05292018CM0563SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) joined a bipartisan coalition in the Illinois Senate today to pass a fully balanced state budget that increases funding for SIU Edwardsville, K-12 schools and area hospitals.

The state budget, which passed with a bipartisan majority of 56-2, will now head to the Illinois House of Representatives for consideration.  

Under the proposal, SIU Edwardsville will see about a 2 percent increase in funding from the previous year.

“This budget is a stark contrast from years past for our universities, like SIU-E,” Haine said. “Instead of facing steep cuts that force layoffs and program eliminations, it offers stability to allow them to be an economic driver for the Metro East community. “

Additionally, a new grant pilot program called AIM HIGH will provide $25 million to universities that award scholarships to undergraduate students from Illinois based on merit and financial means. MAP grant funding, which helps low- and middle-class students pay for the increased cost of college, will also be held at the same level as last year.

“These grant programs once again make Illinois colleges affordable for Illinois families and will prevent future generations of students from leaving our state,” Haine said.

K-12 schools will receive an additional $350 million, to be distributed to the neediest schools first under the new funding formula passed last year.

“These additional funds further our commitment to last year’s historic education funding formula changes. The new funding will go directly to the classrooms with the highest need,” Haine said.
The plan also stopped cuts to Medicaid rates proposed by the governor to ensure hospitals are adequately funded.

“Ensuring our hospitals, like St. Anthony’s, have adequate funding is absolutely crucial to the well-being of our communities,” Haine said. “Furthering slashing our already low Medicaid rates would have jeopardized the safety of our area residents.”

Category: News Releases

Haine 1SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) was honored with the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Distinguished Service Award at their 2018 Spring Commencement for his commitment to the university and the state of Illinois.

“Senator Haine has been an enthusiastic advocate for both SIUE and the SIU School of Dental Medicine in Alton,” SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook said.

In the Senate, Haine has played a vital role in supporting the university by securing funding for various school buildings, including the science building, residence halls and construction of the new lab at the SIU School of Dental School Medicine.

During the two-year budget impasse, Haine fought against cuts to the university and supported crucial MAP grant funding to ensure students from middle-and low-income families would be able to continue their education. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the SIU School of Medicine.

“I greatly appreciate receiving this great honor from such a prestigious institution,” Haine said. “The impact of the university in our area and in our entire state cannot be overstated. I’m committed to continuing to support the university and its mission for the rest of my tenure in the Illinois Senate.”

Haine was first elected to the Illinois Senate in 2002 and currently serves as the assistant majority leader. He represents portions of Madison, Jersey and St. Clair counties. He has announced this will be his last term in the Illinois Senate.

Category: News Releases

04232018CM0603SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate recently passed a proposal requiring individuals who threaten gun violence against schools on social media to reimburse police departments for added security and emergency costs. State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) co-sponsored and voted for the proposal.

The proposal seeks to stop the string of threats made toward schools, including Alton, Cahokia and other Metro East schools. Currently, individuals convicted of making threats are required to reimburse public safety agencies for response-related costs only if the threat is made over the phone or they specifically threaten to use a bomb.

“Our current laws are outdated with the rise of social media,” Haine said. “Updating these laws gives law enforcement another tool to ensure they are able to take threats towards schools seriously.”

The legislation also gives law enforcement agencies the ability to bring in individuals who threaten schools for a psychiatric evaluation. The proposal, Senate Bill 563, passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 52-0. It is now in the Illinois House.

Category: News Releases

05012018CM0187SPRINGFIELD – After a shooting at the First Baptist Church in Maryville killed Pastor Fred Winters and injured another churchgoer, the Illinois Senate passed legislation to increase penalties on those that carry weapons into churches with an intent to harm others. State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) sponsored the measure.  

“These are sacred spaces where people go to worship and feel safe in their community,” Haine said. “People committing illegal, harmful activities here should be put in prison for a significant amount of time.”

The proposal was brought to Sen. Haine by Lt. Rich Dustman, a retired member of the Edwardsville Police Department and member at the church who was in attendance during the shooting.

“This was truly a heinous act committed by a criminal,” said Dustman. “Thanks to Senator Haine for giving law enforcement and prosecutors an additional tool to ensure these criminals are off the streets for a significant time.”

Under Haine’s proposal, when an attack happens within a church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship, an individual can be charged with aggravated assault, a Class A misdemeanor, or aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony.  

The legislation also provides that an individual can be charged with a Class 2 felony if they carry or possess a firearm, knife or other dangerous weapon with the intent to harm in a place of worship.

Haine’s legislation, Senate Bill 561, passed with a vote of 51-0. It will now head to the Illinois House of Representatives for a vote.

Category: News Releases

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