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Stadelman: Budget and infrastructure plan contain big wins for Rockford

Casino approval, passenger rail and airport funding prevail in final day of spring legislative session

For the second year in a row, the Illinois Senate has voted to approve a bipartisan budget -- and this time there’s funding for passenger rail service to Rockford, a casino for Rockford and funds for the Rockford airport included. State Senator Steve Stadelman, after voting Sunday to approve the balanced budget, expressed excitement over the developments and infrastructure Rockford is slated to receive.

“I think this budget is another step in the right direction of creating a fiscally stable Illinois,” Stadelman said. “Additionally, the jobs and revenue created by a casino will not only help keep that budget stable, but will see some much needed growth come to Rockford.”

Stadelman fought for a larger expansion of gaming that included casinos in Chicago and five border communities over a more basic plan to only would have made sports betting legal in Illinois.

"This is really an effort to stop people from crossing state lines and spending their entertainment dollars here," he said.

In the final hours of an extended spring legislative session Sunday, the Senate also approved a comprehensive infrastructure package that will see $45 billion dollars invested into local communities for projects such as roads, bridges and community development.

“I don’t think there is one person who would say we don’t need to make huge investments in fixing our roads,” Stadelman said. “This package will help us modernize and rebuild our state.” 

Included in the infrastructure package is s $275 million for passenger rail service to Rockford, a longstanding priority of Senator Stadelman.

“Getting fast, reliable rail service to Rockford can only serve as a benefit to the local economy,” said Stadelman, who worked to obtain funding to restore passenger rail between Rockford and Chicago under Gov. Pat Quinn in 2014. When Bruce Rauner succeeded Quinn as governor in 2015, however, he blocked the funding. 
Amtrak wants to conduct a new market study, Stadelman said, and open questions include which existing freight route or routes would be upgraded and whether passenger service would extend from Rockford to Dubuque, Iowa.  

"Passenger rail for Rockford is back on track," he said. "At this juncture, it's a work in progress. What the project looks like will be up to local and state leaders and other stakeholders."

   The budget also funds a previous commitment to the Rockford airport for a new aircraft maintenance facility. The airport had to borrow $90,000 a month to pay back private loans after former Gov. Rauner failed to release the state's contribution to the project. 

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – For the second year in a row, the Illinois Senate has voted to approve a bipartisan budget, and this time there’s funding for passenger rail service to Rockford, a casino for Rockford and funds for the Rockford airport included.

State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) voted with his colleagues to approve the balanced budget and says he’s excited to see the developments and infrastructure Rockford is slated to receive.

“I think this budget is another step in the right direction of creating a fiscally stable Illinois,” Stadelman said. “Additionally, the jobs and revenue created by a casino will not only help keep that budget stable, but will see some much needed growth come to Rockford.”

The Senate also voted on a comprehensive infrastructure package that will see $45 billion dollars invested into local communities for projects such as roads, bridges and community development.

The budget also includes $275 million for passenger rail service to Rockford, a long standing priority of Senator Stadelman.

“I think getting fast a reliable rail service to Rockford can only serve as a benefit to the local economy,” Stadelman said.

That budget also includes state funds promised in past years to repay the Rockford airport for a new aircraft maintenance facility. The airport has had to borrow $90,000 a month to pay back private loans after the previous administration failed to send the funds.

“I don’t think there is one person who would say we don’t need to make huge investments in fixing our roads,” Stadelman added. “This package will help us modernize and rebuild our state.”

Category: Press Releases

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Stadelman passes measure combatting student credit card debt

Key stakeholders will seek solutions for skyrocketing credit card debt faced by college students under legislation passed by State Senator Steve Stadelman to create the College Student Credit Card Marketing and Debt Task Force. House Bill 1581 calls for formation of a panel composed of representatives from credit unions, banks and state universities to study how credit cards are marketed to students, students’ payment history and several other related issues.

“Credit cards can be a useful way for students to build a credit history if they are responsible,” Stadelman said. “Unfortunately, too many students are unaware of the interest rates they have signed up to pay and find themselves clawing their way out of debt.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 41 percent of students graduated with credit card debt averaging $3,000 in 2016. Stadelman's proposal, having passed the Illinois Senate unanimously, now awaits the governor’s approval.

Illegal logging bill sponsored by Stadelman heads to governor’s desk

State Senator Steve Stadelman has won approval in both chambers of the General Assembly for legislation that would increase penalties for illegal logging on land dedicated for conservation purposes in Illinois. Stadelman sponsored the bill with State Rep. Mary Edly-Allen, D-Libertyville, to resolves shortcomings in current law that restrict conservation and preservation property owners from being adequately compensated for extensive damages incurred when someone illegally logs natural areas.

“Our preservation areas need to be protected so that generations to come can enjoy them," Stadelman said. "This legislation will make sure that when people take what isn’t theirs, they can be held responsible.

Cutting trees improperly can lead to soil erosion, the spread of invasive species and damage to other flora and fauna - including endangered species - among other adverse effects. The state's current law falls short of adequately compensating wronged landowners for the damages sustained from instances of illegal logging because it only considers the per-stump tree value -- not cleanup, loss of ecosystem integrity or the time required for vegetation to re-establish in the damaged area.

Stadelman's legislation closes the gap toward properly compensating the land trusts, conservation easement owners, forest preserves, park districts and others who oversee natural areas by ensuring compensation for the cost of the full damage incurred.


"We have an obligation to our donors and the general public to protect the habitats we say we are going to protect,” said Kerry Leigh, executive director of the Natural Land Institute, a Rockford-based nonprofit group that has suffered damages from illegal logging. “We are hopeful that this revision to the Wrongful Tree Cutting Act will serve as a real deterrent to illegal logging activities occurring across the state, as the true costs of remediation will be prescribed through this legislation.” 
 

Stadelman remembers political columnist Chuck Sweeny as Rockford institution

State Senator Steve Stadelman issued the following statement regarding Monday's passing of veteran Rockford Register Star political columnist Chuck Sweeny:

"Having worked with Chuck for many years as a fellow journalist and more recently as an elected official, I saw from more than one perspective that his reporting and commentary were insightful, fair and incredibly well sourced. As a reader, I always appreciated his ability to inject humor into the often tense public discourse," said Stadelman, a former TV news anchor who co-moderated the Illinois gubernatorial debate with Sweeny at the Coronado Theater in 2002.

"Like any good newsman, Chuck would not use the word 'institution' lightly. But through decades of helping the public understand government, local history and the civic issues of our times, he was just that -- a Rockford institution."

In case you missed me on Facebook ...

Steve Stadelman

20 hrs · 

Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen was at the Capitol helping to push for a casino in his hometown. I've never started a news conference quite like this...😂😂

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Steve Stadelman

May 18 at 8:02 PM · 

Congratulations to WTVO/WQRF and Bergstrom on the 5th Anniversary of the Stateline Quiz Bowl! I presented an Illinois Senate Proclamation recognizing the milestone during a "live" show of this year's final matchup between Auburn and Belvidere High Schools.

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Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – Key stakeholders will seek solutions for skyrocketing credit card debt faced by college students under legislation passed by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford).

House Bill 1581 creates the College Student Credit Card Marketing and Debt Task Force. The task force will be composed of representatives from credit unions, banks and state universities and will study how credit cards are marketed to students, students’ payment history and several other related issues.

“Credit cards can be a useful way for students to build a credit history if they are responsible,” Stadelman said. “Unfortunately, too many students are unaware of the interest rates they have signed up to pay and find themselves clawing their way out of debt.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 41 percent of students graduated with credit card debt averaging $3,000 in 2016.

Stadelman’s proposal passed the Illinois Senate unanimously and now waits for the governor’s approval.

Category: Press Releases

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Springfield Office:
Senator 34th District
121A Capitol Building
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