02202019CW0530State Senator Steve Stadelman will bring his perspective as a television news anchor turned public official and chairman of the state's Local Journalism Task Force to a panel discussion titled, "The Gigantic Impact of Disappearing Local News: How the Problem Occurred and Are There Solutions?"

The town-hall style forum is being organized by former U.S. Rep Don Manzullo, who now serves as chief policy advisor for The Institute of Public Policy and World Affairs at Rockford University. Admission is free at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 8, at Fisher Chapel at Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., and seating is open. Rockford University will livestream the event at this link.

Stadelman worked for 25 years as a Rockford broadcaster before his election to the Illinois Senate in 2012. He passed legislation to establish a statewide task force to study the decline of local news across Illinois and recommend ways state government might help revive the decliling the local news industry. The task force, made of up journalism academics and frontline news professionals from across Illinois, began meeting in March.

"Newsrooms across the nation are shrinking, especially in smaller and more rural areas, and an alarming number have closed in the last decade," Stadelman said. "When people don't know what's happening on their town councils and school boards, they can't make educated decisions or hold public officials accountable."

Panelists joining Stadelman at Rockford University include:
• Eric Wilson, Rock Valley College journalism instructor and WTVO-17 news anchor
• Corina Curry, news director for the Rockford Register Star and Freeport Journal Standard
• Mark Bonne, Rockford alderman and former Rockford Register Star investigative reporter and columnist
• Chris Linden, executive editor for NW Quarterly magazine
• Mike Paterson, president of Mid-West Family Broadcasting and RockRiverCurrent.com

"Local news plays a vital role in our way of life," Stadelman said. "Not only do we depend on local news to keep us informed, but local journalistm helps give communities a sense of place and contributes to the local economy."

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Times Theater 2021aROCKFORD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) was joined by colleagues to show support for the historic Times Theater redevelopment project continuing in downtown Rockford Monday.

“Bringing back business to downtown Rockford is important in our redevelopment of the area,” Stadelman said. “The Times Theater is a vital and historic part of our community and I am happy to see renovations and redevelopment plans in the making.”

The long vacant theater built in 1938 hopes to receive assistance from the Rebuild Downtowns & Main Streets Capital Grant program to restore the building to seat audiences of up to 900 people. The theatre would host live performances and films — filling a need for a mid-sized media venue in downtown Rockford.

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State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) spoke with Brian Mackey of Illinois Public Media last week on the importance of access to local journalism in Illinois and how the Journalism Task Force will work to assist local news outlets across Illinois.

“If people don’t get the information they need of what’s going on around their town, they won’t be able to make educated decisions for their area,” Stadelman said. “This task force is here to begin the discussion of how we can strengthen access to local journalism throughout Illinois and provide news and information to underserved communities.”

In the interview, Stadelman talks about how journalism has been impacted throughout the nation in the closure of newspapers across the country. Action is needed to help supply communities with local information. Stadelman believes local journalism is the backbone of this kind of support for communities.

You can listen to the whole conversation here.

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Legislature passes sweeping equity reforms

In a marathon close to the 101st Illinois General Assembly last week, lawmakers considered four comprehensive bills to address equity in education, economic opportunity, health care and criminal justice. Work on the health care legislation continues while the three other bills were sent to the Governor. I want to give you an easy-to-digest overview of what I believe are the key points of these monumental, long-overdue reforms:


Education Equity

  • helps ensure struggling young children get the resources they need to be ready for school and prepares all children for post-secondary education
  • identifies more equitable ways to fund higher education
  • expands and reprioritizes efforts to increase minority teachers

Economic Equity

  • increases goals for minorities, women and people with disabilities to access state contracts
  • protects consumers from predatory loans by capping interest rates
  • evaluates discrimination in the state’s beauty supply industry

Health Care Equity

  • evaluates the effectiveness of Illinois' managed care program
  • grants a two-month stay on hospital closures
  • creates a task force to undertake a review of health and human service programs with the goal of improving access and outcomes for all Illinois residents

Criminal Justice Equity

  • increases police accountability, transparency and training
  • promotes the use of co-responder models in a mental health crisis response

 

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 34th District
121B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8022
 
District Office:
200 S. Wyman St., Suite 301
Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 987-7557