SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Andy Manar’s (D-Bunker Hill) plan to halt the proliferation of bath salts being sold by Illinois retailers passed through the Illinois Senate on Thursday.
Bath salts, specifically known as synthetic cathinones, can be consumed in multiple different ways by the user, and can mimic the effect of amphetamine or PCP and often times causes hallucinations.
“There has been a disturbing trend of abuse of these synthetic drugs over the past few years in Illinois and most notably in rural parts of the state,” Manar said. “This plan would help authorities stop the spread of bath salts by closing stores that knowingly sell these extremely dangerous and volatile drugs.”
Senate Bill 210 would create the Bath Salts Prohibition Act and ban retailers in Illinois from selling synthetic cathinones that are commonly sold under disguise and labeled as bath salts, plant food or jewelry cleaner.
Under the proposal, a retailer that is convicted of selling bath salts can have its retail license revoked, and guilty offenders can be charged with a Class 3 felony.
Mike Havera, the Christian County state’s attorney, testified in support of the bill before a Senate committee on April 13.
“It’s a different type of drug based on the commercial marketing of the drug targeting youth and targeting the ignorant or uneducated public, trying to market it as something that is not illegal.
“With my four years as public defender, I didn’t have any armed robbery cases. In less than four years as the Christian County States Attorney we’ve had 10 armed robberies and six of those attributable to bath salts. So we’re also seeing a violent nature…we’re seeing violent crimes quite often.”
Senate Bill 210 passed by a 53-0 vote and now moves to the House for consideration.
Spending more won’t fix inequity
SPRINGFIELD – Students and taxpayers in Paxton-Buckley-Loda CUSD 10 are being disadvantaged under Illinois’ antiquated system for funding education. The current education formula funnels money to largely wealthy districts that have the resources to spend as much as $30,000 per student. Recent data suggests that Paxton-Buckely-Loda CUSD 10 spends roughly a third of that per student, about $9,696. Reforming the state’s education funding formula could send more state money to Paxton-Buckley-Loda.
Unfortunately, Governor Bruce Rauner is pushing to put more tax dollars into the system that shortchanges Paxton-Buckley-Loda. He toured the high school Thursday.
State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) appreciates the governor’s commitment to improving education, but is trying to win support for a modern school funding system that better recognizes the needs of schools like Paxton-Buckley-Loda.
“Increasing our investment in education alone will not get to the heart of the inequity between Illinois’ school districts,” Manar said. “It’s disheartening to hear the governor tell students, teachers and parents all over the state in struggling school districts that he will fix the problem, while he refuses to commit to implementing a more equitable funding formula.”
Manar is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1, a complete overhaul of the state’s school funding system that prioritizes funding for school districts like Paxton-Buckley-Loda, based on the needs of its students. Under the reform plan, Paxton-Buckley-Loda could see an additional $237,000 in annual state aid, or about $170 more per student. Manar notes that this pending legislation would not require more spending, as the governor has proposed, at the state level.
“I have advised the governor that he is making the same mistakes as his predecessors. He thinks we can spend our way out of this problem,” said Manar. “We spend $12 billion today on schools, and we have the least equitable system in America. We can spend that $12 billion better to drive better results and bridge the inequity gap.”
The new proposed funding formula takes student need into account, by providing more money to districts serving higher numbers of low income, special needs or English learning students. According to recent data, 49 percent of Paxton-Buckley-Loda students are low income, close to the state average.
Roughly 16 percent of students in the district have disabilities, higher than the state average of 14 percent.
SPRINGFIELD—With the deadline fast approaching for the governor to act, state Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) urged Gov. Bruce Rauner to recognize the importance of the State Museum in Springfield –and its four branch sites— by signing a proposal that would re-open the institutions.
“The State Museum is a valuable educational, cultural and economic resource for the people of Illinois,” Manar said. “Keeping the museums open has widespread, bipartisan support. Unfortunately, so far, the governor is sticking with his decision to lock out the public. I’m hoping there’s still time to convince him to open the doors and restore access to these terrific public resources.”
Last October, Gov. Rauner shuttered the five State Museums under the guise of budget cuts and cost savings. However, the collections and displays all remain in place and employees remain on state payroll and report to their jobs in the locked museums.
Manar sponsored Senate Bill 317 to ensure that the Department of Natural Resources keeps the State Museums open to the public. The General Assembly approved the plan late last year and the Senate sent it to the governor’s desk on Dec. 9.
Under the state constitution, Gov. Rauner has until Sunday, Feb. 7 to act on the museum legislation.
Manar optimistic for change this year
VIRDEN – A broken school funding system is cheating North Mac students out of educational resources and opportunities and needs to be changed, state Senator Andy Manar told a crowd Monday that turned out for a town hall meeting hosted by the North Mac School Board.
“Right now the state is failing our students,” Manar said. “We need a complete overhaul to bring funding and resources to schools and students who need them.”
Manar, who’s leading efforts in the General Assembly to modernize how the state funds schools, outlined what a new system should look like. The guiding principle, he said, is that funding should target students and schools who need it the most for instance, those serving high numbers of low-income students, students with special needs and other key education and cost factors.
Local officials joined Manar in calling for sweeping changes to the outdated system now in place.
“The North Mac Schools have been hit hard financially by the inequitable education funding formula and recent state cuts. We’ve been forced to cut 38 staff and teaching positions and increase class sizes. We’ve also delayed educational improvements and building renovations to ensure the financial survival of the district,” said North Mac School Board President Robyn Hays.
Manar is hopeful that a new education funding system, one that would recognize North Mac’s educational and financial needs, will be approved this year in Springfield.
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.