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Senate clears way for Illinois to proceed with delayed school funding model

manar 031418Manar urges governor to sign measure promptly

SPRINGFIELD – The state will be able to distribute eagerly awaited funding under Illinois’ new education formula as soon as April under legislation approved by the Senate – as long as the governor chooses to act quickly when it reaches his desk.

The measure, approved Wednesday, is a trailer bill to Illinois’ historic 550-page school funding reform law. It was requested by state education officials who said clarifications and corrections were needed to the original language before they could ensure money would be distributed as intended under the new funding model.

Rural hospitals protected from financial distress under bipartisan deal

manar 030218Plan guarantees continued health care, employment in central Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The six critical access hospitals that serve Macoupin, Montgomery and Christian counties will not experience an interruption in vital federal funds under a bipartisan deal that was reached in Springfield.

The deal, signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner Monday in Chicago, is the framework for modernizing Illinois’ $3.5 billion Medicaid Hospital Assessment Program. The federal government must sign off on the state’s proposal. The deadline is June 30.

Manar resolution acknowledges Illinois’ 20,000 social workers

manar 030218Declares March 2018 Social Work Month in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – As Illinois grapples with how to address such pressing challenges as violence, addiction, poverty and equal rights, an army of social workers is there to offer help and guidance.

In fact, more than 20,000 licensed social workers are employed throughout Illinois to help people in times of crisis. They work in school districts, colleges and universities, state and local government, social service agencies, the military, health care and mental health organizations and private practices.

Senate Resolution 1371, sponsored by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), declares March 2018 Social Work Month in Illinois. It was adopted by the Senate Thursday.

“This resolution recognizes the accomplishments of social workers who are in our school districts, in our government buildings and working in private employment every day,” Manar said.

“They are there to help children and adults on their worst days – to cope with grief and uncertainty, to overcome abuse and addiction, to recover from a disaster when all seems lost, and to gather the courage to face down discrimination and bullying.”

This year’s Social Work Month theme is “Social Workers” Leaders. Advocates. Champions.” According to the National Association of Social Workers, the profession is expected to grow faster than average during the next seven years, with more than 649,000 people employed as social workers by 2024.

Social workers are the largest group of providers of mental health services in Illinois, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the largest employers of social workers holding advanced degrees.

Mary Garrison, professor of social work at Millikin University in Decatur, said NASW is honored to have Manar sponsor a resolution for Social Work Month 2018.

“This year's theme supports the efforts of Illinois’s 20,000 licensed social workers and Senator Manar to work actively to meet the needs of those facing barriers of injustice and impacted by abuse, neglect, poverty, addiction and mental illness,” she said. “Illinois social workers thank Senator Manar for recognizing our professional efforts to ensure rights for all through engagement, intervention and advocacy.”

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.

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.