HARRISBURG – State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) returned to the Capitol to take part in another week of session, pushing legislation recognizing the importance of helping our veterans, taking part in a memorial ceremony honoring Illinois’ firefighters and reminding FOID card holders to check the expiration date of their card.
Sen. Fowler is sponsoring legislation that would designate Nov. 4 as the GI Bill of Rights Day, recognizing the legislation that provided benefits to World War II veterans. The landmark legislation, officially known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, was created to provide veterans opportunities and benefits after returning from war, including college tuition, unemployment benefits, loan options and medical care.
“Our veterans give so much of themselves, sacrificing their safety and their comfort for the protection of our country. They deserve our gratitude and our support,” said Sen. Fowler. “The GI Bill of Rights established a precedent that our nation would support those who dedicate their lives to the service of their country. I’m hopeful that this legislation not only acknowledges the importance of the GI Bill of Rights, but also serves as the basis for future legislation that extends benefits for our veterans.”
House Bill 4954 passed out of the Senate Veterans Affairs committee on May 9 and will now continue to the Senate for further consideration.
On May 8, Sen. Fowler joined firefighters and their families from around the state who traveled to Springfield to participate in the 25th Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighting Medal of Honor Ceremony. The ceremony takes place every year in May and honors those who have made the supreme sacrifice, and those who have demonstrated extraordinary acts of bravery and heroism to protect fellow firefighters and civilians.
The Illinois Firefighter Memorial, which sits on the Capitol’s southwest lawn, lists the names of those who have given their lives in the line of duty. This year, two names were added: John “Mike” Cummins of the Homer Fire Protection District and Lawrence Matthews of the Village of Dolton Fire Department.
In other news, Sen. Fowler announced that he will represent the 59th Senate District as an Edgar Fellow in this year’s 2018 class. The Edgar Fellowship is a leadership training program created to bring together leaders in the community to explore, share and learn about leadership and governing in Illinois. Those selected will participate in a five-day program at the University of Illinois, exploring and discussing ways to address major policy issues cooperatively and effectively.
“It is truly an honor to have been selected for this fellowship and for the chance to represent the 59th Senate District in this program,” said Sen. Fowler. “This is a great opportunity to hear from individuals who are actively working to better their communities and get their perspectives and experiences. It is a privilege for me to serve my district and I’m excited for this learning opportunity on public service and leadership.”
Sen. Fowler is reminding FOID card holders that the first wave of the 10-year FOID cards are set to expire this summer and, as the Illinois State Police (ISP) are anticipating a significant backlog of renewal applications, urges interested Illinois firearm owners to consider filing paperwork early to renew their FOID cards.
More than 50,000 FOID cards are expiring between June 1 and Aug. 1. To allow for sufficient time to process the paperwork and issue a new card before it expires, ISP recommends gun owners submit their renewal applications at least one to two months in advance.
Illinois State Police has already sent renewal notices to those whose cards will expire June 1. Applicants can visit the ISP’s Firearms Services Bureau website at ispfsb.com to renew online, or call ISP at 217-782-7980. The cost of the card is $10.
Visitors to the Capitol
While in session last week, a number of visitors from the 59th Senate District made the trip to the Capitol.
Sen. Fowler welcomed his Veterans Day essay contest winners as “Pages for the Day” in the Senate. Sarah Flick, a student from Vienna, and Will Smiley, a student from Lick Creek, submitted essays on the history of Veterans Day and why it is importance to celebrate the day each year. Both students and their mothers visited the Capitol, joined Sen. Fowler on the Senate floor and experienced the legislative process firsthand.
Also visiting the Capitol last week were students from Harrisburg High School who participated in the TECH 2018 event at the Capitol. The annual event brings students from across the state together to showcase their technology projects and bring awareness to the role technology plays in learning. The high school students presented their project on using technology in the classroom to teach kids how to research genealogy.
In honor of Nurse’s Week, Sen. Fowler welcomed Yvette King, Christine Williams, Penny Huff, Megan Powell-Hill, Deanna Herzog and Janice Waddell to the Capitol. The group, who work at Parkway Manor in Marion, joined the Senator on the Senate floor, toured the Capitol and watched Senate action from the Senate gallery.