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More than $5 million in emergency state funding has been earmarked for needed repairs on the
Illinois State University Campus in Normal. State Representative Dan Brady, the Republican Spokesman on the House Appropriations-Higher Education, along with State Senator Jason Barickman, said the funding for ISU is part of a larger emergency appropriation approved by lawmakers in the state’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget to help universities with critical building repairs and life-safety work.

“I have been working with all entities involved to secure funding for these high-priority projects, and this summer Governor Rauner toured the campus to see the need for repairs first-hand,” Representative Brady said. “Enabling these vital improvements to move forward is a win for our entire community.”

Representative Brady said projects on the ISU campus that will be funded by the Higher Education Emergency Appropriation include approximately $3 million for emergency repairs for the College of Fine Arts Complex and an additional $2.2 million for roof replacements at Turner Hall and the Ropp Agriculture Building.

Rep. Brady noted that the Comptroller now has authority to release the funding to ISU once repair costs begin to be incurred.

Legislation signed into state law today will be a key component in helping stop the student “brain
drain” facing our state colleges and universities. The new law’s author, State Representative Dan Brady (R-Normal), said the new law will help Illinois institutions of higher learning better focus on local students’ interests and career goals so they can complete their education here at home.

“Our state has long been the second largest exporter of high school students in the country, and when Illinois high school students leave us for college, they seldom return,” said Representative Brady, who serves as Republican Spokesman on the House Appropriations-Higher Education Committee. “This new law will help bring together educational institutions and interest groups to determine how Illinois can better share information on students’ needs and goals so we can keep our brightest here."

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 1991-2014 enrollment at Illinois public universities and community colleges declined by 50,000 students. Since the 1960’s, Illinois has been a net negative exporter of college students in the country.

 Representative Brady’s new law (House Bill 4781) creates the College and Career Interest Task Force which will work on a process by which Illinois public high school students’ college or career interest data can be collected and shared amongst public colleges and universities in Illinois.  The Task Force is an initiative of the Higher Education Working Group.

“Previously, our colleges and universities had to purchase these types of lists from vendors in an attempt to recruit students. That’s money that can now be redirected to tailoring classes and programs to meet students’ future goals,” Representative Brady said.  “Working together with our universities, we can change the system and encourage more Illinois students to consider continuing their education here in Illinois.”
At a school-wide assembly, State Representative Dan Brady today presented Prairie Central High School students and faculty with a state House Resolution recognizing and thanking them for their ongoing project mapping local cemeteries. House Resolution 1133 was unanimously adopted by members of the Illinois House in May.

“This ongoing project is a great gift to our communities, our history, and to future generations who will seek to know more about their ancestors resting in our local cemeteries,” Representative Brady said.

Prairie Central High School geography teacher Andrew Quain began the cemetery mapping project in the fall of 2015 stressing that it was important to him to participate in a project that had lasting power; something that his “students could work on and see the results.” Students digitally plot the location of gravestones using GPS technology, and also perform geographic analysis and research individuals buried in the cemeteries. Once students are finished collecting data, the information is uploaded to create an interactive map online that, when complete, will allow users to search for the location of and information about graves in the cemeteries.

“To date, students have mapped more than 13,000 gravestones across eight cemeteries in McLean and Livingston Counties. Our Resolution recognizes their hard work that will be so important to those researching their genealogy and family history,” Representative Brady concluded.
The final hours of the spring legislative session in Springfield yielded some very good news for the town of Normal. Representative Dan Brady announced that both chambers of the General Assembly have now passed House Bill 1910 which extends the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in the Town of Normal from 23 to 35 years. The TIF District was adopted in 2003, and so is currently about 15 years old. 

“Town leaders in Normal have stressed how important this extension will be for continued economic development plans in the community. I am very pleased that Senator Barickman and I received strong bi- partisan and bi-cameral support for the future growth and development of Normal,” Representative Brady said.
State Representative Dan Brady and fellow members of the bipartisan, bicameral Higher Education Working group Tuesday unveiled a series of proposals to strengthen Illinois colleges and universities, and to make them more affordable and more attractive to Illinois students.

“For far too long we have been suffering from a severe ‘brain drain’ in Illinois as more and more of
our students choose to attend college elsewhere. The proposal we are unveiling today are aimed at keeping our best and brightest here to complete their education, and then to put their skills to work in our communities,” Rep. Brady said.
Responding to the news of planned layoffs at State Farm's headquarters in Bloomington,  Rep. Brady issued the following statement Tuesday:

“I am very disappointed to hear about the job cuts planned by State Farm at its headquarters here in Bloomington. Obviously hundreds of local families depend upon those jobs and will be facing uncertainty. The expected addition of several hundred new positions at State Farm’s local claims division is a positive though, and it is my hope that many of the laid-off workers can take advantage of these new positions or others within the company. I am ready to work with State Farm and local employees in any way I can help.”

Rep. Dan Brady shares his views on the state budget, pension reform, higher education and more. Click here for the latest edition of  the new podcast Have All Voted Who Wish.