Sb 2039SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) voted Monday to approve the release of over $3 billion to local governments and other state programs. The plan, which included funding for heating and energy in senior and low-income households, local government’s share of the motor fuel tax and funds to pay for Lottery prizes, had been held up as a result of the budget impasse.

“This is the first step in compromising and a small step in the right direction. I’m tired of seeing our state government hamstring our local governments,” Hastings said. “We are struggling in the South Suburbs because of the budget impasse. It was my top priority when I took office to ensure we put our towns in positions where they can serve our people. This authorization will give many families, as well as local governments in the Southland some much needed breathing room.”

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 53-0. It includes funding for many programs including:

• $582.5 million to IDOT for local governments share of motor fuel gas tax revenues.
• $31 million to IDOT to purchase road salt.
• $43 million to the Community College Board for career and technical education activities.
• $45 million to the Dept of Revenue so local governments can receive their share of video gaming proceeds.
• $28 million for nursing home licensing and inspections.
• $165 million for home heating bill assistance.
• $77 million for 911-related costs.
• $1 billion to the Lottery for prizes.
• $3.1 million to the Illinois Math and Science Academy to allow them to access their income funds and pay operating costs.
• $31 million to IDOT to purchase road salt.
• $2.5 million for breast cancer services and research.
• $3.1 million to the Illinois Department of Public Health for the Tobacco Quitline.

Senate Bill 2039 was signed into law by the governor on December 7.

Category: Press Releases

students smallTINLEY PARK- As lawmakers returned to Springfield for Tuesday’s session, so did bus loads of college students. They came to the capital to discuss their concerns over the cuts to higher education that the governor has proposed. The dramatic cuts to state universities and MAP grants could cause tuition rates and class sizes to rise, as well as force colleges to cut staff and administrative positions.

State Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) had the opportunity to speak with students from Governor’s State University, located near the 19th district.

“Governor’s State is an incredible university that prides itself on offering affordable tuition. If these cuts are implemented that would severely limit their ability to continue offering it,” Hastings said. “Cutting funding to universities would absolutely devastate the higher education system in Illinois.”

This year, Senator Hastings and his colleagues voted multiple times to fund Illinois universities and MAP grants, but all of these measures failed to be signed into law.

Kaylee Barron, a student from Tinley Park who attends the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, spoke to how the budget cuts would impact her in the audio clip below.

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Category: Press Releases

APNTINLEY PARK-As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and as a strong supporter of our current military, I am very pleased to see that the candidates for the 2016 elections are already talking about veterans’ issues.

One thing that they and all our elected officials need to address is the health care situation that caused so much concern for the Veterans’ Health Administration (VHA) last year - namely, excessive caseloads and long wait times for sick veterans seeking care.

Unfortunately, those problems are still ongoing. As recently as November 2014, some 600,000 veterans were on wait lists of a month or more, and that number equates to about 10 percent of all VA patients.

Since last year, the number of veterans on wait lists has increased by more than 50 percent. Appreciate the fact that these delays aren’t just inconveniences. Health conditions can become more complicated the longer a patient is forced to wait for care. Such a widespread, systemic problem needs to be addressed at once.

The issue with VA facilities isn’t that they don’t have quality people. It’s that they aren’t able to use the talented staff they do have to their fullest potential. In particular, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are not considered full practice providers under current VHA policy. This is out of step with the Department of Defense, which already utilizes APRNs to treat active-duty troops.

It certainly shouldn’t be a controversial decision, as APRNs are highly qualified to take on a bigger role in VA hospitals and clinics. Many people are surprised to learn that, in addition to a bachelor’s degree, APRNs hold graduate degrees, multiple certifications, hours of clinical experience and enroll in continuing education courses. APRNs are, without a doubt, capable of much more than they are currently allowed to do in VA facilities. Make use of their extensive education and training to allow veterans to be treated in a timely manner.

Moving forward, recognizing APRNs as full practice providers will increase overall access for all veterans. Our veterans have sacrificed plenty for us, and the least we can do for them is improve their access to quality health care.

The 2016 presidential candidates don’t need to wait to win next year to do something tangible regarding this proposal. Merely discussing it raises awareness and garners more support. But, more importantly, some candidates may even be in the position to take action in their current offices.

Our elected officials on both sides of the aisle should support this common-sense effort. Recognizing APRNs as full practice providers is a step in the right direction to serving our veterans with the expedient health care they deserve.

Do it without delay.

Category: Press Releases

TINLEY PARK-For many college students in Illinois, the Monetary Award Program (MAP) is a valuable resource that helps them pay their way through school. The average MAP grant recipient gets about $2,700 towards their tuition, and as tuition costs at colleges and universities continue to rise, these grants have become essential to these students’ success.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) recently voted to invest in the MAP program for this year, which hasn’t been done due to the current budget stalemate.

“This is an investment in both our future and future of these students as well,” Hastings said. “They will go on to graduate, get jobs, and help shape the economy and landscape of our country. With these grants, they get the financial assurance they need to make this happen.”

Senate Bill 2043 will invest $374 million to the MAP grant funding. The measure passed the Senate with a 37-0-14 vote.

Senator Hastings spoke out on the floor in support of the investment, the audio is available below.

Category: Press Releases

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CONTACT SENATOR HASTINGS

Welcome to the official website of Senator Michael E. Hastings. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Hastings directly or you may call any of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

Springfield Office:
118 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-9595

East Office:
813 School Ave
Matteson, IL 60443

District Office:
20855 South LaGrange Road
Frankfort, IL 60423
(815) 464-5431

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