Capitol Update 3-3-23

I hope you got a chance to enjoy some of the beautiful weather we had mid-week while I was in Springfield at the Capitol. This week I was pleased to be joined by my sister, Marilee Roethemeyer, and brother-in-law who visited the Capitol. My sister was also able to bless us with the singing of the Lord’s Prayer in the House Chamber before the Illinois house began our day of work on Tuesday. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as our family and neighbors have enjoyed her beautiful singing for years. You may watch it here.

Legislative Update:

This week, the Illinois House and Senate met in Springfield Tuesday through Thursday with full committee schedules. I participated in committee hearings this week for the Appropriations Committee covering Health & Human Services, as well as the Human Services Committee. In the next ten days, our legislative committees will be voting on hundreds of bills. As I mentioned last week, if there are issues that are important to you, bills that would negatively impact you, or bills you would like me to sign on to as a co-sponsor, please let me know.

You can find a list of the current bills I have introduced here.

As we continue to consider bills before our committees, I have been laser-focused on our residents and their families in Illinois who depend on places like Murray Developmental Center and Choate Developmental Center. Last week, colleagues and I held a press conference highlighting our plan to reform Choate Developmental Center and keep it open. Below, I will give you some highlights from that news conference last week and more details on our work to come.

Calling for Reforms at Choate Developmental Center

Following our press conference last week, where we outlined a plan to protect the residents at Choate Developmental Center, I wanted to share a couple of the news articles covering the issue.

Chicago Tribune: GOP lawmakers make proposals for Choate while decrying Pritzker’s handling of troubled downstate mental health center

“Decrying Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration’s response to the systemic mistreatment of residents of a downstate mental health center, GOP lawmakers on Thursday laid out a plan to address the long-standing issues.

The proposal from House and Senate Republicans for the Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna offers fixes that range from additional surveillance cameras to additional employees who are better trained to work with the mentally and developmentally disabled residents of the facility.

‘These are the families’ loved ones. We need to fix it. This is a plan. Is it the perfect plan? No. But it’s a plan and it’s a start. And it’s more than we’ve had from this administration,’ state Rep. Charles Meier, of Okawville, said during a news conference at the Illinois State Capitol.”

You can read the full article here:

The Telegraph: GOP lawmakers want hearings in wake of abuse at Choate

Late last week, the members sent a letter to key Democratic committee chairs in the Illinois House and Senate asking them to schedule a bicameral public hearing on the facility…

In addition to the request for a hearing, the lawmakers outlined a series of steps they’d like to see immediately implemented to improve conditions. Those include the installation of cameras in common interior areas, the appointment of a new director or assistant director with expertise in turning around troubled facilities and the hiring of at least 50 new front-line and health care workers at Choate. Currently, the facility employs around 500 and has approximately 80 vacancies.

Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, whose southern Illinois district includes the state-run Murray Developmental Center, has also introduced legislation that would allow authorities to report negative findings against workers who help cover up abuse to a statewide registry, barring them from working in a health care setting in the future. Peter Neumer, the IDHS inspector general, called for this change in law last month after the news organizations reported on three Choate workers who were fired for similar misconduct — but who remain eligible to work with vulnerable populations in other health care settings. Meier also introduced legislation mandating that OIG investigations be completed within 30 days, allowing IDHS to fire employees found culpable of abuse or neglect.”

You can read the full article here:

This week I am continuing to work across the aisle to pursue the changes we proposed in this press conference. The residents of Choate and their families deserve better than the current environment, but they also deserve a place to live. We must stand up for their home at Choate and also dedicate ourselves to making it the best place possible for them to live.

Farmland Assessment Meeting

This month, I will be co-hosting a farmland assessment meeting on March 13th. As farmers continue to see increases in the assessed value of their farmland, farmers may have many questions about the assessment process. I want to encourage farmers to please join me at this important informational meeting to learn more about how the property tax assessment is conducted for farmland. The property tax assessment on farmland can be complicated, it’s very useful to make sure you get a fair assessment and understand the farmland assessment process.

Meeting Details:

When: Monday, March 13th at 6:00pm

Where: Greenville SMART Center, 3rd Floor, 102 2nd Street, Greenville, IL

Space is limited, please RSVP at 618-664-3100 to reserve your spot. Refreshments will be provided.

This Week on the Farm:

New calves are being born on the farm and they are enjoying this warmer weather.

The Week Ahead:

 Next week, the Illinois House is scheduled for legislative session Tuesday, March 7th through Friday, March 10th.

  • Next week, I have 19 bills scheduled to come before 10 different House Committees so I will be busy running between committee rooms to work with those committees to pass my legislative proposals.
  • I try to make it to as many local events as I can. If you have an event coming up in your community that you’d like for me to attend, please let my office in Highland know: 618-651-0405.

Stay Up To Date:

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