SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) has introduced legislation returning $8.4 million from the defunct Wood River Township Hospital fund to taxpayers.

Haine introduced the plan as an amendment to an existing bill—Senate Bill 496—this week, and the plan will be addressed in the Senate Local Government Committee at 10 a.m. today.

Wood River Township Hospital closed in 2000 and after 10 years of retiring debt and paying out pension benefits the fund has approximately $8.4 million left over.

“There have been many different proposals for what to do with these funds, but the fairest, most-practical and overwhelmingly supported solution is to give this money back to taxpayers,” Haine said.

State Representative Daniel Beiser (D-Alton) will sponsor the plan in the House.

“This is commonsense legislation that will ensure that Wood River Township taxpayers are directly refunded money from the hospital district,” Beiser said. “I look forward to working with Sen. Haine and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to quickly pass this measure.”

The new plan will permanently dissolve the hospital as a legal entity and give the hospital’s board six months to sell any remaining property, transfer medical records, conduct an audit and pay any outstanding debts.

After the hospital is dissolved, the remaining funds will be transferred to the Madison County Treasurer and disbursed to current property taxpayers by the Madison County Clerk based on the 2005 levy year.

“It is a rare occasion when the government can write a check directly to taxpayers. Dan Beiser and I are pleased to do it,” Haine said.

Category: News Releases

HaineFloorShot2WOODRIVER, IL – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) and Daniel Beiser (D-Alton) support a plan to return to taxpayers the roughly $4.9 million pension fund surplus from the closed Woodriver Township Hospital. Beiser and Haine will sponsor legislation during the fall veto session to refund taxpayers the leftover funds from the defunct pension fund.
 
“We want to put this money back in taxpayers’ wallets,” Haine said. “We have listened to all the involved parties, weighed the practical possibilities and decided that refunding this money is the fairest, most equitable option.”
 
“This is commonsense legislation that will ensure that Wood River Township taxpayers are directly refunded money from the hospital district,” Beiser said.
 
Refunds to township residents would be based on the amount individuals paid in property tax while the hospital tax was in place.
 
Woodriver Township Hospital closed in 2000 and after a 10 year period of paying out pension benefits the fund still had nearly $5 million dollars leftover. The General Assembly would have to pass a law in order for the hospital’s board to issue refunds to taxpayers.

The method of disbursing funds is currently being reviewed. Beiser and Haine hope to introduce a bill in October. 

Past members of the hospital board; Ken Miller, the retired chairman of the board; Louis Kosiba of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund; Beiser; and Haine—as states attorney—worked together to discover these funds and work to return them to the public.
 
“An overwhelming majority of people support this refund and I have always tried to represent the interest and will of the people,” Haine said.

Category: News Releases

HaineFloorShot12SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) was reappointed to serve on two legislative bodies that are important to the Metro East. Haine will continue to be a member of the Southwestern Illinois Metropolitan and Regional Planning Commission and the Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee.

“I am honored to continue serving the state and the people of the Metro East on these boards,” Haine said. “Economic development and governmental coordination are important parts of improving our region and our military communities.”

The Southwestern Illinois Metropolitan and Regional Planning Commission helps local governments create comprehensive, functional plans for promoting economic development, reducing environmental impact and improving civic design in the Metro East and surrounding communities.

Haine’s work with the commission has aided improvements to the highway grid including: the Stan Musial Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, re-opening the McKinley Bridge, Illinois Route 159 and Interstate 255. Haine also sponsored legislation to bring river levees up to Federal Emergency Management Administration standards keeping the area attractive for investment and reducing insurance costs.

“Working on this commission helps me stay in touch with the needs and concerns of our cities, villages and towns while providing them with useful resources,” Haine said.

The Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee coordinates efforts between military branches, base leadership, state agencies, and defense communities.

“Through my work on this committee, I am privileged to work with the leadership of Scott Air Force Base and base commanders across the state,” Haine said.

Category: News Releases

HaineFloorShot1SPRINGFIELD, IL – A proposal allowing the legal consumption of marijuana for medical purposes was signed into law today. State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), a former prosecutor and state’s attorney, sponsored the proposal in the Senate.

“Patients afflicted by the most unbearable conditions finally have a compassionate answer to their cries for help,” Haine said. “This program alleviates suffering and provides strong safeguards against abuse.”

The Medical Cannabis Pilot Program creates a four-year program allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana as a legal alternative to powerful pharmaceuticals, which may have serious side effects for patients.

The program allows qualified patients with chronic diseases to use marijuana as recommended by an Illinois licensed physician. Doctor’s may recommend marijuana to treat pain resulting only from illnesses specified in the law.

The new law restricts the use of marijuana in the presence of minors, in vehicles and in public, especially near school grounds. The program requires a doctor’s written certification, registered patient photo identification cards and an electronic verification system.

“We are ensuring only those suffering from the most serious diseases receive this treatment. This law takes additional steps to prevent fraud and abuse,” Haine said.

The network of authorized growers and dispensaries as well as the verification network will take several months to a year to implement.

“As this law begins to take effect, lawmakers will continue to work with law enforcement agencies to address any new concerns: keeping medical marijuana out of the wrong hands,” Haine said.

Category: News Releases

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