1000 Pounds Project
Senator Weaver is excited to announce a new community initiative - The 1000# project - challenging our young leaders to grow their unique skills to impact the greatest needs of the community by applying 1000 pounds of effort to get one million pounds of results.
We are currently organizing five diverse groups of leaders in Peoria and the 37th DIstrict to take part in the 1000# project. If you would like to be part of a team or have a great project idea and have a passion to improve your community, please apply at 1000poundsproject.org
In the photo from left to right are Team Leaders: Chama St. Louis, H. Wayne Wilson from WTVP, Syed Ahmad, Julie Eliathamby.
Senator Weaver tours Woodford County jail
Senator Weaver met with members of the Woodford County Sheriff's office and toured the county jail. According to Sheriff Matt Smith, department heads discussed concerns affecting their operations and problems they are having with unfunded mandates.
"It was nice to have him here and he listened and heard what we have to say & hopefully he will go back to Springfield and try to improve the way we can provide service in Woodford County," said Sheriff Matt Smith. He added that, "I've never shown a senator the inside of a jail before."
Bill Smith, Senator Weaver, and Robin Rediger at Van-Packer Co, where state of the art zero clearance high temperature duct work and chimneys are being manufactured and sold into the global market.
Senator Weaver held a coffee chat at Caleri's Cafe & Bakery in Roanoke. The discussion covered major topics and issues being considered by the Senate as well as updates on budget progress.
Senate Week in Review
The Illinois State Board of Education has finalized distribution numbers for the new evidence-based funding model.
Senate lawmakers return to Springfield April 10, and will continue their efforts to finalize a state budget and finish legislative business for the spring session by a scheduled adjournment date of May 31.
In other legislative news, the Senate Gaming Committee met to discuss legalization of sports wagering in Illinois, while the Senate Appropriations II Committee met on budget requests for a number of state agencies.
ISBE releases tier funding
Final evidence-based funding numbers are out from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Schools had been waiting to learn how much they would be receiving from the new distribution model since the legislation was signed into law last year. The agency has now issued vouchers for payment to the Illinois Comptroller's office and funding should begin reaching schools as part of their bi-monthly distributions soon.
“I believe this marks the beginning of a new era for how we fund schools. The distribution of these funds is the result of the years of hard work from lawmakers and members of the education community toward creating an adequate and equitable system of distributing funds to schools," said State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington). “We still have much work to do. We need to get the Professional Review Panel, which is required by the new funding law, up and running so that we can study how effective the new formula is at meeting its goals. Lawmakers as a whole also need to remain committed to appropriating the necessary funding to make the new formula work.
“I also hope that the historic success we achieved with the new funding model will inspire all the members of the General Assembly to continue to work together in a bipartisan manner to accomplish great things for the people of our state,” added Barickman.
You can find out more information from ISBE here: https://www.isbe.net/Lists/News/NewsDisplay.aspx?ID=1206
Senate Gaming Committee met on sports betting
The Senate Gaming Committee, on which Senator Syverson serves as the ranking Republican, met this week to discuss sports wagering legislation pending in the Senate, holding a “subject matter only” hearing on April 3.
Though no votes on any proposal took place, lawmakers discussed the potential benefits and pitfalls of proposals that would allow for the authorization and regulation of sports betting or electronic sports betting in Illinois (SB 2478), including legislation that would authorize the sports wagering licenses at horse racing facilities and inter-track wagering locations (SB 3125). Another bill considered by the committee (SB 3432) would authorize sports wagering, including electronic betting, at riverboat gaming facilities.
Advocates underscored that legalizing and regulating sports wagering would allow the state to capture tax revenue that is currently being directed to illegal, black-market betting operations. Those pushing for the measure cited a financial windfall estimated at anywhere from $300 million to $680 million annually, which if taxed at 10 percent could lead to an estimated $30 million to $60 million in new tax revenue for the state.
Representatives for professional sports leagues, which have opposed sports betting in the past, now offer their support for measures that offer a legal and safe way to bet on sporting events; however, the MLB and NBA also argued for a small percentage of any future profits from future gaming on league games, noting it is their games that would be generating the revenues.
However, opponents raised concerns about the impact legalization of sports wagering could have on Illinois’ current casinos, while others expressed concerns that expanding the gaming industry in Illinois to include sports gambling would lead to increased problem and pathological gambling in the state.
There is currently a federal ban on sports wagering for most states; however, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a decision to overturn the ban. It is widely anticipated that the nation’s high court will open the gate to sports betting. All of Illinois’ neighboring states, with the exception of Wisconsin, have introduced legislation to conduct sports wagering in the event sports betting is legalized.
Senate budget committees continue to meet
As the General Assembly enters the home stretch to the scheduled session adjournment date of May 31, the Senate appropriations committees continue to meet to discuss budget requests from the state’s agencies, boards and commissions. Lawmakers will use this information as they prepare to enter into budget negotiations in earnest over the coming weeks.
This week, the Senate Appropriations II Committee heard testimony from the University of Illinois, as well as some of the state’s largest agencies—including the Departments of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Natural Resources, and Agriculture.
Legislation caps state spending, links spending to economic growth
Nearly 20 years of annual overspending exacerbated by the lack of job-creating, economic-stimulating reforms have contributed to a fiscal crisis that is stymying employment opportunities and driving residents out of Illinois. In response, a measure has been introduced that would place a cap on state spending, while also linking state spending growth to economic growth.
Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 21 would limit the growth of government, ensuring state spending can only increase if the Illinois economy is robust enough to sustain the spending increase. Supporters say the reform will not only have a positive impact on Illinois taxpayers, it will attract job creators, grow the state’s flagging population and boost local and state economies.
If Illinois had sustained just average economic growth from 2002 through today, the state would have benefitted from approximately $20 billion worth of additional revenue.
Update from IDPH on synthetic cannabinoid investigations
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been investigating an outbreak of severe bleeding among individuals who reported using synthetic cannabinoids (i.e., “synthetic marijuana” or “legal weed”). As of April 4, IDPH has received reports of 70 cases, including two deaths, linked to this outbreak. All cases have required hospitalization for symptoms such as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, or bleeding gums.
While many of the cases report acquiring the synthetic cannabinoid products in the Chicago or Peoria areas, contaminated products may be in counties across the state. Individuals reported obtaining synthetic cannabinoid products from convenience stores, dealers, and friends.
Synthetic cannabinoids are human-made, mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on to dried plant material so they can be smoked, or sold as liquids to be inhaled via e-cigarettes. They are sold for recreational drug use with claims they will provide the user the effects of cannabis, although the actual effects can be dangerous, unpredictable, and, as we have seen, deadly. These products are also known as herbal or liquid incense and have brand names such as K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Genie, and Zohai, and may be packaged under other brand names.