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School carbon monoxide detectors become law

manar lgdfSPRINGFIELD – Almost a year ago, a faulty exhaust pipe at North Mac Intermediate School in Girard sent 150 students and staff to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. Since last September, the school has installed carbon monoxide detectors, but at the time there were none.

Legislation requiring schools to install carbon monoxide detectors was signed into law Thursday. State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) sponsored the proposal.

“Last year, Girard could have faced an unimaginably horrific tragedy. We have an obligation to protect children while at school and ensure something like this can’t happen again,” Manar said.

The law will require schools to install detectors within 20 feet of equipment that produce carbon monoxide. School buildings without carbon monoxide sources would be exempt.

“We always look for lessons learned, and installing the detectors was a preventative measure that we needed to take to assure everyone that our schools are safe from this threat,” said North Mac Superintendent Marica Cullen.

A similar incident occurred last October at Harper High School in Chicago when the school was evacuated and nine students were hospitalized.

State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) sponsored the proposal in the House.

The legislation was negotiated with the Illinois Association of School Boards and the Illinois School Management Alliance, which represent the interests of school administration in Springfield.

California, Connecticut and Maryland have similar requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in school buildings.

The new law, House Bill 152, takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Senate votes to keep Illinois State Museum open

manar museums 8 7 15SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate voted Tuesday to require the Illinois State Museum system to stay open despite the ongoing budget impasse.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) sponsored the proposal to keep the Illinois State Museum open along with its branch sites: Dickson Mounds, Lockport Gallery, Southern Illinois Artisans Shop and Southern Illinois Art Gallery at Rend Lake and the Illinois Artisans Shop and Chicago Gallery.

“The Illinois State Museum brings the outside world to Illinois students, families and scientists. There are very real financial and social costs to closing the museum,” Manar said.

The proposal, Senate Bill 317, requires the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to keep the museums open by law.

“The strong outpouring of public support for the museum has been the main motivator behind this legislation. People across the state care deeply about this museum and the opportunities and services it provides,” Manar said.

The Senate approved the legislation Tuesday and now moves to the House for debate.

Manar votes to fund schools, help neediest students

manar-edfund-52915SPRINGFIELD—As central Illinois students celebrate the last days of the school year, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) voted for a $7 billion state education plan that would allow schools to open in August unless Gov. Bruce Rauner rejects the plan.

“This year we are able to not only provide an overall increase to education funding, but we’re also targeting an additional $85 million to help impoverished schools and students,” Manar said.

This year’s education spending plan represents a $295 million dollar increase of direct aid to schools: a $207 million dollar increase to General State Aid as well as an $85 million increase to school districts with high poverty and fewer available local resources.

“This is a less regressive, more need-based approach to school funding than the General Assembly has put forward in over a decade. We are taking steps in the right direction to make school funding fair and equitable for the students with the most need,” Manar said.

The Senate approved this increase Friday, which had been previously approved by the House. It requires the governor’s approval to fund school districts for the next school year.

This proposal is supported by a diverse group of education groups from across the state:

•    Faith Coalition for the Common
•    Advance Illinois
•    Aurora East School District 131
•    Calhoun Unified School District C4
•    Chicago Urban League
•    ED-Red
•    Galesburg School District 205
•    Granite City Community School District
•    Illinois Education Association
•    Instituto del Progreso del Latino
•    Large Unit District Association (LUDA)
•    LaSalle Elementary School District
•    Latino Policy Forum
•    Legislative Education Network of DuPage County (LEND)
•    LULAC of IL (League of United Latin American Citizens)
•    Monmouth-Roseville School District
•    North Chicago School District 187
•    North Mac District 34
•    Quad County Urban League
•    Rockford Public Schools 205
•    South Cooperative Organization for Public Education (SCOPE)
•    Stand for Children
•    Tri County Urban League
•    U-46
•    Waukegan School District 60

Senate votes down Rauner cuts, protects local government funding

manar-lgdfSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) voted Wednesday to support villages, cities and counties by voting down a 50 percent cut to their funding.

“These cuts would have devastated local governments and the communities they serve. From my time in local government I understand the challenges of running a city and county. The Governor’s proposed cut would have significantly reduced police protection, emergency services and caused hundreds of layoffs. Local government shouldn’t have to pay for the inability of state government to balance its budget,” Manar said.

A proposal introduced in Gov. Rauner’s budget included a roughly half-billion dollar cut to the state’s Local Government Distributive Fund that villages, cities and counties receive from state income taxes.

Local governments rely on this shared revenue for day-to-day operations, maintenance, employee salaries and to offset local property taxes.

manar-lgdf-chartCommunities use LGDF money to finance emergency 911 services, police departments, public utilities and other essential services.

The proposal was rejected by the Senate on a 0-39 vote with no republican support. It would have reduced each local government’s funding by 50 percent. Because many rural, downstate communities rely on LGDF to fund large portions these services, they are disproportionality impacted by these cuts.

A list detailing the proposed cuts to communities in the 48th Senate District is attached.

Sen. Andy Manar


48th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Higher Education; Committee of the Whole; Executive Appointments (Vice-Chairperson); Education; Labor.

Biography: Born November 15, 1975, in Bunker Hill; B.A. in History, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; past chairman of Macoupin County Board; married (wife, Trista), has three children.