Update from Senator Plummer: July 18

Last week, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) released the newest Multi-Year Program (MYP) plan, containing $41 billion in projects. Also, state-run facilities for the developmentally disabled community are back in the news cycle as recent investigations have revealed staggering instances of abuse and neglect within the system. Lastly, Illinois is launching a new student loan program with the nonprofit ISL Education Lending program to encourage more residents to graduate from college.
road construction
IDOT’s Fiscal Year 2024-2029 Plan Released Last Friday, the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) announced their newest Multi-Year Program (MYP). This plan will cover the next six years in transportation infrastructure repairs and updates, lasting through fiscal year 2029, and will invest $41 billion collectively over the course of that period in a variety of projects. This money will come from a combination of federal, state, and local funds. In this annual update to the MYP, roughly $27 billion is earmarked for roads and bridges, while the remaining $14 billion is for public transit, rail, aviation, ports, waterways, and other projects. This program will also support upgrades for broadband access, state colleges, and universities. Al the information on the plan can be found on IDOT’s website, where the program is specifically broken down in a variety of ways.
Investigations Reveal Serious Issues at State Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled Last September, Choate Mental Health and Development Center came under fire after a controversial report was released detailing complaints of abuse and neglect. In response, the state announced in March that it would respond by downsizing the facility and moving around half of the residents to the other six developmental centers run by the state in an attempt to reform the facility. Unfortunately, this week another report was released by ProPublica detailing not only continued issues of abuse and neglect at Choate, but showing that these issues are rampant at other state-run facilities as well. The report shows that since 2012, Illinois State Police have opened 200 investigations into employee misconduct at the state’s seven developmental centers, which are responsible for taking care of roughly 1,600 individuals. 161 of the cases involve allegations of physical abuse and criminal battery, 25 pertain to accusations of sexual assault and custodial sexual misconduct, and 10 allege criminal neglect. Four of the investigations were related to the death of a resident. In February of 2023, every Republican lawmaker in the Illinois Senate and House signed onto a letter calling for public hearings on the situation at Choate. This week, Republican legislators issued another request for open hearings, this time to learn more about the continued issues at all of the state’s facilities for the developmentally disabled. Senator Plummer said that the administration has repeatedly failed to properly prioritize the state’s developmentally disabled community, including failing to adequately fund services and address abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, this vulnerable population is continually being left behind.
Illinois Nonprofit Opens Applications for Student Loan Program As the start of the school year approaches, Illinois is joining forces with ISL Education Lending to launch the Illinois Partnership Loan Program, a lower-priced undergraduate and graduate student loan program for Illinois residents studying at qualifying Illinois institutions. Specifically, this program is designed to supplement other sources of financial aid for colleges, so students should seek out and exhaust all sources prior to seeking a Partnership Loan. Applications are currently open, and you can find more information online. In order to be considered, students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident currently residing in Illinois who is accepted, enrolled, or attending on a least a half-time basis a nonprofit, Title IV eligible, degree-granting, accredited Illinois college or university. Students can also apply with a cosigner and are eligible to borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other aid each year, as certified by the school. Interest rates are dependent on the applicant’s credit score.
Jason Plummer

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