Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) released the following statement after Governor Bruce Rauner announced his plan to restore $26 million to state operations. The funding that was previously reduced by Governor Rauner due to a $1.6 billion shortfall he inherited from his predecessor.

“I applaud Governor Rauner on restoring funding for services and programs which our residents depend upon to make ends meet and to improve their quality of life. When the reduction in funding occurred, Governor Rauner was faced with a $1.6 billion shortfall and he unfortunately had to cut spending. The good news is state coffers are estimated to receive $300-500 million more than anticipated, resulting in the ability to restore the $26 million and keep important services and programs operating.”

The Belleville-News Democrat ran a good story this week about Hannah’s Playground in Breese.  It was Hannah’s Playground which inspired me to introduce my bill (HB 3457) to help build playgrounds like Hannah’s in other Illinois communities.

“My focus, as State Representative, has always been helping those who need it,” said Rep. Meier. “I believe that improving our parks by making them more handicap-accessible will give those 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."

House Bill 3457, 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.
To read the full story by the BND, click here.

Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) recently recognized St. Joseph’s Hospital located in Breese for earning the prestigious 2015 Everest Award.

Rep. Meier honored St. Joseph’s Hospital by passing House Resolution 354 out the House of Representatives, the resolution recognized the hospital for its achievement after being named one of the Top 100 Hospitals in the nation by Truven Health Analytics. Truven Health Analytics honors hospitals with the ‘Everest Award’ for achieving both the highest current performance and the fastest long-term improvement over five years. Hospitals do not apply or pay for this prestigious recognition, nor pay to promote their award.

According to State Rep. Charlie Meier, “Since hospitals do not pay for this award or even pay to promote it, I thought it was necessary the State of Illinois recognize St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese for obtaining this prestigious award. I am very proud of the hospital staff and administration on obtaining the 2015 Everest Award, being named a Top 100 Hospital is something the community should feel proud about too.”

Truven Health Analytics has released its Top 100 Hospitals award annually since 1993. The Truven Health 100 Top Hospital program utilizes independent and objective research to guide hospital and health system performance.

Only 17 hospitals in the nation have simultaneously set the national benchmark for both balanced excellence in a single year as well as for greatest improvement over five consecutive years.
On Sunday, April 19th Rep. Charlie Meier attended the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Lebanon Elementary School’s open house and unveiling the contents of a time capsule. The time capsule was buried 77 years ago at the old Lebanon elementary building. 

According to school officials, the rumored time capsule was found after a second attempt to locate its whereabouts. Volunteers started to clean and remove debris from the top of the capsule and were able to recover the copper box.
On Wednesday, April 15 the Illinois House of Representatives approved legislation sponsored by State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) to make handicap-accessible park projects a priority.

The legislation was inspired by Hannah Berndsen’s family, which will begin constructing ‘Hannah’s Playground’ with friends and family April 26th in Breese.  Meier’s legislation would help build playgrounds like ‘Hannah’s Playground’ in other Illinois communities.

According to Rep. Meier, “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, those 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."

The legislation House Bill 3457, 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, “I introduced this bill because there are too few parks that provide this kind of access, and I wanted to shine a light on this very important issue. Making these improvements a priority is vital step to enabling those with handicaps enjoy the same pleasures that we all enjoy.”

If you would like to volunteer by helping build Hannah's Playground this Saturday, April 26th, click here to sign up!

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.

Pictured from left to right Diane Rakers, Tim Reaka, Rep. Meier, and
FFA members Mike Frank, Devon Frank, and Austin Woolf.
On Saturday, April 11th members of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) helped State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) move into his relocated district office.  The district office is now located at 121 Broadway (Route 160) in Highland.

The FFA members labor was auctioned off at a recent fundraiser to the highest bidder – Rep. Charlie Meier.

Rep. Meier’s district office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM-4:00 PM.  If you have an issue concerning state government or would like to meet with Rep. Meier, you may contact his office at 618-651-0405.

Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier has relocated his Highland district office. The district office is now located at 121 Broadway (Route 160) in Highland.

Rep. Meier’s office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM-4:00 PM.

If you have an issue concerning state government or would like to meet with Rep. Meier, you may contact his office at 618-651-0405.


The Illinois Department of Human Services held an Open Forum at Murray Center on Wednesday, April 8th.  The forum was held for family members of Murray Center residents and its employees of the developmental center.  State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) attended the forum.
The main topic of discussion at the open forum was the need to revitalize the center and how to improve the appearance of the grounds.  Since Governor Quinn announced the closure of Murray, the grounds were not properly kept and are in desperate need of improvement as the facility will remain open.  At the conclusion of the forum, those in attendance discussed the need to establish a volunteer beautification committee, and the good news is DHS supports the creation of the volunteer committee. 
“The key to providing quality care for residents of Murray is for DHS to maintain open communication with the Murray Center family and I am happy this open dialogue has begun,” said Rep. Meier.  “It is also refreshing news that DHS is committed to improving Murray Center by working with volunteers who are willing to do some Spring cleaning and help beautify the grounds.” 
Wednesday’s forum was conducted by DHS Assistant Deputy Director Jerry Stam.  The purpose of the forum was to begin open communication with parents of Murray Center residents and its employees.  

At 7:00 a.m. this morning State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) received a phone call from the Department of Human Services confirming the unfortunate death of a resident at the Warren G. Murray Development Center located in Centralia, Illinois.
Rep. Meier released the following statement:

“I am sad to hear about the recent death of a member in the Murray Center family.  This is not the news anyone would like to receive about a friend or family member on Good Friday.  However, I appreciate DHS and the Rauner administration calling to make me aware of what happened at Murray.

I am pleased to have an agency and Governor that cares about our developmentally disabled – what a positive difference this new administration is making. The previous administration would not call me personally when a death or incident occurred.  Even worse, the previous administration quickly cremated bodies within hours so no investigation could be conducted.  The agency and myself want to make sure there was no abuse or neglect involved in the recent death which is why I encouraged an investigation to occur quickly.

I am confident our Murray employees will cooperate with the investigation as I have no tolerance for abuse against the developmentally disabled living in our CILA’s and institutions.  With that said, I anticipate when the investigation is completed, it will be confirmed that the resident died of natural causes.

During this Easter weekend I ask for everyone to pray for the loss of this resident and his family.  I want the developmentally disabled to feel safe living in their homes provided by the State.  I strive for our developmentally disabled to have the ability to live a full and healthy life, this is all we ask for and should expect nothing other than the best care individuals need to ensure their quality of life.”