Representative Dan Swanson’s March 8 Capitol News Update


  • Governor proposes new spending, taxes
  • Department of Corrections career information events
  • Proton therapy cancer treatment expands with bipartisan support
  • Galesburg leaders attend Emerging Women Leaders conference

Governor Pritzker proposes $2 billion in new spending, $1 billion in new taxes

We’ve had a couple of weeks to digest the Governor’s budget proposal since the State of the State Address back on February 21.

In all, the budget proposal includes $2 billion in new state spending supported by an additional $1 billion in new state taxes on businesses and families. This new spending comes at a time when revenue estimates for the state have declined, and when we have reached the end of the federal COVID relief money that has supported so much of the spending in the past couple of years.

Much of the new spending will be directed to existing state programs, most controversially the Health Benefit Coverage for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefit Coverage for Immigrant Seniors programs. These programs currently cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion each year.

The House has five appropriations committees, each assigned a certain group of state agencies and programs. I serve on the appropriations committee for higher education. These committees held hearings this week – the first of many – to examine each aspect of the budget and start work on putting together the final bill which we will likely vote on in late May.

Department of Corrections hosting career information events

The Illinois Department of Corrections will be hosting a series of informational events around the state – including in our area – for prospective applicants for jobs in the department. DOC is looking for correctional officers, but also nurses, social workers, office associates and more. In total there are more than 30 DOC facilities throughout the state with open job opportunities.

In our area, DOC recruiters will be meeting with interested applicants at Black Hawk College in Moline on March 21, and at a workshop in Havana on April 17. There are other events happening across the state during March and April. For more information on the locations and times of these local events, or to find out more about events elsewhere in Illinois, please click here.

Proton therapy cancer treatment expands with bipartisan support

Lately there have been a lot of examples of hyper-partisan rhetoric, and few instances of elected officials working together to improve the lives of those they represent. Illinois has been no exception to this trend, but there is some good news when it comes to the two parties working together in the fight against cancer.

Last year the General Assembly passed legislation making it easier for cancer patients to receive proton beam therapy as part of their treatment plan. This therapy is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, but is often restricted by insurance companies. Proton beam therapy is offered at several facilities throughout Illinois, both in the Chicago area and downstate. It is a way of attacking cancer cells without causing as much damage to healthy tissue nearby.

Thanks to the new law we passed together last year, the list of sites in Illinois where this new therapy is available is growing, and access is improving. Good things really can happen when the two parties are willing to work together.

Galesburg leaders join Emerging Women Leaders conference in Springfield

This week the House Republican Caucus hosted the annual Emerging Women Leaders conference in Springfield, and two of our local leaders form Galesburg were among the honored guests.

Naomi Law, a retired educator and author, and Shirley Chu, a restaurant owner who provided meals to first responders and hospital workers during the COVID pandemic, represented the 71st district at the conference. During the day they had the opportunity to observe the House of Representatives, participate in workshops and breakout sessions, and meet with leaders from around the state, including House Republican Leader Tony McCombie and Springfield mayor Misty Buscher.

In all more than 50 women leaders from every part of Illinois were part of the conference.

AlWood student was House Page for a Day

Haley Gierach, a senior at AlWood High School joined us in Springfield as a Page for a Day Wednesday.

I always enjoy having students come to the Capitol to see first-hand how the General Assembly works. It was great having Haley visit us this week.

Haley is active in many different activities at AlWood, including band, choir, theater, scholastic bowl, yearbook and art clubs, and is the treasurer of the school’s National Honor Society chapter. After graduation she is headed to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to study communications.

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