June 25, 2015
What a week. Monday night was one of the scariest situations I have ever been in, and I’m sure a lot of you felt the same way. I spent much of the night in my basement with my family, hoping and praying a tornado wouldn’t devastate our communities. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did quite a bid a damage to Coal City and other parts of the 38th Senate District, as tornados damaged homes, took down trees and power lines, and destroyed other property.
I was at the Grundy County Emergency Operating Center late Monday night getting updates and then went to Coal City first thing Tuesday morning, helping coordinate recovery efforts with state and local leaders.
I also toured the damage with Gov. Bruce Rauner and other emergency personnel. The devastation is widespread in Coal City, and I feel for this community. I am thankful no one was killed or seriously injured.
Think about that. When you see the images from Coal City, the fact that no one was killed or seriously injured is a miracle. I want to thank the National Weather Service, our weather spotters, and other emergency personnel who gave advance warning to this community and others around the 38th Senate District. Their actions, and people heeding their warnings, are the reasons we have no loss of life.
The National Weather Service says at least five tornadoes touched down in our region, in Will, Kankakee, Lee, Grundy, and LaSalle counties. We will be working hand-in-hand over the next several months with local leaders and the state to make sure everyone impacted by this storm gets back on their feet. One of the biggest reasons why I love our communities is because people will do whatever it takes to help others, and the people are resilient. These acts of selflessness are not only very much appreciated, but they make us stronger. I want to thank everyone who is helping, volunteering, or donating money to storm victims.
***A call hotline has been set up by Coal City officials for residents who were affected and for people that want to volunteer. The number is 815-518-3047. To donate to storm victims, you can visit this website: www.cfgrundycounty.com/donate-online/.
Governor Rauner also issued a state disaster proclamation for Lee and Grundy counties on Tuesday to make available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from the storms.
I am confident our communities impacted by these storm will bounce back quickly and become even stronger and close-knit. Check out this video to see what I mean:
I wish you a great weekend and all the best, especially if you are cleaning up or helping someone clean up. Please be careful if you are helping out as there is a lot of glass and sharp nails all over. Wear steal toed boots.
State Sen. Sue Rezin
Storm Photos from Coal City
Please be careful over the next week! Our rivers and streams are getting high! Read more in this article from the Herald News: http://www.theherald-news.com/2015/06/25/grundy-will-counties-under-flood-warnings/aab61s3/
Senate Week in Review: June 22 – 26
Springfield- Despite another long session day, Illinois is just a few days from the beginning of the next fiscal year with no notable progress made on a balanced budget, said State Senator Sue Rezin said.
Governor Rauner took action to ensure that Illinois schools won’t be used as pawns in the continuing gridlock, by signing education funding legislation into law.
The Illinois Senate held another Committee of the Whole meeting, this time on the topics of minimum wage and mandatory paid sick time, but no legislative action was taken on either subject or the budget.
Lawmakers in the House shot down a bipartisan measure aimed at delaying a massive $600+ million pension payment that will soon be due for the Chicago Public School District.
Residents in Northern Illinois are still cleaning up after several tornadoes tore through the region at the start of the week. Stormy and rainy weather continued over much of the week, swelling rivers and causing the National Weather Service to repeatedly issue flood warnings.
Governor Rauner signs education funding
Democrat leaders finally began sending pieces of their unbalanced budget proposal to the Governor. While the entire Democrat budget represents a $3+ billion underfunded spending plan, the education portion actually appropriates less money for schools than the Governor’s proposal. Nonetheless, it represented a slight increase from FY2015 funding, and the Rauner said he signed the measure into law to, “ensure our teachers are paid and our schools are open and funded.”
The Governor’s action will make it much more difficult for Democrat leaders to hold schools hostage by threatening that the schools wouldn’t open without a budget in place.
Last year’s budget prorated General State Aid at only 87%. The legislation Rauner signed will raise that level to 92%.
Senate hears testimony on mandatory sick time and minimum wage
On Tuesday, June 16, the Senate held another “Committee of the Whole” meeting to discuss mandatory sick time and increasing the state minimum wage. Both topics brought employees and members of the business community to talk about their views on the topics. No legislative action was expected or taken on either subject.
The hearing was lambasted by Senate Republicans as another day of political theatre, where no progress was made on passing pro-job reforms or a balanced state budget.
The current fiscal year ends on June 30. If no budget is in place by July 1, there will be no spending authority for many vital state agencies and programs.
Instead of working to make sure our employees get paid and important programs can keep their doors open, Democrat leadership wasted another week by refusing to work with the Governor to grow jobs and balance the budget, said Senator Rezin said.
House rejects pension payment delay for Chicago schools
Lawmakers in the Illinois House failed to pass legislation to create a 40 day delay before the Chicago Public School District’s $634 million pension payment is due. The bill was requested by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to give the city more time to figure out how to make the payment. The proposed delay would have meant the bill wasn’t due until August 10th, when the first state aid payment is due and after some city revenue would have come in.
DCEO privatization bill passes the Illinois House
The Illinois House passed a measure to create a new, private Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The idea was initially proposed by Rauner, inspired by successful private programs in several other states.
Before passage however, Democrats inserted several amendments that may kill the effort, including a three year sunset provision. Many experts believe that three years simply isn’t enough time for the agency to become viable.
Tornadoes rip through Northern Illinois
Mother Nature ravaged Northern Illinois on Monday, with multiple tornadoes and severe thunderstorms damaging to homes, taking down trees and power lines, and destroying other property.
The National Weather Service says at least five tornadoes touched down in the region, in Will, Kankakee, Lee, Grundy, and LaSalle counties. The two strongest tornadoes were rated EF-2, which is considered strong with winds from 111-135 mph. One of the EF-2’s left a ¾ mile-long damage path from Coal City to Braidwood, with the other on the ground for a ½ mile from Woodhaven Lakes to just South of Sublette.
Governor Bruce Rauner issued a state disaster proclamation for Lee and Grundy counties to make available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from the storms. The Governor also directed the deployment of Illinois Task Force 1, an 80-member search and rescue team, to assist local responders with search and rescue efforts.
Click here for video of recovery efforts in Coal City:
Heavy rains pushes rivers into flood stage
As heavy rains continue to fall throughout Illinois, many rivers continue to push higher into flood stage. In Morris, the Illinois River level reached more than 19 feet, with anything over 16 considered moderate flood. Further downstream at Peoria, flood forecasts estimated river levels would break 27 feet. In Meredosia, levels had already broken into the major flood category by Monday.
The Mississippi river levels were reaching similar high water marks, with gauges from Canton South to Clarksville reading minor to moderate flood stage, and levels at Hardin continued to push higher into the major flooding category.
Heavy rains continue to hamper farmers
Statewide rainfall averaged 3.61 inches, 2.5 inches more than normal, leaving just 0.8 days rated as suitable for fieldwork according to United States Department of Agriculture. Continued precipitation has kept the fields wet as well, with topsoil moisture rated as 56% surplus and subsoil moisture as 43% surplus.
The 2015 soybean crop is now rated at 91% complete, just a single percentage point gain from the previous week, and behind both 2014 and the five year average, with both at 96%.
Crops still look good throughout much of the state however, with 70% of the corn rated as good or excellent, and 60% of soybean receiving the same ratings.