A new administration took control of the Governor's office this week with recently-elected Democrat JB Pritzker taking the Oath of Office on Jan. 14 and beginning his term in public office.
Senate Republicans remain hopeful as the new administration transitions into power, emphasizing their willingness to work with Pritzker to address key issues facing the taxpayers and businesses of Illinois.
As the governor assumes office and prepares to deliver his first budget address before the General Assembly on Feb. 20, Senate Republicans remain cautiously optimistic that compromise and bipartisanship will be encouraged under the leadership of a Democrat-controlled General Assembly.
However, members of the super-minority in the Senate underscore the need for Illinois to embrace reforms, encourage economic prosperity and provide for a balanced spending plan that does not add to the burdens placed on the shoulders of Illinois' residents.
Lawmakers will return to the State House on Jan. 29 to resume spring session.
While lawmakers are awaiting their return to Springfield, Sen. Fowler joined college administrators and other local officials for the grand opening of the Shawnee Community College's new Vienna extension. Located in the Vienna High School, the new facility will offer students a local connection to the community college.
In other news, Fowler welcomed local officials to a bill presentation for the Hardin County Work Camp legislation, House Bill 3274, on Jan. 18. The recently-signed legislation permits the Illinois Department of Corrections to sell the Hardin County Work Camp property to Hardin County for $1. In turn, the facility can be reopened for public purposes, including the creation of a detention center. The bill was signed by former-Governor Rauner on Jan. 10.
Fowler presented a signed copy of the bill to Hardin County Sheriff Jerry Fricker, who announced intentions to reopen the Work Camp in 2018, utilizing the structure to house upward of 100 inmates and creating a number of new jobs within the facility.
Sen. Fowler is seeking input from area constituents in an effort to encourage and promote tourism throughout the region. Sen. Fowler is asking residents to submit their recommendations for their favorite canoeing/kayaking and cycling/mountain biking locations throughout southern Illinois. Anyone wanting to submit a location can email email@example.com or visit his Facebook page.
With the recent severe winter weather, Fowler is sharing some helpful tips from the American Red Cross on winter storm safety.
One helpful winter safety tip is to prepare for a power outage. The American Red Cross recommends assembling an essential supplies kit that includes:
• Portable, battery-powered radio
• At least one gallon of water per person
• Small supply of nonperishable food
• First aid kit
The Red Cross also recommends not å unless absolutely necessary. However, if you do have to drive, ensure that your vehicle is winterized and has a full tank of gas.
More helpful tips on how to prepare for the cold weather can be found at http://www.redcrossillinois.org/winter-safety.