Governor Bruce Rauner today added Alexander, Christian, Clinton, Douglas and Morgan counties to the state disaster declaration for widespread flooding. This brings the statewide total of declared counties to 12.

On Tuesday, Gov. Rauner declared Calhoun, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair counties.

Governor Rauner will return to Springfield Thursday evening and will spend the following several days in Central and Southern Illinois viewing flood damage, thanking volunteers and ensuring communities have everything they need.

A state disaster declaration makes a wide variety of state resources available that can help communities respond and recover from flooding. Such resources include sandbag, sand, pumps, trucks and other heavy equipment and other assistance to ensure public safety.

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield was activated Monday morning to coordinate the state’s flood response. The SEOC will remain open until the threat has passed.

For updates on the current situation, visit the Ready Illinois website at

On January 1, 237 new laws will take effect in Illinois. Unfortunately, a balanced budget is not among them.

Several of the new laws affect children, veterans and the elderly. Others affect drivers and consumers. Here's a quick look at some of the more notable laws taking effect on Friday, January 1.  A full list of new laws can be found here.
Farm Credit Illinois is once again offering scholarships to high school seniors in the state.

Liz Koehler, marketplace communication specialist for Farm Credit, told WGEL the scholarships are available to seniors who plan to pursue an agriculture related major and career.

To apply, students can visit Two applications are available. One is for traditional agriculture scholarships. The other type is urban agriculture scholarships, for students who didn’t grow up in a traditional farm setting. Read more at WGEL radio 101.7 FM.
Under the terms of a new Illinois law effective on January 1, 2016, families will be able – for the first time – to legally install monitoring cameras in the nursing home rooms occupied by their loved ones.

The safety of senior citizens in nursing homes is a serious concern. Every year, the Illinois Department of Public Health receives approximately 19,000 complains of abuse and neglect against long term care facilities. While some of these complaints prove upon investigation to be unfounded, these facilities house some of Illinois’ most vulnerable residents. The new law was supported by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

The cameras will have the capability to stream video to an observant family member. In House debate, supporters of the bill told their colleagues that the measure will sharply increase the peace of mind of family members who will utilize the new law to monitor the safety of their loved ones. Similar cameras and video streams are often used, under existing law, by Illinois working families to monitor the health and safety of young children in a home or day care environment.

The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the state from west central Illinois to the Patoka Tank Farm in northern Marion County. Read the rest of the story by Bruce Kropp at WJBD Radio here.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced in September that his office would suspend mailing out vehicle registration renewal reminders to the public due to the lack of a state budget. In order to receive a reminder, you must sign-up to receive electronic notices through the Secretary of State’s web site

Click here to sign up, you will need your Registration ID and PIN number found on your current registration card. If you do not have your current registration card, please call the Public Inquiry Division at 800-252-8980 to obtain your Registration ID and PIN number.

When making the announcement, White noted that suspending this service would save approximately $450,000 per month, and allow his office to prolong the mailing of vehicle registration renewal stickers, titles and license plates to vehicle owners.

While those who receive emailed vehicle registration renewal notices will continue to have access to a pin number needed to renew their sticker on-line, those who do not sign-up for the electronic alerts will now have to renew their vehicle stickers in person at a Secretary of State office.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my district office at (618) 548-9080 or by email at [email protected].

Congratulations to the City of Greenville and the Bicentennial Committee for an outstanding job of planning and sponsoring many activities during 2015. I think the parade was most memorable for me and Connie. The variety of entries and the number of residents and visitors to Greenville was impressive! You may read the resolution here. The final event for the year is the Gala on December 31, 2015.
Today the Illinois House passed SB2039 (Amendment #3) to fund many areas of the Illinois budget at a cost of over $3.1 billion, including the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), state grants to emergency telephone systems known as 9-1-1, local government distributive funds and Motor Fuel Tax funds to counties, municipalities and road districts.
Federal officials want landowners in Illinois and nine other states to grow milkweed to boost the population of monarch butterflies.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is due to spend $4 million in 2016 to help farmers and others plant milkweed and other nectar-producing plants. Milkweed is essential for monarchs because it is the only plant on which the butterfly will lay its eggs. The monarch's journey to and from Mexico takes three to four generations.

"We're looking to re-establish habitats for monarchs and pollinators in general," said Shannon Zezula, state resource conservationist with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, told The (Bloomington) Herald-Times. You may read the full Associated Press article here.
Watch the beginning of the meeting live at 2:30 p.m. when governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders (Speaker Madigan, House Minority Leader Durkin, Senate President Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Radogno meet to discuss the Illinois state budget. If you have problems with the first live feed, please try here.