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

stadelman0313SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations II Committee heard testimony from several state offices today regarding the current backlog of bills weighing down Illinois' budget. It is estimated that Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka's office has more than $7 billion in backlog bills in her office, and that figure does not include the estimated $2.5 billion state agencies have not yet sent to be processed.

Stadelman released the following statement after the hearing:

"It is upsetting to know that there are businesses and organizations across the Rock River Valley that provided services in good faith for the state of Illinois, and they are now being asked to wait months to be paid for their work. Our schools are waiting six months to get the funding they need to operate, and that is just not acceptable. No business of any size can sustain this. As a new legislator, I'm not sure how we got into this mess, but I will be focusing on finding a reasonable solution to get us out of it."

Category: Press Releases

stadelman0301Since 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 our resources to make Rockford the amateur sports tournament capital of the Midwest.

The plan will transition 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 best selling point of the Reclaiming First proposal is that 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.

My first initiative as the new state senator is to make sure that this project gets the jump start it needs from Springfield. Senate Bill 1859, my first piece of legislation, allows Winnebago County to impose a two 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 Reclaiming First project. Currently in the City of 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.

I will keep you updated on the progress of Senate Bill 1859 as the spring session continues. To track the legislation, please click here.

Reclaiming First has an in-depth PDF presentation available on its website that gives both a visual and written picture of the benefits of the proposed plan. To see the presentation, please click here. Also, you can visit for more information and updates.

Category: Press Releases

stadelman-75x75SPRINGFIELD – Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) and 10 other newly elected Democrats were inaugurated into the Illinois State Senate during ceremonies today at the Capitol. Stadelman represents the 34th District in the new 98th General Assembly as a member of the majority Democratic Caucus, which has a record 40 of 59 seats.

"What an honor to take the oath of office today on behalf of the people of the greater Rockford area," Stadelman said. "I am eager to get to work addressing our state's economy, our financial future, improving education and services to seniors in Illinois."

Stadelman is a newcomer to public service yet a veteran in serving the community as a 25-year reporter and news anchor for WTVO in Rockford, earning an Associated Press Best Documentary award in 2003. He has been active in Rockford Public Schools and coaching children's athletic teams. Steve and his wife have four children and live in Rockford.

The 34th District consists of the central and southeast portion of Winnebago County.

Category: Press Releases

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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