A communication from State Senator Karen McConnaughay:
As I returned to the district this week, I have not only been able to catch up on local issues but it’s given me some time to reflect on the status of budget negotiations.
I believe many lawmakers share my desire to make things better for the people of our state—we just have very different ideologies and ideas about how to move Illinois forward. In recent weeks, my Senate Republican colleagues have offered alternative budget templates, pension reform proposals and education funding reform legislation, adding to the numerous reform measures we’ve introduced to change the way the state does business. We have ideas and we are willing to compromise with our colleague across the aisle.
However, one thing we have been very clear about is that we will not discuss any new revenues without accompanying structural changes that will not only give Illinois residents and employers some much needed financial relief, but establish the economic stability and fiscal predictability that businesses rely on.
Senator McConnaughay discusses common sense changes to fix Illinois in a press conference. Senator McConnaughay with the art winners at the exhibit in the Capitol rotunda. Senator McConnaughay on the Senate floor with the art winners and their family members.
As we continue to search for common ground, I believe that any budget plan must be balanced, it must prioritize cuts to state spending and bureaucratic waste, and it must be accompanied by common sense reforms.
One reform that I have spent significant time working on is changing the way we fund education in Illinois. As a member of the School Funding Reform Commission created by the Governor, I joined with my colleagues to issue recommendations to make our school funding system more equitable, by transitioning to an evidence-based school funding formula. This week my colleague, Senator Jason Barickman, announced plans to introduce legislation that reflects the Commission’s recommendations.
I look forward to reviewing this legislation, particularly one important component that would provide substantial mandate relief to school districts. Schools in the 33rd district would benefit tremendously if they were given management tools that would allow them to make decisions at the local level to reduce spending. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues as we try and identify ways to fix our broken school funding system in Illinois to ensure every child within our state receives the quality education they deserve.
I’ve said it many times—property tax relief is critical to reduce the crushing burden on employers and homeowners. Pension reform is necessary to reduce the state’s long-term obligations and free up financial resources for other priorities. Action is needed to eliminate red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy that not only drives jobs out and residents out of Illinois, but discourages new investments in our state.
These are just some of the changes we need to make if we are to establish a more prosperous Illinois.
As you probably know, education is a huge priority of mine. I specifically believe art education is an important part of children’s academic growth and personal development. Every student should have a chance to develop art skills and explore their creative side. Studies confirm that broadening our students’ educational horizons through art will only benefit them in their future endeavors.
This is why I was so excited to once again host a group of students from my district for my annual Art Education Day at the Capitol event. Student winners of my annual art contest traveled to Springfield with family members, where they toured the Capitol, were acknowledged by the Illinois Senate, and were recognized with certificates in front of their art exhibit in the Capitol rotunda. I hope they all enjoyed the experience—it certainly was a highlight of my week!
You should always feel welcome to contact my office if you have concerns or questions. Please feel free to send questions my way at [email protected]. If you haven’t done so already, for more state and local updates I encourage you to sign-up for my email newsletter.
As always, for more detailed information you can visit my website http://www.senatormcconnaughay.com/.
State Senator 33rd District
Senator McConnaughay Creates Instagram Account
With social media playing a larger role in reaching out to constituents, Senator McConnaughay has created a new Instagram account to connect more with residents and for them to see for themselves Senator McConnaughay’s involvement at the Capitol. You can add Senator McConnaughay by searching her name on the social media application or by searching the handle “@karenmcconnaughay” on Instagram.
Fire Strikes Home in St. Charles
This past week, neighbors noticed a house on fire during the night and notified the authorities. All the meanwhile, an off-duty volunteer Geneva firefighter risked his life to save the residents. All those involved made it out with their lives. Read more
“It’s so great to be part of a community that looks out for one another,” said Senator McConnaughay about the incident. “I am happy to see that the residents escaped thanks to a neighbor, and my wishes on a speedy recovery to the person injured while alerting the residents of the fire in their home. I’m also glad for the brave firefighters of the St. Charles Fire Department along with assistance from the Geneva, Batavia, Elburn, Countryside, and West Chicago fire departments in bringing the fire under control.”
Students Attend Senator McConnaughay’s Youth Advisory Council
Last week, Senator McConnaughay hosted high school students from her district to attend her Youth Advisory Council. The day was captured on video as the students went on the Senator floor, toured the Capitol, and participated in a mock committee hearing. Watch here
New ‘Getting Around Illinois’ Website to Help Travelers
The Illinois Department of Transportation has released a resigned website for “Getting Around Illinois,” which is meant to assist drivers who are traveling throughout the state. The new website is mobile-friendly and is to provide the most updated, convenient information to the motoring public. Read more
McConnaughay Recognizes Refuge for Women as “Human Trafficking Hero”
This week, Senator McConnaughay recognizes Refuge for Women as a “Human Trafficking Hero.” The Refuge for Women organization assists women who have been victims of human trafficking to make sure they recover and heal from the immensely traumatic experience. Read more
“Refuge for Women has one of the most comprehensive programs throughout the state to help survivors of human trafficking,” said Senator McConnaughay. “The comprehensive and compassionate assistance they provide for survivors is overwhelming. The level of service they provide underscores their dedication to truly helping people who have been hurt by sexual exploitation.”
Senator McConnaughay joins Governor Rauner and Representative Demmer for Facebook Live
Senator McConnaughay, along with Governor Rauner and Representative Demmer, took questions from the public on the Facebook Live platform. Senator McConnaughay answered questions on the topics of the budget, education, property taxes, and more. Watch here