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Manar seeks formal audit of response to veterans home deaths

manar 021518SPRINGFIELD – Senator Andy Manar and state lawmakers are pressing for an audit of the Rauner administration’s handling of a deadly disease outbreak at the state-run veterans home in Quincy.

The administration has been reluctant to voluntarily produce documents and other information requested by lawmakers that would shed light on the response to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed 13 people at the Illinois Veterans Home since 2015.

The materials could help guide the General Assembly in setting policy and passing laws to protect veterans and employees at the facility and other state buildings where the Legionella bacteria has been detected.

“By refusing to be cooperative with lawmakers, the Rauner administration has left us with no choice but to seek an audit that will produce the kind of information we need,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and chairman of the Senate Appropriations II Committee.

“Our job is to protect our constituents and to act in the best interest of the people of Illinois. Until we can properly assess how this crisis developed and how it was handled, we won’t know what we can do to help prevent more deadly outbreaks in the future.”

Manar is chief co-sponsor of Senate Resolution 1186, which was adopted by the Senate Thursday.

The resolution asks that the audit focus on the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs’ management of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks and that it include:

  • The department’s responses in 2015, 2016 and 2017, including recommendations made in a 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and the department’s actions to address the recommendations.
  • The type, cost and timing of any infrastructure or building improvements that could contain the spread of Legionnaires’ or prevent it from reoccurring.
  • Changes made by the department to its operating protocols and staff training to prevent the spread of Legionnaires’.
  • The nature and extent of monitoring conducted by the department to determine if the changes put in place are effective and ensure the safety of residents and staff.
  • The amount of state money received or expended during fiscal years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 for infrastructure improvements, monitoring and other measures to address the outbreaks.
  • Information about whether the veterans home has been the subject of any legal or compliance reviews since 2015 regarding the care of residents and the results of those reviews.

Three new cases of Legionnaires’ disease were confirmed at the Quincy veterans home this week. No additional fatalities were reported.

In addition, officials confirmed this week that a patient at the Chester Mental Health Center in southern Illinois has tested positive for Legionnaires’.

And earlier this month, state employees were notified that Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, was detected at the Illinois Capitol Complex in Springfield.

Manar calls on State Board of Education to finalize school funding details

manar 031617State Senator Andy Manar is urging state education officials to submit a plan to disseminate the $350 million in additional state funding that was promised when a new school funding formula was signed into law Aug. 31.

During a hearing Tuesday, members of the Senate’s Education Committee discussed the nearly 20 changes that the Illinois State Board of Education has suggested should be made to the new school funding formula.

Manar: Override vote helps put school funding back on track

Manar 013118 sb444SPRINGFIELD – Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s erroneous veto of Senate Bill 444:

"The Senate's override vote helps to correct a poor governing decision that so far has delayed execution of the new school funding formula by nearly three months. I look forward to the House taking the same course of action so that we can put this sorry situation behind us and allow the Illinois State Board of Education to move forward with its work. Schools and communities all over the state are anxious for this to be ironed out once and for all."

Manar announces library grants to local school districts

school library grants 0118BUNKER HILL – Seventeen local school districts will receive more than $22,000 in grants through the Illinois secretary of state’s School Library Grant program, Senator Andy Manar announced today.

The grants, which are issued by the Illinois State Library, are meant to help public schools offer more library books and materials to students.

“I am pleased that so many deserving central Illinois schools will benefit from this year’s library grants,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “This support will go a long way toward helping school libraries offer new and updated materials as children hone their reading skills and discover the thrill of picking up a great book.”

Sen. Andy Manar

manar2014hs

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.