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State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) opposed the last minute political games played with the school funding formula bill that would bail out Chicago schools by $500 million. Senate Bill 1 had been a bi-partisan effort to bring fairness to the funding formula and bringing relief to property tax payers, but at the last minute was amended to help Chicago Schools more at the expense of Central and southern Illinois schools. It narrowly passed with 60 yes votes and heads to the governor where it is anticipated he will veto the bill.

“It is amazing how blatant the games are to benefit one school district over the rest of our schools and students,” declared Rep. Brad Halbrook. “There was a good faith, bi-partisan effort to bring fairness to the school funding formula and bring relief to taxpayers, but that was lost at the last minutes of the regularly scheduled session. I could not in good conscience vote for SB 1 in its final form that short-changed our students here in central Illinois,” Halbrook added.

The legislature has debated the issue of school funding reform for a number of years, including this past legislative session. Many believe that we need a more equitable school funding formula in Illinois that lessens our reliance on local property taxes while providing that the State make education a higher priority. Right now, Illinois only provides 24% of total education spending.

In addition, Illinois has not had a full budget in two years. This school funding reform proposal requires $350 million in new money even though the State cannot afford to pay schools for current year programs. SB 1 would allocate the monies at a 70% - 30% ratio with 70% for Chicago that has only 23% of the students.

“I will continue to support a new formula to provide an equitable and adequate education for all two million students in Illinois public schools, and not just a select few,” concluded Halbrook. “I believe we can help schools and help taxpayers at the same time if we show the political will to do the right thing.”

This slide uses Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 as an example from the last year we had a state budget in place.

Many of you have contacted me about your frustration that there hasn't been a full, balanced budget for Illinois in two years now. I share your frustration and want you to see the process as it is supposed to happen under our state constitution. You may click HERE to see the entire power point presentation.

In the visitor's gallery of the Illinois House of Representatives Chamber are (l-r) Michael J. Inman, Mayor of Macomb; Suzanne M. Rogers, Ed.M., Associate Director of Admissions, Univ. of Illinois; Rep. Brad Halbrook;
Tami D. Fruhling-Voges, Mayor-Elect of St. Joseph; and B.J. Hackler, Mayor of St. Joseph.

The Illinois Municipal League members traveled to the state capitol last week to meet with legislators and track legislation that impacts local government. The deadline for passing legislation out of the House to go over to the Senate (and vice versa) was Friday, April 28th. Local officials met with Rep. Halbrook who serves on both the Cities & Villages Committee as well as the Counties & Townships Committee where he is the Republican Spokesperson and is assigned to the Consolidated and the Transparency Subcommittees.

Among the visitors from the 102nd District were the current Mayor of St. Joseph, B.J. Hackler, who will be retiring after 36 years of service, and the Mayor-Elect Tami D. Fruhling-Voges.
State Representative Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) reported that House Bill 40 narrowly passed the Illinois House on a vote of 62-55 that would create a new law to allow taxpayer funded abortions in Illinois even if ‘Roe v. Wade’ is overturned at the federal level. The bill also expands abortions to include Medicaid recipients and state workers on state-funded insurance plans.

“I know people of Faith can disagree on public policy, but my Faith tells me that abortion is murder and I will always fight for the innocent and defenseless in our society,” declared Rep. Brad Halbrook. “Today’s bill to expand access to abortions and pay for them with our public dollars is offensive and wrong! We cannot even pay for women’s shelters, seniors’ meals-on-wheels, or college grants for students, yet we apparently can obligate the unfunded, non-existent budget for a projected $60 million to kill an additional 30,000 babies. This is a sad day in Illinois,” added Rep. Halbrook.

According to the ‘Workers’ Action Guide published by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Medicaid provides medical coverage for pregnant women who make less than 213% of the federal poverty level. The latest numbers from the Guttmacher Institute, released in May 2016, indicate that 75% of women who receive abortions have income under 200% of the federal poverty level. Based upon this information, and published documentation from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services about the cost and frequency of abortion procedures, the $60 million price tag would decimate the Illinois Medicaid budget.

State Representative Brad Halbrook has been traveling the 102nd district meeting with agriculture leaders, families, seniors, and small business owners about issues and concerns and the number one topic is the state budget. Without a balanced full state budget, schools and universities as well as services to those who really need help cannot plan their budgets and make decisions on what their programs will look like for the next fiscal year.

Click here to listen to the podcast with Scott Beatty on NewsTalk 1400 -WDWS-AM.
The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and the Illinois Tollway were joined by industry partners and frontline construction workers to remind the public that construction season has arrived and extra caution will be required in work zones. In support of the effort, Gov. Bruce Rauner has proclaimed April 3-7 as “Work Zone Safety Week” in Illinois.

“If you are driving in Illinois this year, you will be driving in our work zones. We are striving to make this construction season the safest one ever and drive traffic fatalities in Illinois to zero,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “Please, if you are traveling through a work zone, slow down, avoid distractions in your vehicle and pay special attention to your surroundings. One life lost is one too many.”

The theme for this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week is “Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands,” reinforcing the message that driving habits impact the well-being of other motorists, cyclists, workers, and pedestrians. When you choose to put aside distractions, you gain the ability to save a life, perhaps yours. (Read the complete story by clicking here.)

Pictured are front row (l-r): Abigail Bresnan, Natalie Kirkbride, Kyra Jackson, Sara Stephens, Braxton Vice, Morgan Braden, Ian Cornahan, Chase, Thies, McKenna Sanders, Lauren Bowers, and State Senator Chapin Rose. Top row (l-r): State Rep. Bread Halbrook, Jackson clark, Tyler McLain, Wyatt Henschen, Colby May, Garrett Fritz, Ben Althoff, Marshall Nohren, Zachary Wieland, and State Rep. Avery Bourne.

Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville), Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) and Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) hosted students from Shelby Electric Cooperative on March 29th at the State Capitol. The students were in Springfield as part of Illinois Electric and Telephone Cooperatives Youth Day. The Shelby Electric Cooperative serves Shelby, Christian, and Macon Counties.

For over 55 years, the electric and telephone cooperatives of Illinois have given tomorrow’s leaders the opportunity to learn from today’s public officials. Each year, nearly 300 outstanding students get an up close and first hand look at democracy in action when they meet their elected representatives during Illinois Electric and Telephone Cooperatives Youth Day. Over the years, thousands of students have learned how government works and why it’s important for every citizen to get involved in it. State senators and representatives have the opportunity to inspire and encourage the leaders of tomorrow during this annual event, held in Springfield.