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The Majority Report 05/01/17 - Let's Teach the Governor a Lesson


McGuire advocates for higher education funding

Sen. Pat McGuireSenator Pat McGuire, a Joliet Democrat, said on Wednesday that a generation of students are being harmed by Governor Rauner's lack of a clear plan for higher education in Illinois.

"In the absence of any plan from the Rauner administration for how to stabilize and strengthen our state's higher education system, I fear we're creating a two-class higher education system in Illinois where those who can afford it will be able to earn college degrees, but those who can't afford it are out of luck," McGuire said.

McGuire's comments came after presidents from five state universities testified in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing about their attempts to triage staff and programs in preparation for possible reduction or elimination.

McGuire joined student activists as they rallied at the Capitol to call for funding for higher education.

"I have become an attentive student of Governor Bruce Rauner. In his State of the State address, he said ‘Job creators get excited by term limits.' You know that's not true. Job creators get excited by a well-trained, well-educated workforce," said McGuire. "I'm convinced the governor does not know our lives from a hill of beans. The real Illinois is not people like himself, worth $700 million. It's people trying to get by on $8.25 an hour. People who need Monetary Award Program grants to continue their education."


Women march on Springfield

Senate President John Cullerton

A growing worldwide movement brought hundreds of women, men and children to the steps of the Capitol last week.

The Women's March on Springfield held a rally at noon before marching around the Capitol and lobbying for dozens of progressive proposals being considered in the House and Senate.

Senate President John Cullerton was among several Senate Democrats who spoke at the rally. He said the Senate is willing to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's promised veto of legal abortion protections in Illinois.

"I can't speak for everyone at the Capitol. But I can speak for the Illinois Senate," said Cullerton, Chicago. "And let me tell you, we hear you. You want equality? So do I."

Cullerton also called for a budget that includes funding for childcare, breast cancer screenings and domestic violence shelters.

"What's happening in our communities is a tragedy, and it needs to end now," Cullerton said. "Let's stop the political theatrics and get a budget. Too many people have already been hurt."

"Today we recognize that although we've come a long way, there is still so much more work to do," said Senator Mattie Hunter, Chicago. "As we embark on this movement for justice, we must work harder to make people aware that racial bias and gender bias must not be tolerated."

Senator Don Harmon, Oak Park, expressed frustration that the march should remain necessary in 2017.

"This is not a march we should have to have. You shouldn't have to come down here to demand your rights," Harmon said. "I don't understand how so many forget that more than half of the people we represent are women."

See video of the Senators' remarks HERE.


Lightford aims to stop Pre-K expulsions

Sen. Kimberly A. LightfordPublic preschool students are over 300 percent more likely to be expelled than children in kindergarten through 12th grades, according to a report by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois.
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford of Maywood joined law enforcement officials and colleagues from both chambers in support of a proposal to fix this problem.
"Disrupting academics is the last thing we should do," Lightford said. "Children's time in the classroom is vital, and we need to make sure we are connecting children with the right support. Expulsion should always be a last resort, not the first option."
House Bill 2663 would prohibit the expulsion of children from early childhood programs receiving state education monies and require programs to document steps taken to fix behavioral problems and allow children to remain enrolled.
The measure will be heard in the Senate Education Committee in the coming weeks.


In case you missed it

Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: Why Illinois dentists want this law enacted (Crain's Chicago Business)

Senator William Haine, Alton: Metro East schools illustrate need for more funding (Illinois Public Radio)

Senator Don Harmon, Oak Park: Illinois gun dealer licensing bill passes Senate (WAND)

Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Rauner will rescind prison nurse layoff notices (State Journal-Register)

Senator Steve Stadelman, Rockford: Bill allowing abuse victims to keep phone service passes the Senate (WAND)


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