Update from Senator Plummer: May 21

Plummer Passes Legislation to Save Money on Local Road Projects and Improve Government Transparency The Illinois General Assembly has passed legislation to require Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) road studies on traffic and environmental impact to be made public, which could potentially provide savings on local projects while improving transparency on state decisions. The legislation was sponsored by State Senator Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) in the Senate and filed by Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) in the House. “By making these reports public, counties and local governments can save the taxpayers significant money for road projects, if the state has already put together a similar report,” said Senator Plummer. “At the same time, it will make sure there is more transparency in state decision making, we will know what they are basing decisions on, and whether or not it is the right move.” House Bill 5138 specifically requires that IDOT make public any study or survey that concerns traffic or the environmental impact of road construction projects. The legislation passed the Illinois Senate on May 16th and now heads to the Governor.
CTU’s Day Off Hundreds of members of the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) took a taxpayer-funded day off at the Capitol May 15 to demand $1 billion more in state funding for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Hypocrisy was on full display as the union’s members took a day away from the classroom, forcing the district to spend significant taxpayer dollars on substitute teachers, while also paying salaries of the CTU members who traveled to Springfield. Republican lawmakers held a press conference to highlight the special funding CPS receives that’s not made available to other schools in the state that face far greater financial challenges. Under the Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) model, school districts are divided into a four-tier system with Tier One school districts being those that have the greatest need for new state funding to adequately educate their students. Since the funding formula was passed, and with additional state support, CPS has already moved up to Tier 2. Senator Plummer noted that for many years CPS has received a disproportionate share of the state’s education resources through special carve-outs and unique grants, such as hundreds of millions from the Chicago Block Grant that was written into the CPS base as part of the formula. Republican lawmakers also hit on the fact that in a tight budget year for the State of Illinois, the demands made by the Chicago Mayor and the CTU members are tone-deaf to the fiscal realities Illinois faces in crafting the Fiscal Year 2025 budget. Members of the Senate Republican Caucus say they will continue to stand up for taxpayers as well as provide equal funding for schools throughout Illinois.
New Legislation Enhancing Roadway Safety Advances A new bill introduced to reduce the risk of accidents and protect tow truck operators and emergency responders has advanced in the Senate. House Bill 4255, sponsored by State Senator Erica Harriss, aims to enhance roadway safety in Illinois by allowing the use of green lights on specified vehicles, including tow trucks, fire department, and police vehicles, when at an emergency scene.  The proposal seeks to address safety concerns highlighted by the tragic loss of a tow truck operator who was struck and killed in a roadway accident while on the job last year. The proposed change would improve visibility for motorists approaching stopped or parked emergency vehicles, particularly during daylight hours, and encourage motorists to slow down near emergency vehicles.  Passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, House Bill 4255 will now advance to the Governor’s desk for further consideration. 
Fire Ceremony
Illinois Pays Tribute to Fallen Firefighters in Annual Memorial Ceremony State leaders gathered in Springfield on May 14 to attend the 31st Annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Medal of Honor Ceremony.  The service and ceremony were held at the Bank of Springfield Center, bringing together scores of firefighters from across Illinois to honor and remember their fallen brothers and sisters. This occasion included a tribute to five Illinois firefighters who died in the line of duty last year:  Chicago Firefighter/EMT Jermaine Pelt Chicago Fire Lt. Jan Tchoryk  Chicago Fire Lt. Kevin Ward Chicago Firefighter/EMT Andrew “Drew” Price And Maroa Countryside Fire Protection District Chief Larry Peasley Another 12 firefighters from around the state were honored with medals of honor or valor for acts of outstanding bravery. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the toll on firefighters’ lives continues to rise, with 25 casualties recorded already this year in the United States. Among them was an Aurora firefighter who tragically lost their life in the line of duty just last month. 
Spring Planting Trails Behind Last Year Amidst Seed Inventory Concerns Spring planting in Illinois is well under way but is currently trailing last year’s pace. However, farmers were able to make recent headway thanks to a spell of dry weather and average soil temperatures.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Illinois farmers have so far planted 42% of their corn acres and 39% of their soybean acres. That’s far behind where they were at the same time last year, when the Illinois corn crop was 81% planted and soybeans were at 74% planted.  In 2023, Illinois led the nation in soybean production, yielding nearly 649 million bushels and ranked second in corn production, producing more than 2.27 billion bushels of corn.  Farmers will continue to be on the roadways in the coming weeks, as they finish planting season. Drivers should be aware that most agriculture equipment will be travelling much more slowly than car traffic. 
Jason Plummer

Want to stay up to date with your Senator?

Sign up for the District E-Newsletter below: