Senator Schimpf invited to the White House
Senator Schimpf is pleased to announce he has accepted an invitation by President Donald Trump and the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to attend a conference with Illinois State and local leaders.
Sen. Schimpf will visit the White House in Washington, D.C. next month. His trip’s agenda will consist of a tour of the White House as well as a discussion with key administration officials and policymakers on pertinent issues impacting the State of Illinois.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity to represent my constituents and the State of Illinois,” said Sen. Schimpf. “This is a critical opportunity to make sure the administration understands the unique trade and infrastructure needs of our region."
Senator Schimpf was among 36 select lawmakers to complete leadership training in Minneapolis earlier this week for The Council of State Governments’ 24th Annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development (BILLD). The group was founded to help new legislators meet the demands of their positions. Sen. Schimpf attended seminars and discussed a variety of public policy issues.
In addition to its focus on leadership training, such as conflict resolution and negotiation, BILLD includes policy sessions on issues such as education, corrections, health care and economic development, as well as seminars on media relations, priority management, and consensus building.
Safety and operation improvements under consideration at Chester Mental Health Center
Senator Schimpf along with several other southern Illinois legislators are looking to improve safety and operations at Chester Mental Health Center in Chester. The group held a discussion with the Director of the Illinois Department of Human Services’ (IDHS) Division of Mental Health, the Chester Mental Health Center (CMHC) Leadership team, and other IDHS leaders on Monday, Aug. 6.
The group discussed the safety and wellbeing of patients and employees. The facility is designed to provide care and treatment for all adult males in the State of Illinois who require a greater degree of structure and security than can be provided in any of the other state mental health facilities. The challenges with patients are oftentimes greater than with inmates in a correctional facility.
“Chester Mental Health Center has historically gone through challenges with staffing and resources over the years, but for the past three months it has been running under new leadership,” said Sen. Schimpf. “It was important for us to visit and learn more about the new ideas and increased efforts to address staffing shortages and violence prevention. This facility is in my district and the staff’s safety along with the future of this facility are my main concerns.”
IDHS leaders highlighted the trainings and violence prevention efforts currently in process to help staff successfully manage Chester’s patient population. As of Aug. 9, Chester serves 273 patients. Of those patients, 89 were civilly committed and 184 were committed by the state’s courts. Of those commitments, 154 patients require maximum security care and 30 need medium security.
Governor Rauner signs Schimpf bill, helps military spouses, reduces teacher shortage in Illinois
Governor Rauner and Senator Schimpf continued their commitment to improve educational outcomes for students across the state this month. On Aug. 11, the governor signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Schimpf to address the Illinois teacher shortage and provide military spouses with more teaching opportunities.
Senate Bill 2658 extends the validity of a Professional Educator License with Stipulations from two years to three years for service members and their spouses.
"This law makes it easier for military spouses to secure work in Illinois as a teacher," said Sen. Schimpf. "It not only addresses our teacher shortage, but helps ease the burden on military families by permitting a spouse of an active duty military member to work for up to three years. This is very helpful, as our service members and their families are often in transition, but this offers some stability and peace of mind."
According to a 2017 Teacher Shortage Survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, 78 percent of the districts surveyed identified either a minor or serious problem with teacher shortages and over half indicated a serious problem with substitute teacher shortages. This law was part of Senator Schimpf's ‘Eight for '18' legislative priorities.
Welcoming home our soldiers
Sen. Schimpf helped welcome home the 661st Engineering Fire Fighting Team of the Illinois National Guard on Aug. 16. The six-person unit was joined by family and friends at the Sparta Armory. They were returning from Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve where they provided fire emergency services and prevention efforts.
Contest artwork now on display
The winning artwork from Senator Schimpf’s "Celebrate the State" Illinois Bicentennial Art Contest is now on display in his capitol office. Sen. Schimpf could not be more proud of the young artists who participated. The art will remain on display until his second annual contest starts, it is set to open in Spring 2019.