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Manar: Taylorville hospital to receive expedited payment after tornado

manar 120418TAYLORVILLE – The Illinois comptroller is expediting a state payment of $221,594 to Taylorville Memorial Hospital after the city was struck by a tornado during the weekend, State Senator Andy Manar announced today.

Christian County was declared a state disaster area Monday after severe storms and tornadoes tore across central Illinois. Numerous people were injured and hundreds of structures were damaged or destroyed.

“Expediting this payment is the right thing to do for the people of Taylorville, and I appreciate the comptroller prioritizing the community’s needs,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat whose district includes Christian County.

The money, which was owed by the state to Taylorville Memorial, was processed Monday, according to the comptroller’s office.

“Our hearts go out to those recovering and rebuilding after the severe storms,” said Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

Residents who are experiencing immediate problems or challenges as a result of Saturday’s severe storms may call Manar’s district office in Bunker Hill at 618-585-4848.

Grants available to close downstate school broadband gap

manar 030218SPRINGFIELD – More than $16 million in state funds are available for rural and downstate schools to expand internet access and close the broadband gap, State Senator Andy Manar announced today.

The Illinois State Board of Education is accepting proposals from school districts that need to expand high-speed broadband and Wi-Fi access in classrooms. Manar (D-Bunker Hill), chairman of one of the Senate’s two budget committees, ensured money was included in the current state budget to help rural school districts access broadband internet so they can offer a 21st century education to students. The effort had bipartisan support.

“Schools can no longer get by without high-speed internet and digital resources in classrooms,” Manar said. “Students in many rural and downstate areas of Illinois are at a disadvantage because of the lack of reliable high-speed internet in classrooms and at home.”

Applications for funding are available at www.isbe.net/broadband. They are due by 4 p.m. Jan. 25. The Learning Technology Center of Illinois www.ltcillinois.org is offering free assistance to school districts to help with their applications.

In Illinois, 77 school districts need fiber connections, and 31 need bandwidth upgrades, according to Education Superhighway, an organization that advocates for increased connectivity in schools.

The organization reports that more than 650,000 students in Illinois have gained access to high-speed internet since 2015 and that 96 percent of school districts have access to broadband now, up from 71 percent in 2015.

However, more than 400,000 Illinois students remain at a disadvantage when it comes to digital learning.

Fiber optic technology offers fast, affordable network speeds and allows school districts to cost-effectively scale up to meet growing bandwidth needs. The $16.3 million in available state funding will cover the costs of special construction projects for school districts with federal approval to install fiber optic cable lines.

To find out which area school districts are in need of upgrades, visit https://www.compareandconnectk12.org/.

Manar named chairman of education transition committee

manar 112718SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar today was named co-chairman of the education transition committee for governor-elect JB Pritzker, further guaranteeing the needs of downstate Illinois are relayed to the incoming administration.

The 35-member Educational Success Committee is the seventh of several working groups of the transition made up of experts who will advise the new administration.

“Educating our children is a foundational obligation of state government, and that’s why I led the charge to update our antiquated K-12 school funding formula to make it equitable for every child,” said Manar (D-Bunker Hill). 

Manar helps reverse veto of Lyme disease measure

manar lyme 111518SPRINGFIELD – Illinois physicians will not face discipline for recommendations they make to aggressively treat Lyme disease under a new law supported by State Senator Andy Manar.

The Illinois Senate on Thursday voted to override the governor’s veto of a bipartisan plan that permits Lyme disease sufferers to receive extended regimens of antibiotics under a physician’s care.

The plan clears the way for doctors to prescribe more aggressive treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses than are currently accepted under industry standards without facing disciplinary action by the state.

“Numerous people in my Senate district suffer from the life-altering effects of Lyme, and I believe this plan is a step in the right direction as we learn more about how to successfully treat the disease,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat who co-sponsored the measure in the Senate.

House Bill 4515 creates the Lauryn Russell Lyme Disease Prevention Act. It requires state officials to form a Lyme disease prevention and outreach program and establish a 12-member Lyme disease task force.

The bill passed in the spring with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly, but Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it in August. This week lawmakers voted to override the governor – 110-0 in the House and 48-0 in the Senate.

There were 237 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Illinois in 2016, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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.