Legislators voice concerns about cutting of services
Two area legislators joined on June 22 to voice concerns about what they see as more critical services being slashed in Southern Illinois.
State Reps. John Bradley, D-Marion, and Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign legislation widely supported by Republicans and Democrats that would provide immediate relief to the region’s most vulnerable residents and the nonprofit agencies that assist them.
“There is a bill that passed with bipartisan support sitting on the governor’s desk that, if signed, would provide immediate relief to struggling families in Southern Illinois,” Bradley said in a news release.
The news release was issued by Bradley and Phelps.
“Every day that passes without the governor signing this bill, more services are going to be cut, more lives are going to be put at risk, and more Southern Illinoisans will be put in the unemployment line," Bradley said.
"The governor talks about the political parties needing to come together, and that’s exactly what happened with this bill – yet the governor still refuses to cooperate.”
Bradley’s comments came on the heels of another agency in Illinois announcing the elimination of services to thousands of residents in the region.
On Tuesday, June 21, Centerstone announced the elimination of multiple services for struggling families in Southern Illinois.
These programs include community-based youth services, crisis stabilization services, homeless youth prevention and psychiatric medication support services.
The elimination of these programs is the result of the state owing approximately $6 million to the organization.
Senate Bill 2038 is an emergency funding bill to provide resources to social service agencies like Centerstone.
The legislation passed the General Assembly with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans.
Bradley and Phelps said that the bill was sent to Rauner’s desk for his signature to become law on May 18, where it remained unsigned.
The two legislators said that many struggling families in Southern Illinois would receive some much-needed relief, specifically frail senior citizens, children with disabilities, victims of rape and homeless veterans.
Local residents and service providers were urging the governor to sign the bill, they said.
“Governor Rauner is literally starving these agencies by waiting them out and not signing this bipartisan emergency funding bill,” Phelps said.
“This is a siege on Southern Illinois by a Chicago governor and our most vulnerable residents are being hurt the most. The bill has been sitting on his desk for over a month, and instead of helping places like Centerstone keep their doors open, he’s shutting their doors. It’s shameful.”