Senate Week in Review:  September 4-7, 2018

Department of Natural Resources Releases September Update

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ September 2018 update is now available!  Here you will find information on hunting permits, camping reservations, bobcat permits, activities at state parks and museums, kids’ events and other activities around the state. 

Disasters Happen: Prepare now; learn how

September is “National Preparedness Month,” which highlights the importance of preparing yourself and your family for handling an emergency. To prepare, learn life-saving skills, such as CPR, before you need to use them in an emergency situation.

Check your insurance policies and coverage needed in your area for severe events such as tornadoes, floods or earthquakes. It is also a great idea to save enough money in case an emergency strikes.  It’s also important to know which types of disasters could affect your area, as well as know how you’ll contact your family and reconnect if separated.  Learn how to sign up for and receive emergency alerts and warnings for your area. Know your shelter plan and evacuation route as well.

2017 was the costliest year for natural disasters in United States history.

For the first time, Illinois high school students will have access to information that shows how much they might earn if they graduate from colleges and universities located in the state. links employment and higher education data so users can compare the relative earnings value of college degrees. The information is broken down by schools and area of study, so that students can compare the earning potential of business degrees, for example, from different public and private institutions in the state.

The idea is to help students and parents make college decisions based on an evaluation of real-time successes of a school’s graduates, in addition to other factors such as cost, average debt levels, and likelihood to graduate on-time. The tool will also show the benefits of investing in higher education, as it demonstrates how connected our thriving higher education system is to the workforce development of our state. is the product of collaboration between the Governor’s Office, Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

State capital funding released for WIU projects 

Western to see nearly $10 million for campus repairs

More than $57 million in capital funding has been released to colleges and universities statewide with $9.5 million going to Western Illinois University (WIU) as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 capital budget approved by lawmakers in late May. The capital program was appropriated as part of the current FY 2019 state budget.

“This summer we expanded our scholarship granting programs—AIM High and MAP—to help us attract more in-state students,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner. “The investment we’re making at Western makes it possible for us to make long overdue improvements to the physical environment for learning, and that will help us attract more students as well.”

The capital funds will go to repair and replace roofing and water pipes at WIU. An industrial chiller will also be repaired using the capital funding they will receive. These three projects totaling $9.5 million will update and upgrade systems that are in need of renovation.

“These funds will ensure the WIU campus can continue operating smoothly and seamlessly,” said Sen. Jil Tracy. “Funding is always needed for the most basic repairs and updates, it’s essential that we continue to recognize such needs and budget accordingly to cover them.”

Having been approved, the comptroller now has authority to release the funding to WIU to begin construction once costs begin to be incurred.

“With this announcement, WIU will be able to move forward with needed improvements,” said Rep. Norine Hammond. “Working with President Thomas and others in the administration, this capital funding came through passage of this year’s budget and ensures that the university will be able to make these necessary repairs to infrastructure.”

The FY19 capital initiatives appropriated in the final budget included nearly $1 billion to address needs of higher education facilities, including the funding necessary to complete ongoing construction and repair projects, as well as financing to begin new maintenance and infrastructure improvement projects.


Media Contact:

Alex Williams |

Jil Tracy

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