Senator Barickman’s Senate Week in Review: May 18

Barickman welcomes Teacher of the Year to Senate

The Illinois Senate got an up-close look at the face of teaching excellence, as the chamber welcomed Dwight Township High School’s Lindsey Jensen, the 2018 Illinois Teacher of the Year, according to State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).

“Teachers have such an enormous impact on their students. They helped shape us into who we are and they continue to shape the next generations,” said Sen. Barickman. “It’s incredibly important to recognize them for the vital work they do and to honor excellence in education, of which Lindsey is an outstanding example.”

Lindsey teaches AP English, American Literature, Poetry, Drama, Creative Writing, and Shakespeare at Dwight Township High School, and has also served as Drama Director, Cheerleading Coach, Musical Director, Gamers Club Supervisor, Polar Plunge Team Coordinator, and Student Council Advisor.

She is currently finishing up her PhD at Illinois State University, not to move out of teaching and into administration, but with the goal of becoming the best educator that she can be. She was nominated for the 2017-18 “Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year” by Tim Henson, Dwight Chief of Police, and Dwight Public School District 230.

“It is the greatest honor of my life to serve as the 2018 Illinois Teacher of the Year, a role that has allowed me to cultivate a fierce, unapologetic voice for educational advocacy,” said Jensen. “I want to thank Senator Barickman for all that he does to elevate the teaching profession and to celebrate all teachers.”

Nominations for Teacher of the Year were scored three times by a committee established by the Illinois State Board of Education. Video-taped interviews were then conducted with ten remaining finalists to be reviewed, along with their nomination packets by State School Superintendent Tony Smith. Based on Lindsey’s passion for teaching, her commitment to students, and her dedication to the profession, Superintendent Smith selected her to be the 2018 Illinois Teacher of the Year.

“It’s a tremendous blessing to have great teachers like Lindsey throughout our state,” said Barickman. “We owe a great deal of gratitude to all of our teachers for the dedication and commitment they give every day to improving the lives of our students.”

give every day to improving the lives of our students.”

Barickman passes legislation to modernize election rules

Candidates for certain offices could soon be ditching certain paper filings and moving to modern electronic methods, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Barickman and approved by the Illinois Senate.

“This is about giving our local and state government the ability to modernize part of a candidate’s filing and reduce clutter,” said Sen. Barickman. “This will reduce the costs and time involved in a process that is common for candidates at multiple levels.”

House Bill 4395 would allow local candidates to file electronic Statements of Local Interests, if that statement is filed with the county clerk, and if electronic filing is an option with that office.

For state legislative candidates, the ethics officer for the individual caucus would determine whether the members of that caucus would file electronically or on paper.

Statewide candidates who file with the Illinois Secretary of State would still be required to file on paper.

“Any time we can speed up, simplify, and improve the efficiency of government, it is a good move,” said Barickman. “This is just another small step toward those goals.”

The legislation passed the Senate on May 16 with an amendment, so it is now headed to the Illinois House for a concurrence vote. If it passes the House again, it will then be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Senate passes Barickman’s legislation to honor fallen firefighter

Illinois is one step closer to honoring the dedication and sacrifice of a firefighter who lost his life in the line of duty 30 years ago, thanks to legislation sponsored by Senator Barickman and adopted by the Illinois Senate May 10.

“It’s important that we remember and honor those who sacrificed all for our safety,” said Sen. Barickman. “I hope this memorial and Dana’s memory will continue to inspire future generations.”

Dana Schoolman was a volunteer firefighter with the Ashkum Township Fire Protection District for six years. Schoolman was killed in an accident while responding to a medical emergency call on Nov. 6, 1988. He was 31 years old and was survived by his wife, Anne, and two children.

Senate Joint Resolution 8 designates the section of U.S. Route 45 from Illinois State Route 116 to Iroquois County Road 2400 North as the “Firefighter Dana Schoolman Memorial Highway” and directs the Illinois Department of Transportation to place signs denoting it as such.

“November 6 will be the 30th anniversary of his death, so it’s really nice to see this finally moving forward. The Senator and his staff have been amazing, we couldn’t have done this without them,” said Anne Schoolman. “My children and I are so proud of Dana and I’m so glad that he’s finally being recognized for his total sacrifice.”

Senate Joint Resolution 8 is now headed to the Illinois House for consideration in that chamber.

Budget negotiations continue

Budget negotiators from both sides of the aisle, and from both chambers, continued work toward a balanced budget this past week.  As those negotiations continued, the four legislative leaders met with Governor Rauner all in an attempt to meet the May 31 deadline for passing a budget.  Republicans remains committed to ensuring the state passes a balanced budget without another tax increase.

Sports Betting

A recent major ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court May 14 striking down a 26-year old federal law banning commercial sports betting in most states is beginning to be felt here in Illinois. Legalizing sports betting in Illinois has been a topic of conversation in the General Assembly for years, including legislative hearings. Some legislators now want to move forward with legislation authorizing online sports betting

Proponents argue it could be a way to generate more revenue for Illinois. Combined, video and riverboat gaming generated more than $836 million in tax revenue for state government in 2017. However, opponents contend there are many negative societal costs to gaming and expanding legalization to include sports betting adds to those costs.

Currently, there are several pending proposals at the Capitol about how Illinois could legalize sports gambling.

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