On Wednesday my good friends from the Murray Parents Association came to visit me in Springfield. We are all thrilled that Murray Center will remain open! Pictured from left to right, beginning with the back row: Rep. Charlie Meier, Jitty Winkler, and Denise Schoppett. Front row: Monica Sobczak, Rita Winkler, Karen Kelly, and Otis Bostick.
Today the Illinois House of Representatives approved supplemental funding in the amount of $1.6 billion for the Fiscal Year 2015 state budget.  If no action was taken, the State of Illinois would run out of money to pay its bills.

The two emergency budget bills approved today were House Bills 317 and 318.  Both budget bills will allow Governor Rauner to balance the $1.6 billion budget shortfall he inherited from former Governor Pat Quinn.

“If we didn’t act on today’s supplemental budget, vital services would have been jeopardized,” said Rep. Meier.  “Last year’s budget spearheaded by Governor Quinn was $1.6 billion out of balance which led to today’s action.  Without a supplemental budget, funding to pay our prison guards, court reporters, mentally ill and our developmentally disabled would simply run out.”

The legislation now heads to the Illinois Senate and awaits approval, upon its passage, the emergency budget is expected to be signed by Governor Rauner.

Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) is pleased to announce that the Warren G. Murray Development Center is heading in a positive direction.

“Murray Center is included in the FY16 state budget,” said Rep. Meier.  “The fact that so far Murray Center is included in the budget is very good news.  This is positive sign for the future of its residents and family members.”

Representative Charlie Meier is a strong advocate for providing vital services to persons with special needs and the developmentally disabled.  Meier’s advocacy has been witnessed dating back to his first term in 2012 as the Representative who fought and will never stop fighting to keep Murray Center open.
On Tuesday, the Illinois House of Representatives adopted a resolution honoring a fallen Green Beret, Sgt. Gary J. Vasquez of Highland.  House Joint Resolution 5 (HJR 5) sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) passed unanimously in the House of Representatives.

Sgt. Gary Vasquez was one of 3 soldiers who gave their lives defending America's freedom on September 29, 2008, when his vehicle hit an enemy improvised explosive device while conducting a combat reconnaissance patrol in the vicinity of Yakhchal, Helmand Province, Afghanistan; he was riding with Capt. Richard G. Cliff, Jr. of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and Sgt. First Class Jamie S. Nicholas of Maysel, West Virginia.

“It is an honor to pass this resolution to ensure we never forget the sacrifice Sgt. Gary J. Vasquez made for our country,” said Rep. Meier.  “His dedication and passion for his career was evident when he relayed stories about his missions with a sparkle in his eye and a soft excitement in his voice.  It was shared with me that if he couldn't work for the Army as a Special Forces Sergeant, his career would be as a father to his children, that is what we call a real hero, not just for our country but for his family.”

Pending approval of the Senate and Governor, the resolution will designate the section of Illinois Route 160 between the intersection of Broadway and Poplar Street in Highland and the intersection of West 4th Street and West 2nd Street in Trenton as the Sgt. Gary J. Vasquez Green Beret Memorial Highway.