1979, so I will always advocate for pork and encourage people to continue eating pork.”

As stated in House Resolution 839, “pork is versatile, affordable, and accessible for many Americans. It has several beneficial qualities making it easy to incorporate into any healthy diet. Pork is not only a good source of protein, but also provides several important vitamins and minerals. For instance, a 3-ounce serving of pork is an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, protein, niacin, vitamin B6, and phosphorus and a good source of riboflavin, zinc, and potassium.”

And for bacon lovers, did you know bacon is consumed at breakfast an average of 12 times per person per year? Each year in the United States, more than 1.7 billion lbs. of bacon are consumed in food service.

House Resolution 839 awaits approval in the Illinois House of Representatives.


On Thursday, October 15th the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed “the state must also have a plan for allowing beneficiaries to choose either institutional services or home and community based services.” In essence, allowing legal guardians to choose whether or not to keep their loved ones at Murray Center or a group home.

“This is what we and the Murray Parents’ Association have been fighting for since the Quinn administration tried to intimidate legal guardians into relocating their loved ones, including the wards of state,” said Rep. Meier. “The court ruling will protect the residents living at Murray, the only state operated developmental center serving central and parts of southern Illinois.

Thanks to the dedication and hard work from the Murray Parents’ Association, Friends of Murray Center, State Rep. John Cavaletto, State Rep. Charlie Meier, State Senator Kyle McCarter, Governor Rauner and dozens of Illinois legislators, Murray Center will remain open. The recent federal court decision is another positive court ruling in favor of the residents at Murray Center and their friends and family.

The federal court did affirm that State Operated Developmental Centers (SODC) such as Murray Center could close, however as it stands there are no plans to close Murray Center. Currently, there are seven SODCs located throughout Illinois. Murray Center is the only SODC serving central Illinois and parts of southern Illinois, making Murray Center feasible for the State and its residents that call Murray Center their home.

*The U.S. Court of Appeals Opinion can be found here.
The Warren G. Murray Development Center located in Centralia, Illinois will have a new director later this month. The new Center Director Mary Ann Smith will begin her first day on the job effective October, 19 2015.

“I am happy to welcome Mary Ann Smith back to Murray Center,” said Rep. Meier. “She is no stranger to Murray, it’s great to see her back as Center Director. I look forward to visiting with her as soon as she gets settled into her new position.”

For the past ten years, Smith has been the administrator of the Odin Healthcare Center located in Odin, Illinois. Mary Ann has a MS in Speech Language Pathology from SIU-E and is licensed as an Illinois Nursing Home Administrator. Smith was selected as Administrator of the Year in 2005, and a Blue Ribbon Winner in 2010 and 2012. She started her association with Murray Center as a student worker at Grape Cottage while attending Kaskaskia Jr. College and became a full time employee at Grape Cottage as a technician.



The Murray Parents’ Association recently awarded Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) with the Dr. Plassman Award for his dedication, and devotion to the residents of Murray Center and for advocating to improve the livelihoods of the disabled.

According to the Murray Parents’ Association, “We are humbled and honored to present this award to Representative Charlie Meier. Rep. Meier has been on a constant mission to keep Murray Center open as a home for our residents. He has spent countless hours working with other legislators, the parents/guardians, and community leaders to plan and implement ways to keep Murray Center open. Even when he was told "Murray is going to close" he refused to back down, and continued to fight.”

The prestigious Dr. W.P. Plassman award was started in 1977 by the Murray Parents' Association to honor Dr. Plassman who was instrumental in helping to start the Murray Parents' Association. Dr. Plassman became the superintendent of Murray Center in 1970 and he immediately saw a need for a parents' organization, and arranged to have a Parents' Day for two successive years with the hope that a parents' group would materialize from these days. After the Second Parents' Day in October 1971, the organizational meeting took place and the Murray Parents’ Association was born.

“I am extremely appreciative to receive the prestigious Plassman Award,” said Rep. Meier. “When I began standing up for the residents of Murray Center I did not anticipate nor expect to receive such an award. It warms my heart to receive such an honor and my heart will always be with the residents and family of Murray Center.”

Since 1977 fourteen people have been honored with the Plassman Award; Anita Becherer (1977), Ethel West (1979), Nancy Scott (1981), Phyllis Hatfield (1984), Wes and Lois Heintz (1984), Ed Elmore (1987), Howard Phillips (1987), John and Betty Stumpe (1991), Mary Phillips (1994), Audrey L. Kolar (1998), Senator Frank Watson (2001), Vickie Niederhofer (2005), Rita Winkeler (2014), and in 2015, State Representative Charlie Meier.
Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) will be hosting a ceremony to designate the section of United States Route 50 between the cities of Carlyle and Breese as the SSG Joshua Melton Memorial Highway. The ceremony will be held at the Breese soccer field (off Holy Cross Lane) on Sunday, September 27 beginning at 1:00 p.m.

SSG Joshua Melton served his country with pride and distinction as a member of the Illinois Army National Guard, joining a year before his graduation from Central Community High School in Breese. He was on his second deployment after serving in Iraq from December of 2004 to March of 2006 when he was killed while serving in Kandahar Afghanistan on June 19, 2009.

The SSG Joshua Melton Memorial Highway is being designated as directed by the Illinois General Assembly's adoption of House Joint Resolution 74 sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier and State Senator Kyle McCarter in honor of fallen National Guardsman, Staff Sgt. Joshua Melton of Breese.
Rep. Meier was honored this weekend with the Play Maker Award from Unlimited Play for his help in passing legislation to make handicapped playgrounds more of a priority. This was brought to his attention by Mike and Debbie Berndsen, who's daughter Hannah was handicapped. They felt like every time they tried to raise money from grants they were treated as just another playground. The fact is much more goes into a handicapped accessible playground. Hannah's playground committee made it happen in Breese, IL, but hopefully it will be easier for the next group.

Rep. Meier with Debbie and Michael Berndsen.

State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) and State Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) will host their third annual Senior Citizen Health fair Wednesday, August 26 at the New Baden American Legion Post 321, located at 105 E. Illinois Street in New Baden , from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. The fair is free and open to the public.

The fair will feature free door prizes, refreshments and health screenings. Senior citizens will also have an opportunity to check the State of Illinois I-Cash booth for lost or state held assets.  Seniors will also find assisted living information at this year’s fair and veterans will learn how to obtain the veterans designation on their driver’s license.

Who: State Representative Charlie Meier and State Senator Kyle McCarter
What: Senior Citizen Health Fair
When: Wednesday, August 26 9am -11am
Where: New Baden American Legion Post 321, 105 E. Illinois Street in New Baden

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation Wednesday sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) to make handicap-accessible park projects a priority.

According to Rep. Meier, “I introduced this legislation to make handicap-accessible park projects a priority in Illinois because of Hannah Berndsen, her family and friends which built Hannah’s playground this year in Breese. There are too few parks that provide this kind of access, and I wanted to shine a light on this very important issue.”

The new law P.A. 99-0391, directs the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to add to the criteria for giving park projects priority, handicap-accessible playground equipment such as ramped, ground-level play features, accessible swings, wheelchair accessible tables, adjustable equipment, universally accessible swings, and transfer platforms.

Rep. Meier added, “My focus, as State Representative, has always been helping those who need it. I believe that improving our parks by making them more handicap-accessible will give families that need help the most some much needed relief. Improving our parks by making them handicap-accessible will allow parents and their children to escape the stresses of home by being able to enjoy the outdoors.”
Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) and the City of Troy Police Department have teamed up to offer a FREE Paper Shredding event for local residents from 9:00am – 12:00pm on Saturday, August 22 outside the Troy Police Department located at 116 E. Market Street in Troy.

Paper documents will be accepted for shredding (up to two boxes per person). Guests are instructed to follow the marked pathway through the parking lot and remain in their vehicle while the documents are unloaded. Parking is available for those who wish to personally watch documents being shredded.

The event is free and open to the public. For questions or more information, please call Rep. Meier’s office at 618-651-0405.

In response to some confusion brought forth by CDL holders in the 108th district, Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) wants to remind Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders and applicants of a recent change when applying or renewing their CDL.

According to State Rep. Charlie Meier, “I have received several questions from constituents concerning the new federal standard when obtaining or keeping a CDL. It was news to me that applicants and CDL holders had to show proof of citizenship or legal presence in order to keep or obtain a Commercial Driver’s License, so I thought it was important to remind people of the new change so they are not caught by surprise when renewing their CDL.”

Effective July 1, 2015, when a CDL Holder or CLP applicant visits an Illinois Secretary of State facility for initial issuance, renewal, transfer or upgrade, the driver will be required to show proof of legal presence and domicile. This is a one-time requirement for the CDL holder or CLP applicant, who is a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent resident.

To view the list of legal documents accepted by the Illinois Secretary of State, please visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com or click here.

In response to the horrific shootings which took the lives of five members of the U.S. Armed Forces in Chattanooga on July 16, Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) sponsored legislation to strengthen the security for members of the military and their spouse.

“Our military personnel should not be sitting ducks while serving our country,” said Rep. Meier. “My bill will allow the men and women serving our country to protect themselves and the public if any life is threatened. Giving our active duty members of the Armed Forces the option to conceal and carry a firearm will strengthen our national security.”

Currently, the State of Illinois does not allow non-resident active duty members of the Armed Forces to even apply for a concealed carry permit. As a result of Illinois’ current law and the tragic events in Chattanooga, State Representative Charlie Meier teamed up with the NRA which led to the introduction of House Bill 4258. If enacted, Rep. Meier’s legislation will change the State’s current law to allow for a non-resident license application if the applicant is an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in Illinois or for their spouse residing in Illinois.

Rep. Meier added, “Hundreds of active duty members living in my district serve our country at Scott Air Force Base. Whether it be going to lunch off base, shopping at the grocery store after work, or pumping gas on their way to work, I want our military to be able to protect themselves on and off the clock.”
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) and Irvington Mayor Gera Sims conducted a public ceremony to honor WWII POW and Korean War Veteran Dr. Gerhard Malcharek in Irvington Sunday.

From very early on Dr. Malcharek lived a life of adversity. At age 13 he was taken away from his family and forced to join the German army as a tank driver in the dying stages of WWII. In his time of service he became injured, and was later forced into a soviet POW Camp. For his forced service in the army, Dr. Malcharek served in the POW camp until 1947. When released, he and his family were forced to immigrate to Germany where he would not be able to receive the education necessary for him to fulfill his dream of becoming a dentist.

During his time of exile, he was befriended by an American Soldier who informed him of the educational opportunities America had to offer. A short time later, Dr. Malcharek immigrated to America. Thankful for the opportunities that had been given him, Dr. Malcharek joined the U.S. Army within 30 days of arriving on American Soil. He was quickly called to action to serve in Korea as a combat engineer. During his time in the service Dr. Malcharek served two tours, received the Purple Heart, and retired as a Colonel.

After his service, Dr. Malcharek continued on with hard work and dedication to fulfill his dream of becoming a dentist. As a Dentist, Dr. Malcharek was tasked with caring for nearly 700 Murray Center residents. He served in this position for 27 years.

The ceremony to honor Irvington resident retired Colonel Dr. Gerhard Malcharek took place on Sunday, July 5th, at 4:00 p.m., at Irvington Park.

“Dr. Malcharek’s life is one that has inspired and continues to inspire today,” said Rep. Meier. “The fact he was taken from his family and forced into a tank at age 13 to fight with the Germans and wound up retiring as a Colonel in the U.S. Army is simply incredible. His life of service, whether it be in the Military or as a Dentist, is one to be admired and respected."
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) passed House Resolution 611 honoring the Highland Bulldogs baseball team Tuesday for their winning the Class 3A State Championship.  HR 611 recognizes the outstanding achievement by the Highland Bulldogs and congratulates them on their victory.

The Highland Bulldogs defeated Nazareth Academy 7-6 in a hard fought offensive battle. The championship game started with Nazareth Academy taking an early 2-0 lead. The two teams battled for seven innings until the Bulldogs finally took back the lead they lost in the 1st, scoring the game winning run in the bottom of the 7th to win 7-6. This exciting win was the perfect ending to a terrific season, with the team finishing 28-13 as their overall record.

“I am very proud of the Highland Bulldogs and their championship winning season,” said Rep. Meier. “The Bulldogs ability to play as a team and their talent on the field is nothing short of outstanding. Their victory at the end of a hard-fought season was well earned, and will serve as a great lesson for the players as they strive for success in the future.”

Included in House Resolution 611, Rep. Meier recognized each member of the Bulldogs and their coaching staff. The members of the Highland baseball team are Seth Luitjohan, Tyler Kimmle, Mike McGill, Pete Baumgartner, Austin Brown, Will Greenwald, Jim Smith, Jarrett Dubach, Griffin Welz, Grant Geppert, Tyler Pollard, Cody Bentlage, Sam Greene, Chris Dickman, Andrew Winning, Matt Augustin, Jordan Smith, Nick Schmollinger, Kyle Schmitt, Matt Beyer, Trent Carriger. The team's head coach, Joel Hawkins, has coached baseball at Highland Highland High School for 24 years. The team's assistant coaches are Sam Weber, Joel Hawkins, and Caleb Houchins.

Rep. Meier’s resolution concluded with the following message to the Highland Bulldogs baseball team, “RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we congratulate the members of the Highland Bulldogs baseball team on the occasion of winning the Class 3A State Championship Title and wish them many more years of success to come.”
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) passed House Resolution 610 honoring the Nashville Hornets girls softball team Tuesday for their winning the Class 2A State Championship.  HR 610 recognizes the outstanding accomplishment by the Nashville Hornets and congratulates them on their victory.

The Nashville Hornets defeated Brimfield High School 1-0 in a grueling eleven-inning pitchers duel. This win capped a terrific season, with the team finishing 39-2 as there overall record.

“I am very proud of the hard work and effort put for by the Nashville Hornets,” said Rep. Meier. “To finish a season with a record of 39-2 is no small feat. The memories created by this season will be one to cherish for both coaches and players alike.”

Included in House Resolution 610, Rep. Meier recognized each member of the Hornets and their coaching staff. The members of the Nashville softball team are Paige Kasten, Emily Thompson, Brooke Burcham, Jordi Harre, Brooke Bartling, Mackenzie McFeron, Alli Liske, Daley Buchanan, Jordan Stiegman, Karly Stanowski, Joey Lane, Dakota Hunter, Maci Ingram, and Deidra Holzhauer. The team’s head coach, Dempsey Witte, has coached girls Softball at Nashville High School for 5 years, he is assisted by coaches Bethany Hinkle, Patrick Weathers, Wayne Harre, and Charles Heck.

Rep. Meier’s resolution concluded with the following message to the Nashville Hornets girls softball team, “RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we congratulate the members of the Nashville Hornets softball team on the occasion of winning the Class 2A State Championship Title and wish them many more years of success to come.”
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) and Irvington Mayor Gera Sims will be conducting a public ceremony to honor WWII POW and Korean War Veteran Dr. Gerhard Malcharek in Irvington Sunday.

The ceremony to honor Irvington resident retired Colonel Dr. Gerhard Malcharek will take place on Sunday, July 5th, beginning at 4:00 p.m., located at Irvington Park off Parkview Street in Irvington, Illinois.

“Dr. Malcharek is living proof of the American dream,” said Rep. Meier. “The fact he served as a POW in World War II as a German soldier and retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Army is a life changing story you don’t hear too often. I encourage the public to join me and Mayor Sims in honoring retired Colonel Malcharek.”

The ceremony is open to the public, anyone interested in showing their support for retired Colonel Dr. Malcharek are encouraged to attend.
State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) released the statement below following Governor Rauner’s veto of the 19 budget bills sent to him by the Illinois General Assembly:

“This is refreshing news we have a Governor that supports a balanced budget. It was Albert Einstein which said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That is exactly what Blagojevich and Quinn did with the state budget year after year.

We need a budget that protects the most vulnerable. However, if we spend money we don’t have then we are making all the taxpayers of Illinois vulnerable as a result of mismanaging government funds.

The state budget sent to Governor Rauner was unbalanced and unconstitutional. I support the Governor’s veto because the budget spent $4 billion our State will not have in the bank account next fiscal year. I am ready to go to work and support a budget that is balanced by not spending money we don’t have. I urge my Democrat colleagues to urge their leadership to come back to the negotiating table so we can keep state government operating.”
With nine days to go until a new state budget is scheduled to take effect July 1 there is one problem, the Democrats’ in control of the Illinois House and Senate have no budget for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to sign.

Since June 17, members of both Democrat majorities in the House and Senate have held press conferences throughout Illinois in opposition to a budget proposed in February by Governor Rauner. Fast forward to today, the only budget approved this year is the FY 2016 budget approved by House and Senate Democrats consisting of twenty-one budget bills, of which only a hand full of budget bills have been sent to the Governor for consideration.

“The press conferences held throughout the state by my Democrat colleagues discussing proposed budget cuts is pure hogwash,” said Rep. Charlie Meier. “My Democrat colleagues control the budget process in Springfield. They have the votes to decide who gets cut and how much they get cut. Instead, we should be talking about the root of Illinois’ fiscal problems - overspending and record job loss. Employers and not-for-profits are paying the price of high workers’ compensation rates and feeling the burden of high insurance costs because of a lack of lawsuit abuse reform. If we solve the issue of record job loss, Illinois can create more jobs which would result in more revenue for our state budget.”

Illinois’ estimated revenue for Fiscal Year 2016 is $32 billion. However, the budget proposal passed by House and Senate Democrats spends $36 billion, $4 billion more than Illinois’ estimated revenue for Fiscal Year 2016.

“My Democrat colleagues seem to have forgotten they have enough votes to pass a budget which spends as much or little as they want,” said Rep. Dwight Kay. “The budget they passed in May spends four billion more than what Illinois is estimated to have in the bank over the next year. I suggest my colleagues urge their Democrat leadership to come back to the negotiating table and reach an agreement on the state budget.”

As of today, House and Senate Democrats have not sent their entire Fiscal Year 2016 budget to Governor Rauner for his consideration. The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2015 and runs through June 30, 2016.
Placing telemarketing calls to wireless phones is - and always has been - illegal in most cases.

Why the confusion about telemarketing to wireless phones?

Consumers report receiving emails saying they'll soon begin receive telemarketing calls on their wireless phones. The confusion seems to stem from discussions in the wireless phone industry about establishing a wireless 411 phone directory, much like your traditional (wired) 411 phone directory. A number of email campaigns seem to suggest that if your wireless telephone number is listed in a wireless 411 directory, it will be available to telemarketers, and you will start to receive sales calls. In addition, some of these email campaigns suggest that there is a separate do-not-call "cell phone registry," which you must call to have your wireless phone number covered by the do-not-call rules. This information is inaccurate.

The facts

Even if a wireless 411 directory is established, most telemarketing calls to wireless phones would still be illegal. For example, it is unlawful for any person to make any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with express prior consent) using any automatic telephone dialing system or any artificial or prerecorded voice message to wireless numbers. This law applies regardless of whether the number is listed on the national Do-Not-Call list.

The federal government does not maintain and is not establishing a separate Do-Not-Call list for wireless phone numbers.

Wireless phone subscribers have always been able to add their personal wireless phone numbers to the national Do-Not-Call list, either online, or by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number they wish to register. The do-not-call rules require callers that are not exempt from the rules to stop telemarketing calls 30 days after you register a number.

There is no deadline for registering a number on the national Do-Not-Call list. There is also no longer any need to re-register a number – it will stay on the national Do-Not-Call list until you cancel your registration or discontinue service. Read more.
Rep. Meier pictured with Trinklein Family: Gretchen, Charlie, Chuck Isringhaus, John, Abby and Mike.
Last week Rep. Charlie's friend of over 30 years came to visit along with the Trinklein Family. Chuck Isringhaus and Charlie met while they were both Jaycees. They continue to be friends today. I know Charlie can't say enough about going out and being active in your community. Join a group and be an active member, your friendships and experience can not be bought with money!
Photo courtesy of BND
On Sunday May 31st, the Illinois Senate approved a bill to make handicap-accessible park projects a priority.  State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) sponsored the legislation.
The legislation was inspired by Hannah Berndsen’s family, which began construction on ‘Hannah’s Playground’ with friends and family earlier this year in Breese.  Meier’s legislation would help build playgrounds like ‘Hannah’s Playground’ in other Illinois communities.

“It is astonishing how few parks in the State of Illinois are handicap-accessible,” said Rep. Meier.  “It is my hope that this legislation will help bring attention to this deficiency and allow more people to enjoy our wonderful parks.”

House Bill 3457 directs the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to add handicap-accessible playground equipment such as ramped ground-level play features, accessible swings, wheelchair accessible tables, adjustable equipment, universally accessible swings, and transfer platforms to the criteria for giving park projects priority.

Rep. Meier continued, “It has always been one of my top priorities as State Representative to fight for people in need of assistance.  I believe that individuals with a handicap and their families should be able to more easily enjoy our state’s beautiful parks and the great outdoors.”
HB 3457 passed unanimously in the House and the Senate and now moves on to the Governor for approval.

For more information about Rep. Meier’s legislation or if you have an issue concerning state government, please contact Rep. Charlie Meier’s office at 618-651-0405 or visit www.CharlieMeier.net.

On Saturday, the Illinois House of Representatives adopted a resolution honoring a fallen National Guardsman, Staff Sgt. Joshua Melton of Breese.  House Joint Resolution 74 (HJR 74) sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) passed unanimously in the House of Representatives.

SSG Joshua Melton served his country with pride and distinction as a member of the Illinois Army National Guard, joining a year before his graduation from Central Community High School in Breese. He was on his second deployment after serving in Iraq from December of 2004 to March of 2006 when he was killed while serving in Kandahar Afghanistan on June 19, 2009.

“It’s always a tragedy when we lose a member of the armed forces in combat,” said Rep. Meier.  “We owe our freedom to soldiers like Sgt. Joshua Melton who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can live our lives without the fear of tyranny.  I believe that this resolution is a fitting way to remember this brave soldier who gave his life for this great country.”

HJR 74 now heads to the Senate for approval and will be sponsored by State Senator Kyle McCarter (R-O’Fallon). Effective upon becoming law, the resolution will designate the section of United States Route 50 between the cities of Carlyle and Breese as the SSG Joshua Melton Memorial Highway.
Rep. Meier pictured with Anna Krenz of Hoyelton on
Wednesday, May 27. Anna was Rep. Meier's Page for a Day.

Rep. Meier pictured with the Clark Triplets from Plainfield. Pictured with their grandparents Patsy and Merle Minor, Mikayla, Danielle, and Chandler Clark. Center is Rep. Meier.

Jacob Tourville meets with Rep. Meier on the
House floor as Page for the Day on Friday, May 19th.
Jacob Tourville and his mother Tina pictured
with Rep. Meier outside the Capitol rotunda.
In less than 48 hours, Illinois House Democrats introduced and approved nine budget bills. The Democrat budget plans to spend an extra $4 billion the State of Illinois will not have in the bank when the bills are due.

“When will the Chicago Democrats running the legislature learn how to add and subtract?” said Rep. Charlie Meier. “The Democrats plan to spend $4 billion more than what the State of Illinois has in the bank is absurd. If I ran my family farm this way I would be bankrupt.”

The FY 2016 budget proposed by House and Senate Democrats consist of eighteen budget bills. Illinois’ estimated revenue for Fiscal Year 2016 is $32 billion. However, the Democrat budget plans to spend $36 billion, $4 billion more than Illinois’ estimated revenue for Fiscal Year 2016.

Rep. Meier added, “This out of control spending by the Democrats serve as the poster child for how the state government got into a fiscal mess. It is exactly what is wrong with the thinking coming from our Chicago Democrats. It is very simple, you can’t spend more than you can afford. The budget proposed banks on increasing taxes for hard working individuals and families.”

Weigh in on key issues in Springfield today, click below
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On Wednesday the newly appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Human Services delivered a positive message to the Murray Parents Association. Director James Dimas delivered positive news that Murray Center is not on any closure list and is scheduled to remain open.

According to State Rep. Charlie Meier, “It’s music to my ears to hear the new director of DHS go on record to say Murray Center will remain open.  The Murray Parents Association and I look forward to working with the new director to find innovative ways to continue providing the quality of care each resident at Murray deserves. It sure is a breath of fresh air to have a state agency that cares about Murray Center, a place the residents call home.”

The official announcement to keep Murray Center open is positive news for its residents, family, staff and the city of Centralia. The battle to keep Murray Center open began over three years ago on February 22, 2012, when (former) Governor Pat Quinn announced to close the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center.

Since the closure announcement was made, the Murray Parents Association, Rep. John Cavaletto, Rep. Charlie Meier, Senator Kyle McCarter and hundreds of friends and family of Murray Center never gave up the fight to keep the developmental center open.

Rep. Meier added, “the events which have transpired over the last three years should serve as a reminder to all of us that no matter what, don’t give up.  It’s amazing what can happen when you put people first and work together to accomplish what some say can’t happen. The fact that Murray Center will remain open is a blessing for the residents and family of Murray Center.”
The Illinois House of Representatives recently adopted a resolution honoring Cardinals Hall of Famer Albert ‘Red’ Schoendienst for his outstanding achievements and contributions made to Major League Baseball.  The resolution (HR 488) was sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville).

According to State Rep. Charlie Meier, “I introduced the resolution to honor Red because he is an Illinois native and we are very proud of his accomplishments. Red was born in Germantown just a few miles down the road from my hometown. Since 2015 marked the 70th year Mr. Schoendienst first wore the uniform and is a 10-time National League All Star, I deemed it was important for Illinois to honor one of its distinguished natives for his accomplishments.”

The resolution adopted by the Illinois House of Representatives states the following;

WHEREAS, The 2015 St. Louis Cardinals baseball season marks the 70th year since Albert “Red” Schoendienst first wore the uniform; and

WHEREAS, For 45 seasons “Red” wore the uniform as a player, coach, and manager; and

WHEREAS, “Red” Schoendienst is a 10-time National League All Star; and

WHEREAS, Albert “Red” Schoendienst was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989; and

WHEREAS, Schoendienst joined the Cardinals in 1945 to fill in for left fielder Stan Musial, who was serving in the U.S. Army; and

WHEREAS, “Red” Schoendienst batted .278 with 47 RBI and a National League-leading 26 stolen bases. The following year in 1946, Musial returned to the Cardinals, and Schoendienst moved to third base and then shortstop before settling in at second base, leading St. Louis to a World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox; and

WHEREAS, According to the St. Louis Cardinals’ career list, “Red” Schoendienst ranks fourth in at-bats (6,841) and pinch hits (53); fifth in games (1,795), runs (1,025) and hits (1,980); sixth in doubles (352); and seventh in total bases (2,657). He led the N.L. with 200 hits in 1957 and seven times he either led or tied for the league lead in fielding percentage; and

WHEREAS, Schoendienst served as a coach on the 1964 World Championship team and led St. Louis to a World Series victory in 1967 over the Red Sox and another N.L. pennant in 1968 en route to a 12-year tenure as skipper, the longest in franchise history; and

WHEREAS, “Red” Schoendienst is still involved with the St. Louis Cardinals organization as special assistant to the general manager; and

WHEREAS, On Monday, April 13, 2015 “Red” participated in the Cardinals Opening Day festivities where he was honored as a player, coach, and manager; and

WHEREAS, “Red” Schoendienst was born in Germantown, Illinois on February 2, 1923; and

WHEREAS, the State of Illinois is proud to call Albert “Red” Schoendienst a native Illinoisan; and therefore be it

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-NINTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we recognize Albert “Red” Schoendienst for his outstanding achievements and contributions he has made to Major League Baseball since 1945; and be it further

Resolved, that a suitable copy of this resolution be presented to Albert “Red” Schoendienst and the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization as a symbol of our respect and esteem.

Rep. Meier pictured with the Brammeier family from Okawville. Pictured from left to right; Diane, Steve, Rep. Meier, Tyler, Alyssa and Senator Dave Luechtefeld.

Students from Emmanuel Lutheran School in Okawville visited with Rep. Charlie Meier & Senator Dave Luechtefeld at the Capitol on Friday, May 15th. 

Rep. Meier enjoys seeing students excited to learn about state government. If you want to visit the Illinois Capitol this spring, please stop by Rep. Meier's office to say hello, he would enjoy seeing you.

Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson
Rep. Meier's constituent U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen Luke Foppe, the son of Bill & Denise Foppe of Breese, IL was recognized by President Obama alongside his colleagues earlier this month.

Luke is also the nephew of Diane Rakers, from Rep. Meier's staff.

The official blog of the U.S. Naval Academy "the Trident" posted the following story about the Midshipmen's trip to the White House:

U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Midshipmen traveled to the White House May 7 to be recognized by President Obama for winning the 15th annual Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX) in April.

Midshipmen met with President Obama in the Diplomatic Room to be congratulated on their success and later met members of the National Security Council to discuss matters relating to cyber security.

“The midshipmen were ecstatic and excited to have had the opportunity to be recognized for their accomplishment,” said Capt. Paul J. Tortora, USNA Center for Cyber Security Studies Director. “The fact that the president is highlighting this for the first time in the 10 year competition’s history is great for the program, the midshipmen, and the Naval Academy.”

CDX is a cyber-security exercise in which students from service academies design and build computer networks and defend them against intrusions by the National Security Agency/Central Security Services (NSA/CSS).

This year, a core team of 20 midshipmen triumphed over teams from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Air Force Institute of Technology and Royal Military College of Canada. This is the first time in 5 years that the Naval Academy has won the event.

“This was a fantastic opportunity to recognize these talented Midshipmen for winning our nation’s top exercise in Cyber Defense,” said VADM Ted Carter, USNA Superintendent, who was present at the White House for the meeting.  “Our efforts in cyber education, training and competition continue to stand out and confirm the U.S. Naval Academy's role as a leader in Cyber Education.

For the full story click here.