State Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-Loves Park), right, is congratulated by fellow State Senator Dave Syverson on the passage of Senate Bill 1859.SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to move a proposal to make Rockford the Midwest recreational sports destination forward, Senator Steve Stadelman (D- Loves Park) today passed a measure allowing Winnebago County to impose a 2 percent tax on hotel stays. It is estimated that this new tax, which would be shouldered by out-of-town visitors, would generate $13 million for the project.

"Currently in Rockford, hotel guests pay a 12 percent tax at checkout. But surrounding areas like Peoria and Galesburg have a 13 percent tax, and Chicago has a 16.4 percent tax. So Rockford will still be competitive in attracting tourists," Stadelman said.

The Reclaiming First proposal transitions the former Ingersoll building into a riverside indoor sports complex, while making improvements to Sportscore One and Two. The project, Reclaiming First, was introduced in December 2011 and has rallied support from across Winnebago County and the surrounding area.

"The majority, if not all, of the estimated $37.5 million needed in funding for the new project would come from non-local sources including grants, charitable contributions and state funding," continued Stadelman.

Since 2007, Rockford's amateur sports tournaments have dropped 11 percent annually, resulting in $1.4 million loss for the region each year. In an effort to turn this downward trend around, local economic development and city planners, elected officials, business owners and labor leaders collaborated on a proposal that would not only bring back Rockford's declining sports tournaments, but expand resources to make Rockford the amateur sports tournament capital of the Midwest.

The measure now moves to the House for further consideration.

RELATED: VIDEO: Stadelman discusses Reclaiming First

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Loves Park) laughs as fellow senators give him a hard time about his first bill.The Illinois Senate has long had a tradition by which a freshman senator introducing his first bill is grilled mercilessly — but in good fun — by colleagues, and State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Loves Park) was not spared.

On Thursday, Stadelman introduced Senate Bill 2347 —a measure involving the baiting of deer and wild turkey for hunting purposes — and endured several senators' playful questions. State Senator Mike Noland (D-Elgin), as he usually does, opened the questioning.

"Senator, given the language of this bill, I have to believe that you are baiting the entire chamber to make inquiry, are you not?"

"I am baiting you to support this bill, yes," Stadelman said, laughing.

After more tongue-in-cheek scrutiny from Noland, State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) joined the fray to ask for some clarification.

"There's some you put in a glass and there's some that you hunt out in the woods," Forby said, "so I want to make sure we have the right wild turkey."

After all the ribbing, Senate Bill 2347 passed the Senate 52-0, and it now heads to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

stadelman0321SPRINGFIELD – University of Illinois' President Robert Easter testified Thursday in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed fiscal year 2014 budget cuts. Committee member Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) was disheartened to hear the university may have to cut or possibly close its Rural Pharmacy Program, which is based in Rockford.

"Rockford has the unique opportunity to bring people in from across the state and nation to participate in the Rural Pharmacy Program," Stadelman said. "The program's purpose is to address the shortage of pharmacists in rural Illinois. Closing the program would hurt those efforts and Rockford's ability to diversify its economy with the recent addition of the Pharmacy School."

According to the testimony, Quinn suggests a $500,000 reduction in funding for the program, which equates to an estimated cut of $2,500 per student. If the university decided not to eliminate the program after the funding cut, the only other likely option would be a raise in tuition.

"Families are struggling to make ends meet, and a raise in tuition would discourage potential students from participating in this program," Stadelman continued. "It is unfortunate that a student who is interested in pharmacy would miss out on their dream job because we made educational programs like the Rural Pharmacy Program too expensive and therefore unattainable for them."

The General Assembly will consider the governor's proposed FY14 budget in the coming weeks.

"I will not support the governor's budget, or any budget proposal, that eliminates the funding for the Rural Pharmacy Program because it's not good for my district and it's not good for Illinois," Stadelman said.

Category: Press Releases

Senator Stadelman testified in support of Senate Bill 1859 during Wednesday's meeting of the Senate Executive Committee at the Capitol. The Rockford Register Star was there to cover it:

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, said it was time to move the proposal forward, even though all talks are ongoing to resolve labor leaders' outstanding concerns.

"I'm going to do everything I can to keep both parties negotiating and work through their issues while keeping this bill moving forward," Stadelman said.

SB 1859 passed the Executive Committee unanimously and will be considered by the full Senate next month.

Category: Latest

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