05232019CM0422SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) voted Friday to pass legislation that would impose harsher penalties on individuals convicted of assault or battery in places of worship.

Under House Bill 38, any crime of assault or battery committed in a place of worship is automatically elevated to the offense of aggravated assault or battery.

Under Illinois law, aggravated assault is a Class A misdemeanor and aggravated battery is a Class 3 felony. The change would allow a court to impose a more severe sentence on an individual convicted of one of these offenses.

“I can’t think of any place where you should have more peace of mind about your safety than your place of worship,” Manar said. “The recent instances of violence in churches around the country has been sickening and it’s my hope that this legislation will prevent these tragedies from happening here in Illinois.”

The legislation also provides that a person commits the offense of unlawful use of a weapon, a Class 2 felony, if he or she carries a firearm with the intent to harm someone in a place of worship.

House Bill 38 passed the Senate unanimously. It will now return to the House for concurrence before awaiting the governor’s signature.

Category: Latest News

04122019CM0717SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate passed a measure cosponsored by State Sen. Andy Manar this week that would make it easier for individuals with tick borne illnesses to seek treatment.

House Bill 889 would require insurers to cover long-term antibiotic therapy for people with tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease.

“We need to do everything we can to ensure that people have access to the potentially life-saving treatments they need,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “It’s appalling how difficult it can be to receive treatment for Lyme disease in our state. This measure is going to be a huge help to thousands of people throughout Illinois.”

Under current law there is no requirement that long-term antibiotic therapy be covered for these patients. As a result, doctors have a difficult time prescribing long-term antibiotic treatments that last more than 28 days.

Long-term antibiotic therapy is currently the only treatment known to effectively cure Lyme disease.

Manar was first made aware of the issue after being approached by Linda Keyhart, a resident of his district whose daughter contracted Lyme disease and faced barriers to receiving needed treatment.

After learning about the issue, Manar held a hearing to learn about problems related to the treatment of Lyme disease and cosponsored House Bill 4515 in 2017, which allowed doctors to prescribe more aggressive treatments needed to treat Lyme disease without facing disciplinary action.

“A lot of people in my district suffer from Lyme disease and the proposals we’ve moved through the Senate are major steps toward more effectively treating this life-altering illness,” Manar said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue studying this issue and finding ways to help medical professionals treat Lyme disease.”

House Bill 889 passed the Senate unanimously. It now awaits the governor’s signature.

Category: Latest News

05092019CM0855CARLINVILLE – Utility costs for Blackburn College’s Carlinville campus may be reduced by up to 60 percent thanks to a new renewable energy project stemming from a collaboration between the college and the Central Illinois Economic Development Authority.

The 5,546 panel solar farm will be developed by IL Solar of Litchfield on the north side of Blackburn College’s 80 acre campus.

“The collaboration between Blackburn, the authority and the contractor is a ‘best practices’ model for getting the most from limited resources,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), whose district includes Blackburn’s campus. “As we move forward, it’s key that we find energy solutions that both protect our environment and lower energy costs.”

“Utility costs are Blackburn’s second largest expense. This facility will provide a significant savings,” said Dr. Julie Murray-Jansen, president of Blackburn College. “It will also play a role in the college’s student work plan. Students will be involved in monitoring the solar farm operation.”

“It is gratifying to see CIEDA and Blackburn form this partnership to reduce energy costs and give students hands on experience in a growth industry,” said Carlinville Mayor Deanna Demuzio.

The development authority will issue a $3 million low-interest bond to help finance the project. It will also benefit from credits under the 2017 Illinois Future Jobs Act.

“I was on campus this past weekend to speak at Blackburn’s commencement ceremony and there was a lot of buzz about this project,” Manar said. “This is going to be a major boon for the college and for its students, who will have the opportunity to get valuable hands-on experience as a result of this new development.”

The project is expected to be completed and in operation by late summer.

Category: Latest News

03202019CM0117SPRINGFIELD – The Senate Education Committee passed legislation Tuesday sponsored by State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) that would remove barriers to graduation for some high school students.

House Bill 2165 would remove the requirement that all students must complete an algebra II course in order to graduate high school.

The change is designed to eliminate a barrier to graduation for students who do not wish to pursue a post-secondary degree or choose to work in a vocational field.

“Algebra II is an important course for many high school students, but not everyone graduates high school with the intention to continue their education at the post-secondary level and it’s time we acknowledge this and provide more options for students who want to enter the workforce immediately,” Manar said. “Every child is different and a one-size-fits-all curriculum is not going to effectively serve the diverse needs of Illinois students.”

High school students would still be required to take three years of math as a requirement for graduation under the legislation, one of which must be algebra I and one of which must include geometry content.

The measure was approved by the Education Committee unanimously. It will now go before the entire Senate.

Category: Latest News

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