State Representative Charlie Meier was a featured speaker at the Voice of Reason’s 2023 Annual Meeting held June 11. The Voice of Reason (VOR) is a national organization founded 40 years ago that is funded solely by dues and donations. Their mission statement is to advocate for high quality care and human rights for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. VOR is governed by a volunteer board of directors and receives no government support.
“I enjoyed meeting advocates for our developmentally disabled at the Voice of Reason annual meeting”, said Rep. Meier. “Their work helps improve the lives and well-being of our most vulnerable. I will continue to partner with VOR to advocate for the well-being of our intellectual and developmentally disabled residents. Their advocacy helps me help our most vulnerable in the legislature.”
Since taking office in 2013, Rep. Meier has focused on standing up for the rights and well-being of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Most notably, Meier has worked to ensure the safety and well-being of those individuals living in state-run or state-supported behavioral and mental health facilities and Community-Integrated Living Arrangements (CILAs) or oftentimes called group homes.
Rep. Meier, added, “I think everyone can agree that CILAs have their value, but they are not for everyone,” I won’t stop pushing for legislation to improve the safety and care for everyone residing in group homes, including state-operated developmental centers that many call their home.”
One of the consequences of the state’s decades-long financial problems has been the cutting of important services, or threats of such moves, to the developmentally disabled and their families. The Jacksonville Developmental Center was closed back in 2012 after 161 years of operation, impacting nearly 400 employees and shifting residents from a state-run facility group to CILAs. Meier had concerns on the well-being of the residents transferred from JDC, and the first bill he introduced as a state representative would have required tracking their progress and well-being.
Governor Pat Quinn continued his crusade to close more state-run facilities, with the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center in Clinton County facing possible closure. However, Meier continued working and was the chief sponsor on bills that required a vote of the legislature to affirm any additional facility closures.
Due to efforts made by the Murray Parents Association, Rep. Charlie Meier, former Rep. John Cavaletto, former Senator John O. Jones, and hundreds of friends and family of Murray Center never gave up the fight to keep the only state developmental center located in central and southern Illinois open.
Meier has continued his push for improving conditions and outcomes for members of the developmentally disabled communities, sponsoring numerous bills over the years. There have been stories of abuse and neglect over the years, and Meier has advocated for unannounced site visits to keep everyone honest and help keep people safe. Meier has also advocated for audits, staff training, ongoing education of staff and residents, improved incident reporting, support plans and penalties for wrongdoing and abuse. Meier noted that he is an advocate for Voice of Reason and all that the organization stands for.
State Representative Charlie Meier represents the 109th District which includes portions of Bond, Clinton, Madison, St. Clair, and Washington counties.
For more information, please visit CharlieMeier.net or contact Rep. Meier’s district office at 618-651-0405.