SPRINGFIELD – Southern Illinois University could establish a presence in downtown Springfield under a plan introduced in the legislature today by State Senator Andy Manar.

Manar’s plan (Senate Bill 179) would set aside $50 million in state capital funds for a grant to SIU for costs associated with the construction of a campus and public policy center. The site would have to be within 1 mile of the SIU School of Medicine at 801 N. Rutledge St.

“There is enormous potential in the idea of SIU placing a public policy center steps from the Capitol,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and chairman of a key Senate budget committee. “Coupled with a law school or something associated with the medical school, I think SIU could have a significant and lasting impact on downtown Springfield and the capital city at large.”

In March 2018, SIU officials indicated they were interested in putting a satellite law school campus in either downtown Springfield or in Edwardsville. Local officials have discussed the possibility of a higher education presence downtown, possibly on the long-vacant YWCA block just north of the governor’s mansion. The site would be a perfect location for an SIU campus, Manar said.

He also noted that the timing is right for the legislation with discussions about a potential capital bill under way.

“There should be something substantial for Springfield in the capital bill when it happens,” he said.

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD – Area residents who wish to learn more about a proposal in the state legislature to legalize cannabis in Illinois are invited to a town hall meeting Monday evening, Jan. 28, in Springfield.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) will host the discussion in the Carnegie Room of Lincoln Library, the public library at 326 S. Seventh St.

State Senator Heather Steans and State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who are seeking to legalize recreational cannabis in Illinois, will speak about the proposal and answer questions from the audience.

“I still have a lot of questions about legalization myself, as do many of my constituents,” Manar said. “This meeting offers us all a chance to learn more about the idea and get informed answers to help people form their opinions on the matter.”

What: Town hall meeting about cannabis legalization
When: 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28
Where: Lincoln (public) Library, 326 S. Seventh St., Springfield
Who: State Senator Andy Manar, State Senator Heather Steans, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy

Category: Latest News

01182019 Manar ATT group 650

MOUNT CLARE – Macoupin County residents could see a vast improvement in their cellular service by June, local officials learned today.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), along with local mayors and Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl, joined AT&T representatives near Mount Clare this morning at a cell tower construction site to get an update on the project.

Macoupin County has been plagued by poor cellular service, and residents’ grassroots campaign to address the matter resulted in AT&T building two new cell towers – one near Mount Clare and the other on the north side of Medora. Construction is underway on both towers.

01182019 Manar ATT tower 350Manar, who worked with AT&T to find a resolution to the problem, said a recent town hall meeting about bad and nonexistent cell service in the southern part of the county resulted in a positive discussion that led to a positive outcome.

“We all know the challenges because we live here,” Manar said. “Having AT&T make this investment in the area means a lot.”

The new towers will be 5G capable, which means that Macoupin County users will have access to state-of-the-art cellular technology when it becomes available to the area.

Manar commended area resident Gerald Brand for his efforts to work with AT&T and local residents to address the issues. Brand started a Facebook group called Macoupin County AT&T Users Forum, which currently has more than 3,000 members who use the site to share information about dropped calls, service interruptions and how to report problems.

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar is lauding Gov. JB Pritzker’s move to recognize fair pay for state employees and distance himself from the anti-worker policies of the previous administration.

In his first full day in office, Pritzker announced he will begin bringing state employees to their appropriate step salary level and that he plans to continue addressing outstanding employment issues, such as back pay. State workers, including prison guards, veterans home nurses and public health monitors, have been owed this for years.

“This is a step in the right direction. It doesn’t resolve all the issues that linger, but it tells state workers that the new governor understands their issues, values their work and is on their side,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat who helped advise the governor’s transition team.

Manar said he is pleased with the turnaround and acknowledged the effect that the uncertainty of the past four years has had on state workers and the central Illinois economy.

“By far, the No. 1 constituent question my office continues to receive is when will state employees see back pay and promised step advancement restored,” said Manar, whose district includes thousands of state workers.

“I appreciate that the governor has made this a priority and that he intends to move ahead in a manner that is responsible to the taxpayers of this state. I also hope this is bodes well for inking a new contract agreement with state employees.”

Category: Latest News

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

Decatur Office:
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Decatur, IL 62523
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