Bryant touts recent accomplishments
From amendments in agriculture and acupuncture to working to halt legislative pay raises, March has proven a productive month for state Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Mt. Vernon).
In order to shift the state government away from automatic avoidance of Illinois’ living costs, Bryant described her sponsorship of HB 643 along with a variety of additional measures.
“As hard as it might be to believe, the legislature is forced every year to pass a bill that stops automatic cost of living adjustments and increases to mileage, meal and lodging reimbursements for legislators,” Bryant wrote, recapping progress for constituents on her website.
She advocated for HB 643 to address the matter of per diem rates for reimbursement of elected officials related to lodging, meals and mileage. With 33 House co-sponsors, the measure continued to gain momentum with additional co-sponsors in early in the month, gaining a place on the Senate calendar for mid-month.
Bryant also said that since Illinois has lacked a budget for more than two years, elected officials should forego salary increases.
“Considering Illinois' disastrous financial situation, stopping pay raises for politicians is as close to a no-brainer as it gets,” she wrote.
Bryant also helped recently to pass HB 2606, which increases consequences for drunk driving. The legislation cleared the House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee and is en route to the House floor. She explained to constituents that due to a county prosecutor’s perceptiveness, it was discovered that an existing law did not sufficiently address consequences for impaired drivers when property damage was involved.
She highlighted the need for reform by citing a 2014 incident in which a drunk driver caused so much destruction to a Mt. Vernon apartment building that more than 200 residents not only lost property but also were forced to live elsewhere, she said. Bryant said that as a result of her work with HB 2606, offenders could be charged with aggravated DUI when major property damage results, with the law setting a minimum of $5,000 in damage as a baseline.
In addition, Bryant has been involved in promoting a variety of laws on the table during March, including amendments ranging from wildlife code and corrections facilities for women to acupuncture regulations and child abuse reporting. Pension costs, hospital credit matters, police dogs, public transportation, firefighting equipment and many more measures captured Bryant’s eye and interest over the month.
In a recent celebratory event, Bryant joined colleagues and staff from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s agricultural sciences college for its 65th annual All-Ag banquet in February. Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) also attended.
Finally, Bryant said a happy ending is in store for a children’s home in her district. In October, the doors of the Illinois Masonic Children's Home in Murphysboro — operated by the Illinois Masonic Grand Lodge — was destined to be shuttered at the end of the current school year.
Now it has been determined that the facility, which at present offers free shelter for approximately 15 children of families facing crisis, will be able to continue functioning under the auspices of the Mt. Vernon-based United Methodist Children's Home as of April 1.
“I was proud to attend the press conference in Murphysboro with United Methodist Children's Home CEO John Shadowens and state Sen. Dale Fowler,” Bryant said.