On May 30, a tornado swept through the
region, destroying several businesses and homes, particularly on the
south side of Clinton. Early the next day, Rep. Bill Mitchell and
Sen. Bill Brady requested the disaster declaration. Both made
numerous phone calls, and Mitchell met with representatives from the
Illinois Emergency Management Agency, seeking the declaration.
In a letter dated July 2, the
governor's public safety deputy chief of staff stated that funding
for relief was not available for disasters that occurred prior to
July 1. The legislators would not accept this decision, however, and
are pleased that their perseverance paid off. The declaration
finally came on July 24, giving communities the help they need.
Governor signs tuition limit legislation
Students attending state universities
in Illinois will be able to lock in a tuition rate for four years
under a law signed by the governor July 22.
House Bill 1118 provides that,
beginning with those students who first enroll after the 2003-2004
academic year, the undergraduate tuition charged to an Illinois
resident will not exceed the amount charged upon initial enrollment
in the university. This guaranteed tuition is to be valid for the
following four consecutive academic years, with an exception made
for those undergraduate programs that require more than four
academic years of class work. The new law also allows for an
adjustment in the rate of tuition paid if a student changes majors,
resulting in a different tuition being required.
The costs of a higher education have
risen sharply. This new law gives students more of an idea of the
costs they have to pay for tuition and could help keep college in
the ballpark for many students.
retired teachers could return to classrooms
The governor has signed legislation
co-sponsored by Sen. Brady that will provide another source of
teachers for Illinois schools facing a shortage of faculty in
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Senate Bill 195 creates a five-year
pilot program that allows retired teachers to return to work and
receive active teacher health insurance while receiving an annuity,
as long as they teach in a "subject shortage area."
With older teachers retiring and school
enrollments increasing, schools are finding it harder to hire enough
qualified personnel for all subjects. This means that classroom
sizes are growing and some teachers might be asked to teach classes
that are outside their particular area of expertise. "This is not in
the best interest of our children, so we need to look to another
source of teachers," Brady said.
The employment must be within a subject
area that is experiencing a teacher shortage and within a qualified
school. Regional superintendents of schools would be required to
certify school district compliance with certain requirements of the
Governor's delay of death-penalty reforms
Gov. Rod Blagojevich's July 29 veto of
death-penalty legislation is slowing the implementation of
Brady said, "I question the governor's
reasoning and timing behind this amendatory veto. These reforms
passed with nearly unanimous support at every step of the General
Assembly's law-making process. If they had concerns, they should
have brought them to our attention during the spring session so we
could work them out."
Blagojevich vetoed a portion of the
death penalty reform package that sanctions individual police
officers for perjury.
"What kind of a message is he sending
with this veto? If we can't hold law enforcement officials
accountable for perjury, then how can we expect others -- including
criminals -- to tell the truth? I truly do not understand his
reasoning," Brady added.
amendatory veto sends the legislation back to the General Assembly
for action during the fall's veto session, which starts Nov. 4.
release provided by
Sen. Bill Brady]