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Senate overrides veto of Manar measure to address shortage of substitute teachers

manar 052517SPRINGFIELD – Active substitute teachers will be able to seek a refund of the $50 fee they’re required to pay when they apply for a state license under a new law sponsored by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

“This is an example of what we can do to ease up on the government bureaucracy that’s got a stranglehold on the teaching profession in Illinois,” said Manar, a member of the Senate Education Committee. “We have empty classrooms because of a statewide teacher shortage, a rapidly shrinking pool of substitutes and students who are suffering as a result. Curbing fees and eliminating unnecessary red tape will help address some of these problems.”

Manar announces $28,455 grant to University of Illinois Springfield

manar 052517 rSPRINGFIELD – A state grant to the University of Illinois Springfield will help provide special radios to visually impaired residents over which they can listen to local news, books and magazines read by volunteers, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) announced today.

The university was awarded a $28,455 Radio Information Service grant from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Blind and Physically Handicapped Services program.

The grant specifically supports the broadcast of local news and information typically not heard on regular news broadcasts for the general public. For example, volunteers actually read specific sections of local newspapers during the daily broadcasts.

“This is an outstanding program that enables blind and visually impaired people to stay connected to their communities through timely access to their local newspapers and other materials,” Manar said. “A vast number of Americans enjoy reading for pleasure, stress relief and to stimulate the mind, and I’m proud that we can continue to make it available locally to those who rely on this service.”

About 295,000 Illinoisans have a vision disability and could be eligible for a special receiver to listen to broadcasts through the Blind and Physically Handicapped Services program. Radio stations around the state broadcast daily news, often read by volunteers, which only can be heard by obtaining one of the free special-frequency radios. Some people currently can access the services through a password-protected Internet web stream.

Visit the grant’s website for more information.

‘Conor’s Law’ enacted to protect young DUI offenders in Illinois

manar 092617 2CARLINVILLE – Police in Illinois would have to make a reasonable attempt to find a responsible adult to take custody of anyone under the age of 21 who has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs under a new law that was prompted by the 2015 death of a college student from Staunton.

The law, signed Tuesday afternoon at Blackburn College in Carlinville, is called Conor’s Law after Conor Vesper, a 20-year-old Blackburn student from Staunton who died May 23, 2015, following a series of tragic events including his arrest for DUI, followed by his release from the police station alone after he paid a fine, a subsequent car chase with police from multiple agencies and a fatal self-inflicted gunshot.

Veterans with PTSD now eligible for service dogs under new law sponsored by Manar

manar vet servicedog 082517SPRINGFIELD – Illinois military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression will be eligible for service dogs through a special program under legislation sponsored by Senator Andy Manar that was signed into law Friday.

“Service dogs often can offer companionship, stress-relief and motivation to veterans with PTSD or depression that friends and family may not be able to provide,” Manar said. “I am pleased that these veterans now are on the list of people in Illinois who can take advantage of the Helping Paws Service Dog Program and lead more fulfilling lives.”

Sen. Andy Manar

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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.