05092019CM0855CARLINVILLE – Utility costs for Blackburn College’s Carlinville campus may be reduced by up to 60 percent thanks to a new renewable energy project stemming from a collaboration between the college and the Central Illinois Economic Development Authority.

The 5,546 panel solar farm will be developed by IL Solar of Litchfield on the north side of Blackburn College’s 80 acre campus.

“The collaboration between Blackburn, the authority and the contractor is a ‘best practices’ model for getting the most from limited resources,” said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), whose district includes Blackburn’s campus. “As we move forward, it’s key that we find energy solutions that both protect our environment and lower energy costs.”

“Utility costs are Blackburn’s second largest expense. This facility will provide a significant savings,” said Dr. Julie Murray-Jansen, president of Blackburn College. “It will also play a role in the college’s student work plan. Students will be involved in monitoring the solar farm operation.”

“It is gratifying to see CIEDA and Blackburn form this partnership to reduce energy costs and give students hands on experience in a growth industry,” said Carlinville Mayor Deanna Demuzio.

The development authority will issue a $3 million low-interest bond to help finance the project. It will also benefit from credits under the 2017 Illinois Future Jobs Act.

“I was on campus this past weekend to speak at Blackburn’s commencement ceremony and there was a lot of buzz about this project,” Manar said. “This is going to be a major boon for the college and for its students, who will have the opportunity to get valuable hands-on experience as a result of this new development.”

The project is expected to be completed and in operation by late summer.

Category: Latest News

03202019CM0117SPRINGFIELD – The Senate Education Committee passed legislation Tuesday sponsored by State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) that would remove barriers to graduation for some high school students.

House Bill 2165 would remove the requirement that all students must complete an algebra II course in order to graduate high school.

The change is designed to eliminate a barrier to graduation for students who do not wish to pursue a post-secondary degree or choose to work in a vocational field.

“Algebra II is an important course for many high school students, but not everyone graduates high school with the intention to continue their education at the post-secondary level and it’s time we acknowledge this and provide more options for students who want to enter the workforce immediately,” Manar said. “Every child is different and a one-size-fits-all curriculum is not going to effectively serve the diverse needs of Illinois students.”

High school students would still be required to take three years of math as a requirement for graduation under the legislation, one of which must be algebra I and one of which must include geometry content.

The measure was approved by the Education Committee unanimously. It will now go before the entire Senate.

Category: Latest News

04102019CW0149SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) commended Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s decision this week to join a 44-state coalition suing the some of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers for artificially inflating prices for lifesaving medications.

“Pharmaceutical companies have been expanding their profit margins and reducing competition for years at the expense of men and women who need their products to survive,” Manar said. “I’m glad to see that Attorney General Raoul recognizes the dire consequences these artificially high prices can have on Illinoisans and that he’s committing our state to standing up to the prescription drug industry.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, names 20 pharmaceutical companies and 15 executives who are responsible for manipulating prices and limiting the availability of prescription medications.

The complaint alleges that the drug manufacturers conspired to fix prices for name-brand medications and restrain trade for more than 100 generic drugs. In some cases, coordinated price increases were over 1,000 percent.

“In my district, I’ve seen firsthand the serious financial implications these price increases can have on working families – particularly in rural communities where consumers have limited access to pharmacies,” Manar said. “Now is the time to take these bad actors to task and this lawsuit is a good step toward doing so.”

Category: Latest News

05092019 Manar

SPRINGFIELD – Improvements to the Illinois State Police Department’s Joliet crime lab and increasing contracting opportunities for minorities were the focus as lawmakers met Thursday in Springfield to hear about the state’s infrastructure improvement needs.

Members of the Joint Subcommittees on Capital, led by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago), heard testimony from the Illinois State Police and members of local government about local infrastructure projects that need to be funded and potential revenue sources to pay for them.

“The depth and breadth of the state’s infrastructure needs is mind boggling. The takeaway from these Senate hearings is simple: There is tremendous need throughout Illinois for highway construction, bridge repairs, college and university building projects, environmental investments and more,” Manar said.

“Our challenge now is finding a way to pay for them. I’m eager to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a way to make these long-overdue investments in our infrastructure and make a plan for doing so on a more regular basis.”

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly recommended directing funding to improving to the department’s Joliet crime lab, which he said is in dire need investment to bring it up to current forensic science standards.

“The needs are getting to the point where it’s a desperate situation,” Kelly said. “There are people there that do hard work every day that are going to decide the fate of people who have been charged with a crime or that are going to decide whether a victim gets justice.”

The Springfield hearing was the eighth and final installment of the subcommittees’ tour of the state to hear input from interested groups about infrastructure improvement needs. Lawmakers will now consider the testimony they heard over the last few months as they develop a plan to fund construction projects in Illinois.

Category: Latest News

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