Efforts to resolve homicide and other death investigations across the state received a big boost today with the signing of new, comprehensive training guidelines for coroners, State Representative Dan Brady announced. Representative Brady (R-Bloomington) spearheaded the new law in the General Assembly. He said the new training guidelines will be invaluable in helping coroners partner with law enforcement on evidence collection and handling to find answers in death investigations.
“Coroners play a very critical role in solving homicide and other cases involving a questionable death. How evidence is collected, preserved and transferred to law enforcement can literally make or break a case,” Representative Brady stressed. “With the very specific training protocols contained in this new law, coroners in Illinois will be well prepared to handle their unique role in homicide and other death investigations.”
The budget stalemate is dragging on in Springfield, but there was a bit of good news this week with passage of a “Federal Funds” budget that will allow for the spending of approximately $5 billion in federal funding to provide some temporary relief for vital program and services. 

I’ll keep you posted,


Democrats bow to pressure on pay increases

For months, my House Republican colleagues and I have been working to stop the automatic pay increase for members of the General Assembly scheduled to go into effect this month. The Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate for months blocked all attempts to stop their pay increase, but in the past two weeks both finally bowed to pressure from you, the taxpayers, and  voted down their raise. 

House Bill 576 freezes cost-of-living adjustments and other benefit compensations for General Assembly members and other high-ranking elected and appointed State officials in FY16. The bill received final General Assembly approval on Wednesday, August 5, and was sent to the Governor who is ready to sign it into law.

Federal funds budget will meet some emergency needs

While the state budget stalemate continues, there may be a bit of good news on the horizon. The Illinois House and Senate have now approved legislation to appropriate the federal funds allocated to Illinois in FY16 for spending and use. These federal funds, which total nearly $5 billion, are separate from the money paid by Illinois taxpayers to the State.

Programs that operate senior centers, Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition efforts, adult education programs, and home weatherization assistance offices are among the programs funded by federal grants that are funneled through the State. These programs may be able to maintain some of their operations during the stalemate with the help of this bill.

While the House Democrats initially pushed to derail the measure, they eventually came to their senses and worked with us to provide a bipartisan stopgap relief. The measure now returns to the Senate for concurrence, and could be sent to the Governor as soon as next week.

Governor Signs Rep. Brady's 

Homicide Evidence Handling Guidelines 

for Coroners

Legislation signed into law today will protect the quality of evidence specimens and the chain of custody in homicide cases. State Representative Dan Brady, the measure’s chief House sponsor, said House Bill 233 contains new evidence handling guidelines that will benefit death investigations, and reduce time consuming mandates on local coroners.

 “The outcome in death investigations often hinges on specimens collected for evidence being properly preserved and uncontaminated, and in the hands of the police as quickly as possible. That’s what these new guidelines will do,” Representative Brady said.

The new evidence handling guidelines are an agreement between the Illinois State Police and the Coroner’s Association. They require coroners to properly preserve specimens (by freezing, if equipment is available) and release them to investigating law enforcement agencies within 30 days. Police agencies receiving the specimens will submit them to a National DNA Index System-participating laboratory for analysis, and then provide the analysis and other findings to the Illinois State Police.

“These new guidelines require a faster release by coroners of the evidence in homicide investigations (previously 45 days), and allow for the police to pick up the evidence rather than wait for the coroner’s office to deliver it. That’s good for all concerned,” Representative Brady said. 
This week Governor Rauner received approval of his request to declare many Illinois counties, including McLean and Livingston, Agricultural Disaster Areas due to crop losses caused by the recent rain and flooding.

Area farmers who believe they may be eligible for assistance should contact their county Farm Service Agency office. Loan applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions you should contact the state FSA office at 217.241.6600. You can get more information here.
An Important Reminder: I am hosting a utility bill review with the Citizens Utility Board on Aug 25, 11-1, at Normal Public Library in the Community Room.

This is a great opportunity to make sure you are paying for service without incurring extra costs.  I highly encourage all to attend this event.  Please help me spread the word by alerting your neighbors and friends.

Bring your gas, electric and phone bills for a free, one-on-one consultation with a CUB expert, who will search for ways to lower your utility costs.

Please register by calling 312-263-7872.

"It was great honoring two Bloomington Normal 'icons'  Mary Ann Ford, retiring from the Pantagraph after 40 years; and Kevin Stearns, performing live music for 50 years! Congrats! And thanks to both of you!"  Representative Dan Brady said.
A new law authored by State Representative Dan Brady will help the process for life-saving organ donations. The Governor this week signed into law Brady’s House bill 4120 which will expedite the permitting process for briefly transferring a deceased organ donor out of state for donation.

“Organ donation is a process where every minute matters. The more quickly the donation and transplant procedures can be accomplished, the better the chance of success,” Representative Brady stressed. 

Representative Brady’s new law will allow a permit signed by a licensed funeral director or embalmer to serve in place of more time-consuming documents issued by a registrar to transport a deceased organ donor out of Illinois for up to 36 hours to complete the donation procedures where they are needed.
Legislation signed into law Sunday will ensure Illinois seniors and others living with chronic eye conditions can obtain refills when needed of their eye drop medications. Public Act 99-0226, spearheaded by Representative Dan Brady (R-Bloomington), requires insurance companies to refill eye-drop medications before the anticipated refill date for those with a chronic need.

“For those with glaucoma, chronic dry eye, and other serious running out of medication could put their vision at risk, but precise dosing of eye drops is nearly impossible. Sometimes it takes several tries to actually get the drops in the eyes, so medication is wasted and the bottle is empty before the refill date arrives,” Brady explained. “This new law simply tells insurance providers that as long as at least 75% of the prescription period has passed, they must approve refills of needed eye medications early for those with chronic eye conditions.”