HARRISBURG — Lawmakers spent much of their first week back in session moving legislation in committees moving legislation. As session begins once more in earnest, Senator Dale Fowler remains adamant that lawmakers should be working together to pass a balanced budget that does not add to the tax burden already placed on the shoulders of Illinois taxpayers.
With seven more weeks of session remaining before the scheduled spring session adjournment date, legislative leaders met with Gov. Bruce Rauner during the week to move budget discussions forward. The focus of their discussion was on finding a way to balance revenues with expenditures without the need for further tax increases.
Budgets and taxes were among the recent topics of conversation during Sen. Fowler’s teleforum on April 10. Sen. Fowler hosted the live event from the Capitol building, inviting residents from the 59th District to call in, get an update on state government and ask their questions.
In other news from the State House, April 11 was Agricultural Legislative Day in Springfield. Student Future Farmer Association members from across the state visited the Capitol to meet with their lawmakers to discuss the importance of Illinois’ agricultural industry and agricultural education.
Sen. Fowler welcomed a number of FFA groups from the 59th District, meeting with FFA students from Pope County, Joppa, Vienna and Harrisburg.
“I was really impressed by how professional and focused these students are when discussing their organizations and the role agriculture plays in their lives and communities,” said Sen. Fowler. “Agriculture is a top industry in our state and these students show a real passion and commitment to ensuring Illinois continues to be an agricultural leader in the nation.”
Also visiting the Capitol last week were local chambers of commerce, traveling to the Capitol for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Lobby Day. Sen. Fowler welcomed members from both the Saline County Chamber of Commerce and the Marion County Chamber of Commerce on April 11, discussing the need to help our business community grow and keep jobs in state.
From commerce to realtors, Sen. Fowler welcomed members of the Egyptian Board of Realtors to Springfield as part of the Illinois Association of Realtors Lobby Day. The group visited with the Senator about issues important to their association and shared some exciting news about their partnership with Sen. Fowler’s upcoming Southern Illinois Made Expo. Helping to offset some of the expenses of the event, the Board applied for and received a grant that will allow even more of the proceeds from the day to go toward the event’s designated charity, Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois.
“I want to thank the Egyptian Board of Realtors for their hard work in obtaining these funds and working to ensure we can do as much good with this event as possible,” said Sen. Fowler. “The Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois is a great organization, and to use this event to be able to lend a helping hand is a true blessing.”
Also happening during the week was the Illinois Health and Hospital Association Quality Advocacy Showcase. Harrisburg Medical Center was representing the 59th District for the event, taking the time to speak with the Senator about their facility and their ongoing efforts to improve quality care and patient safety.
News from the District
Last week, the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees voted against shifting more than $5 million in funds from Southern Illinois University Carbondale to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Sen. Fowler, who spoke out against the original proposal, supported the Board’s decision, noting that the decision could have had a devastating economic impact on the campus and the surrounding communities.
Also happening in district, Sen. Fowler met with McLeansboro Mayor Dick Deitz before heading to the Capitol. The two met for a discussion about issues in the community and ongoing projects in the area.
Sen. Fowler is also joining the rest of the 59th District to congratulate 11-year-old Mason Ramsey from Golconda, Illinois on his recent fame and performance at the Harrisburg Walmart. His yodeling took the internet by storm earlier this month, showcasing a true local talent. Mason performed at the Grand Ole Opry on April 14, fulfilling one of his life-long dreams.