Following the Governor’s veto of SB 2043, I wanted to provide an update to the public on the recent wrangling over Higher Education funding in Illinois.

The bill the Governor recently vetoed, SB 2043, was an Appropriations bill. Yet, it did not go through Appropriations-Higher Education Committee. Instead Speaker Madigan assigned the bill to Higher Education Committee. The Committee testimony from witnesses and members alike was very heartfelt.

Over the past months, there have been many meetings with those in Higher Education at the 4-year Universities and the Community Colleges. Repeatedly, we have heard from the 4-year Universities that their priority is receiving their Operating Funds. SB 2043 does not include any Operating Funds for State Universities. It does fund Operating Funds to City Colleges of Chicago, Community Colleges and MAP grants. In Illinois, MAP grants are provided to students at the 4-year institutions, Community Colleges, Private Colleges, and For Profit Colleges- a total of $721.5 million. The ONLY funds the public universities would receive would be MAP dollars. I cannot justify giving monies to the Private and For Profit colleges when we are not funding our Universities like Western Illinois University.

When SB 2043 was up for consideration, I reached out to University and Community College Presidents to discuss the situation. They fully understood what was going on and agreed they needed to be assured that funds would actually be coming as a result of any action. SB 2043 would not have given them that assurance. Additionally, there was no revenue stream for the bill. 

I am a co-sponsor of HB 4539 that funds ALL of Higher Education, albeit with a 20% cut from FY15 to 4-year institutions, 10% cut from FY15 to Community Colleges, and provides $373 Million in MAP funding. There is a companion bill, HB 4921, Unbalanced Budget Response Act that identifies the revenue stream and would provide the Governor with the ability to direct fund transfers, WITH EXCEPTION including the Road Fund dollars, debt service payments, pension payments, etc. This flexibility was given to Gov. Quinn when he took over from Gov. Blagojevich and when we negotiated the FY2015 deficit fix.

Now that SB 2043 has been vetoed, I believe that there could be a better path forward toward funding Higher Education, even in the current budget impasse.  I strongly urge my colleagues to deeply consider HB 4539 and HB 4921.

Rep. Norine Hammond
State Representative, 93rd District



 


MACOMB –Following Governor Rauner’s second Budget Address, Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) urged for bipartisan commitment to resolving the budget impasse that has consumed Illinois for nearly nine months.

“I agree with the Governor’s call for an urgent resolution to our budget impasse.  It is beyond unacceptable that we have not reached a bipartisan resolution to this impasse,” Rep. Hammond said on Wednesday.

Hammond continued, “jobs have left Illinois at an alarming rate over the past 17 years.  If we fail in the opportunity to retool our climate for jobs in this state, I fear for Illinois’ long-term future.”



SPRINGFIELD – Following up on President Barack Obama’s call to find common ground on issues, today State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) lauded the President’s comments in support of redistricting reform to change the way political maps are drawn in Illinois.

“It was historic to have the sitting President address the Illinois General Assembly, but it will be all the more historic if we take up his call to change the way we draw political maps in Illinois.  We must end the practice of politicians picking their voters instead of voters picking their politicians,” said Hammond from Springfield.

“Without a doubt, this rare and momentous speech by a sitting President to the Illinois House helped to draw attention to the need to address this issue now and finally change the way reapportionment is handled in our State,” Hammond continued.

The President, during his often candid remarks at the State Capitol, discussed how the mutual respect he experienced while serving in Springfield gave us, “room for progress.”  Rep. Hammond noted that no issue seems to attract more bipartisan agreement than redistricting reform in Illinois and stated now is the time to, “seize that opportunity to make room for progress on this important issue.”

Hammond encouraged residents of the 93rd district to contact her with questions or concerns on this or any other state issue. Hammond’s Macomb district office can be contacted at (309) 836-2707 and she can be reached via e-mail at rephammond@macomb.com. Constituents can also visit her legislative website at www.norinehammond.org to sign up for her electronic newsletter.

Hammond represents all or part of Brown, Cass, and Fulton, Knox, Mason, McDonough, Schuyler and Warren counties.
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SPRINGFIELD – Following up on a proposal made in the Governor’s State of the State Address, today State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) and legislative colleagues spoke out in favor of  newly-filed Procurement Reform legislation unveiled during a press conference at the Illinois State Fairgrounds 4H Building this morning. 

After a year of carefully evaluating Illinois’ onerous procurement process, a comprehensive reform package developed collaboratively by the Administration, agency heads, legislative leaders and major stakeholders has emerged that has the potential to realize significant savings for Illinois taxpayers.

“Knowing the strains on our State universities and local government budgets with the state budget impasse, we must extend them the ability to reduce their costs as well through thoughtful procurement reform,” said Rep. Hammond, who represents Western Illinois University in Macomb.

The legislative proposal would provide both the State as well as individual agencies increased flexibility and efficiencies in purchasing goods and services, increasing the opportunities for savings.  Included in the package of legislation is the creation of a pool of pre-qualified vendors for supplies and services, as well as allowing State and local governments to enter into purchasing consortiums in hopes of leveraging buying power.  In addition, it would carve out procurement code exemptions for an array of instances including service contracts, trade shows and units of higher education.

Also, included are provisions aimed at in-state investment through the “Buy Illinois” provision.  “Our home state vendors have been through the wringer in Illinois and this provision is to say they deserve preference in our purchasing process,” said Hammond.

Hammond went on to say, “cost savings on procurement are savings that can be put to better use by providing frontline services and support to students and taxpayers- that’s a win-win for Illinois.”

Hammond encouraged residents of the 93rd district to contact her with questions or concerns on this or any other state issue. Hammond’s Macomb district office can be contacted at (309) 836-2707 and she can be reached via e-mail at rephammond@macomb.com. Constituents can also visit her legislative website at www.norinehammond.org to sign up for her electronic newsletter.

Hammond represents all or part of Brown, Cass, and Fulton, Knox, Mason, McDonough, Schuyler and Warren counties.
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