Vespers

Manar says new standards will save lives, prevent heartache

CARLINVILLE – Police in Illinois would have to make a reasonable attempt to find a responsible adult to take custody of anyone under the age of 21 who has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs under a new law that was prompted by the 2015 death of a Staunton man.

The law, signed Tuesday afternoon at Blackburn College in Carlinville, is called Conor’s Law after Conor Vesper, a 20-year-old Blackburn student from Staunton who died May 23, 2015, following a series of tragic events including his arrest for DUI, followed by his release from the police station alone after he paid a fine, a subsequent car chase with police from multiple agencies and a fatal self-inflicted gunshot.

Vesper’s family has said he was still intoxicated and his judgement impaired when he was released from police custody. They sought help from Senator Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, in passing a law to prevent something similar from happening to other families and their loved ones. Senate Bill 2185, Conor’s Law, passed in the General Assembly earlier this year with bipartisan support after negotiation with police organizations.

“I appreciate that Gov. Rauner saw the merit of this bipartisan legislation and chose to make it the law in Illinois,” said Manar, the Senate sponsor of the measure. “Well over a year of work went into Conor's Law and my only hope is that it prevents other families from experiencing the same heartbreak and anguish the Vespers experienced when they tragically lost their son, Conor. The Vesper family should be commended for their determination.”

Conor’s Law becomes effective June 1, 2018. It requires the Illinois Police Training Board and the Illinois State Police to create model policies for training officers statewide to respond to a person who is arrested while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and for handling the eventual release of that person from custody. In addition, the law provides that if the intoxicated individual is younger than 21, the arresting officer must make a reasonable attempt to contact a responsible adult who is willing to take custody of that person.

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Category: Latest News

Manar2016SeniorFairSPRINGFIELD – Area residents are invited to join Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) this month for a series of senior resource fairs throughout his district.

The events are free and open to the public. Senior citizens will be able to ask questions and obtain information from a variety of service and health care providers, state programs and local groups. They also can take advantage of free and discounted health screenings.

Dates and times are as follows:

Tuesday, Sept. 19
10 a.m. to noon
Christian County Senior Citizens, 701 W. Adams St., Taylorville

  • Health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and pulmonary testing
  • Driver’s license and state ID renewals at the Illinois Secretary of State’s mobile unit
  • Updated information for seniors from the Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Details about lowering utility bills from the Citizens Utility Board
  • Determine if the state is holding unclaimed property with the Illinois treasurer’s office
  • Additional representatives available from AARP, the Illinois comptroller, Quad County Home Health, Christian County Department of Public Health, Pana Community Hospital, Taylorville Memorial Hospital and more

Wednesday, Sept. 20
10 a.m. to noon
Decatur-Macon County Senior Center, 1430 N. 22nd St., Decatur

  • Driver’s license and state ID renewals at the Illinois Secretary of State’s mobile unit
  • Health screenings and information from area medical providers
  • Updated information for seniors and veterans from the Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Details about lowering utility bills from the Citizens Utility Board
  • Determine if the state is holding unclaimed property with the Illinois treasurer’s office
  • Additional representatives available from AARP, Decatur Memorial Hospital, Decatur Township, Dove Inc., Eagle Ridge, the Illinois attorney general, the Illinois comptroller, the Illinois Department on Aging, St. Mary’s Hospital and more
  • Co-hosted by State Representative Sue Scherer (D-Decatur)

Tuesday, Sept. 26
10 a.m. to noon
Benld Civic Center, 201 E. Center Ave., Benld

  • Driver’s license and state ID renewals at the Illinois Secretary of State’s mobile unit
  • Health screenings from area hospitals and the Macoupin County Public Health Department. (Most health department screenings will be free of charge, but some may require a nominal fee.)
  • Updated information for veterans from the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Details about lowering utility bills from the Citizens Utility Board
  • Determine if the state is holding unclaimed property with the Illinois treasurer’s office
  • Additional representatives available from AARP, Illinois Valley Economic Development Corp., Macoupin County Public Transit and others
  • Staff from Senator Manar’s office available to answer questions about Medicaid, state government operations and more

For more information about any of the senior fairs, call 217-782-0228 or 618-585-4848 or visit SenatorAndyManar.com.

Category: Latest News

Initiative was advanced by Manar in the Senate

ManarAVRSPRINGFIELD – Illinois this morning became the 10th state to enact automatic voter registration, a good-government and voting-rights initiative advanced by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

Manar and numerous advocates were on hand as Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law the measure, which establishes a more modern system by which eligible adults can have their voter registration information updated automatically whenever they interact with certain state agencies.

Manar said automatic voter registration is a big deal for Illinois and an initiative worth celebrating, particularly as other states seem intent to find new ways to limit people’s access to the polls.

“We in Illinois are pushing back on that. While others are trying to close the doors to the ballot box, we are opening those doors,” he said.

“This bill makes absolute sense. It will save government millions of dollars once it’s fully implemented. It will improve the accuracy of our voting rolls. It does all sorts of things we claim we want to do in Springfield. But most of all, it removes barriers for individuals to put their fingerprints on their democracy.”

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Category: Latest News

ServiceDogSPRINGFIELD – Illinois military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression will be eligible for service dogs through a special program under legislation sponsored by Senator Andy Manar that was signed into law Friday.

“Service dogs often can offer companionship, stress-relief and motivation to veterans with PTSD or depression that friends and family may not be able to provide,” Manar said. “I am pleased that these veterans now are on the list of people in Illinois who can take advantage of the Helping Paws Service Dog Program and lead more fulfilling lives.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 2897 into law Friday. The legislation was sponsored in the House by Republican State Rep. Dave Severin of Benton. The measure expands the list of eligible recipients of service dogs through the Helping Paws program to include veterans with PTSD or depression.

The Illinois Department of Corrections operates the Helping Paws Service Dog Program out of the Logan Correctional Center women’s prison. Offenders train dogs that go on to assist people who are visually impaired, use wheelchairs or have a variety of other disabilities. Dogs are provided at no charge.

Illinois has had the program for 17 years, and offenders have trained more than 300 dogs in that time. The program partners with Mid America Service Dogs Foundation and Paws Giving Independence.

Gov. Rauner said it is important to ensure that veterans have access to services that improve their quality of life and that the Helping Paws program will help provide the comfort and relief that they deserve.

Severin said he expects the new law will positively affect the lives of veterans who are struggling the most.

Category: Latest News

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Contact Me

Springfield Office:
119A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-0228
Fax: (217) 557-3930

Decatur Office:
Macon County Office Building
141 S. Main St., Suite 502
Decatur, IL 62523
Phone: (217) 429-8110
Fax: (217) 429-8018

Bunker Hill Office:
115 N. Washington, P.O. Box 636
Bunker Hill, IL 62014
Phone: (618) 585-4848