firstbillSPRINGFIELD – Many businesses offer discounts to veterans to thank them for their service to our country. Unfortunately, occasionally non-veterans will pose as military members to try to take advantage of these discounts.

To cut down on people falsely impersonating veterans, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) passed legislation through the Illinois Senate today to make it a petty offense to falsely impersonate a veteran. The proposal, Senate Bill 2167, was also her first bill.

“Veterans have given so much for our country we need to make sure their sacrifices are not taken advantage of by people trying to scam the system for their own financial gain,” Murphy said.

If the proposal is signed into law, Illinois will join several other states including Alabama, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to have similar “Stolen Valor” laws.

Murphy’s legislation passed the Senate with an overwhelming bipartisan vote and will now head to the Illinois House.

murphyheadshotSPRINGFIELD— In response to news that suburban community colleges have cut staff and may cut more in the coming months, State Sens. Melinda Bush, Julie Morrison and Laura Murphy called on the governor to swiftly end the year-long budget impasse and approve a state spending plan.

“The time for arguing over ideological differences is over,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “College of Lake County exists to provide affordable, accessible higher education to students who we want to become tomorrow’s employees. Governor: Show us you want a business-friendly state and pass a balanced budget.”

College of Lake County has cut 20 positions. Speaking Thursday, President Jerry Weber told reporters the school could need to cut as many as 40 more employees and reduce programs and services if the $8 million the state owes the college is not approved by the end of June. The college has dipped into reserve funds to cover the unreleased funds, as well as $800,000 in promised Monetary Award Program grants to students that have also not been released.

“Businesses makes decisions on where to locate and expand their operations based on the availability of highly trained workers,” said Morrison, D-Deerfield. “The longer this impasse continues, the more long-term damage we are inflicting on our educational facilities and our economy.”

William Rainey Harper College in Palatine has also been affected by the ongoing budget impasse. The college has informed 19 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees they will be laid off and is eliminating 62 full-time and part-time positions through other means.

“With the sky-rocketing costs of universities, community colleges like Harper are an affordable option for many students to continue their education after high school. Eliminating these funds has already hurt the long-term job market in Illinois,” said Murphy, D-Des Plaines. “If the governor truly wanted to be a pro-business governor, he would restore the funds he has eliminated to give students the opportunity to go to college and achieve the American dream.”

The General Assembly has repeatedly approved various spending plans, including individual measures to fund MAP grants, colleges and universities, since the budget process in 2015. All have met with vetoes by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The General Assembly reconvenes next week.

031616 js 0077SPRINGFIELD – In the midst of a nine-month budget impasse, the Illinois State Senate today passed a funding package that includes funding for services for those living with developmental disabilities. State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines), supported the legislation to ensure services for her constituents.

Murphy’s state senate district currently has the second highest number of individuals in the state living with developmental disabilities who are receiving no state services.  

“These funds are absolutely necessary to ensure that services are available for those living with autism, epilepsy and other developmental disabilities,” Murphy said. “As a state, we need to prioritize funding to help our neediest citizens.”

Additionally, several local centers such as Clearbrook in Arlington Heights, which provide services for people of all ages with developmental disabilities, are in danger of being forced to drastically cut or even eliminate services due to a lack of funds.

“Dozens of local families have contacted me, scared about what will happen to their loved ones if the state budget impasse continues. This legislation provides the funds necessary to ensure their loved ones receive the best care possible,” Murphy said.

The proposal also includes funding for MAP grants, which help cover the growing cost of higher education for students.

“In a state where 56 percent of the work force is required to have an education beyond high school, MAP grants are essential to helping students earn their education and enter our work force. This vote is for the more than 1,900 students in my district that depend on these funds to go to school and eventually get a job,” Murphy said.

The legislation, Senate Bill 2059, was part of a larger package that contained appropriations for programs that have received no state funding during the budget impasse, including public universities, community colleges, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. It now heads to the Illinois House of Representatives.

030216 js 0254SPRINGFIELD – Several pieces of legislation passed through the Senate Committee on Higher Education as a result of the College of DuPage scandal that has unfolded over the last few months.

State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) was a supporter of all of the legislation, which seek to increase transparency at community colleges and cut down on expensive perks for college officials.

“Community colleges are great resources for thousands of students around the state. They are not opportunities for bureaucrats to take advantage of hundreds of thousands of dollars of student and taxpayer money,” Murphy said.

The proposals will now head to the Senate floor for a vote.

Senate Bill 2155 – Requires the auditor general to audit one-third of all community colleges every year

Senate Bill 2156 – Prevents perks, such as room and board expenses, from being classified as pensionable earnings

Senate Bill 2157 – Requires four hours of professional training for new community college board trustees

Senate Bill 2158 – Prohibits community college boards from entering new employee contracts 45 days prior to Election Day for trustees

Senate Bill 2159 – Requires contract terms and annual performance reviews to increase transparency, and also forbids contract buyouts in cases of pending criminal charges

Senate Bill 2174 – Requires four hours of professional training for all voting members of a university governing board

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