UISCampusSPRINGFIELD – A new venture that will connect downtown and the nearby University of Illinois campus as part of a heralded statewide innovation network is an example of what’s possible when the state starts investing in its young people and their future, State Senator Andy Manar said today.

“Not only is this a step toward UIS having a more significant presence downtown – something local officials have discussed for years – it is the first of many incredible things to come for the capital city as a result of this project,” Manar said.

“I am pleased to have had role in making this a reality, and I look forward to watching the exciting changes that are about to unfold in Springfield.”

State, local and university officials are announcing this morning that the Innovate Springfield business incubator will become part of UIS, giving the university a significant downtown presence for the first time in its history.

In addition, UIS will become a hub of a statewide innovation network that is intended to connect universities and foster entrepreneurship in various fields. The network is a project of the University of Illinois-led Discovery Partners Institute, a center where faculty, students and companies will collaborate on research that leads to new products and businesses.

Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat who represents downtown Springfield in the state Senate, was instrumental in bringing the success of Innovate Springfield to the attention of University of Illinois leaders.

“This endeavor represents the same kind of resilience and can-do thinking that for 200 years has propelled Illinois to the top in agriculture, food sciences, computer technology, health care innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Manar, in a nod to the state’s bicentennial this year.

“Illinois can continue to blaze trails for the next 200 years, too. An earnest investment in our universities and colleges is an earnest investment in our young people, our workforce and our future.”

Category: Latest News

Teacher350SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar said he is disappointed but not surprised by the governor’s veto Sunday of a plan to raise the minimum wage for Illinois teachers for the first time since 1980.

For nearly four decades, state statute has required Illinois school districts to pay teachers a minimum salary of about $10,000. Based on decades of inflation, the minimum mandated salary today should be about $32,000.

Manar (D-Bunker Hill), the Senate sponsor of the measure, noted that there are teachers throughout Illinois today who live at or below the federal poverty line, something he said he finds unconscionable given the professionalism and dedication required to educate children.

It was hoped that raising the minimum salary would help Illinois tackle an acute teacher shortage crisis by sending a message that the work teachers do is valued and attracting more young people to the profession.

“Refusing to guarantee professional educators a livable minimum wage is no way to lure more teachers to Illinois,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the governor’s veto, and I know thousands of dedicated, hard-working, creative educators throughout the state are, too.”

Under the measure (Senate Bill 2892), the state would update the minimum mandated salary for teachers annually for the next four years. After that, subject to review by the General Assembly, it would be increased according to the Consumer Price Index. The phase-in looks like this under the proposal:

  • $32,076 minimum for the 2019-2020 school year
  • $34,576 minimum for the 2020-2021 school year
  • $37,076 minimum for the 2021-2022 school year
  • $40,000 minimum for the 2022-2023 school year

It is unknown if the General Assembly will attempt to override the veto.

Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin said members of the organization, which backed the minimum wage bill, also are disappointed but unsurprised by the governor’s veto.

“The governor repeatedly says he’s a friend of education, but his actions tell us otherwise. Senator Manar’s legislation would have been the best way to combat the teacher shortage in Illinois. Studies show the most effective way to alleviate a teacher shortage crisis is through respect and adequate wages,” Griffin said.

“By vetoing this bill, the governor is disrespecting every teacher, student and community in Illinois. We are in the midst of a crisis the governor does not seem interested in fixing.”

Category: Latest News

2017ManarSrFair350SPRINGFIELD – Senior citizens from Christian and Macon counties can join State Senator Andy Manar next week for a pair of senior resource fairs featuring wellness checks, on-site driver’s license renewals, information about how to save money on utility bills and more.

The first event is Tuesday at Christian County Senior Citizens, 701 W. Adams St. in Taylorville. The second is Wednesday at the Decatur-Macon County Senior Center, 1430 N. 22nd St. in Decatur.

The fairs are free and open to the public. Seniors 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.

Additional details below about each event. For more information, call 217-782-0228 or 618-585-4848 or visit SenatorAndyManar.com.

Tuesday, Aug. 28, 10 a.m. to noon
Christian County Senior Citizens, 701 W. Adams St., Taylorville

  • 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 the Illinois comptroller, Quad County Home Health, Christian County Department of Public Health, Pana Community Hospital, Taylorville Memorial Hospital and more

Wednesday, Aug. 29, 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 Decatur Memorial Hospital, Dove Inc., Eagle Ridge, the Illinois comptroller, the Illinois Department on Aging, St. Mary’s Hospital and more
Category: Latest News

Telehealth services high on list of needs in critical access areas


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar’s plan to make health care available to more rural children and families through telehealth became law this week.

The initiative allows health care providers on both ends of a telehealth interaction to be reimbursed for costs involved in participating in the interaction.

This means, for example, insurance can reimburse telehealth costs to both the rural hospital where a stroke patient has been taken for emergency care and to the highly skilled stroke specialist in another part of the state who is consulting with the patient and local medical team via computer and webcam.

“Children and families shouldn’t go without medical treatment or counseling – nor should they have to drive three hours for services they – need simply because of where they live,” Manar said. “We have other options today. Telemedicine is one of them.”

Telehealth capabilities also increase access to mental and behavioral health care, which is especially important in rural and high-poverty areas where unemployment, drug and alcohol dependency, food insecurity, housing and transportation shortages, domestic abuse, delayed education and other issues can converge.

However, a shortage of mental health professionals in Illinois, combined with the state’s notoriously low reimbursement rates for providers, has resulted in a crisis of care in areas where it’s most needed. Telemedicine can help fill the void.

The lack of mental health care in rural Illinois and a strong desire for expanded telemedicine services were common themes during discussions on Manar’s tour of hospitals and federally qualified health clinics in his Senate district in November.

“This plan begins to solve a problem in central and southern Illinois by breaking down a significant barrier to mental health care, which is access,” Manar said. “By chipping away at some of Illinois’ outdated regulations, we can help families begin to get more of the help they need in a timely manner closer to home for a fraction of the cost.”

The measure, which was Senate Bill 3049, became law this week. It is an initiative of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association.

“We feel this legislation is a positive first step to improve telehealth coverage, strengthen access to provider networks, contribute to timely care in the most appropriate setting and help facilitate the integration of physical and behavioral health care into hospital and primary care settings,” said David Gross, senior vice president of government relations for the Illinois Health & Hospital Association. “This is why it received bipartisan support in the General Assembly.”

Category: Latest News

School Funding Reform


eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Contact Me

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

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

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