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Anderson & McCombie Listen, Learn & Answer Questions

Here is a statement WVIK News received from IL State Senator, Neil Anderson:

"Springfield – Following the Illinois Senate’s vote to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, State Senator Neil Anderson (Andalusia) offered the following comments."

This bill was held for 60 days before it was sent to the Governor. There’s no reason we should be dealing with this now, when we could have taken care of it in June. Senate Bill 1, in its original form, is not the answer to our education funding problems. A bill that bails out Chicago, at the expense of children in the rest of the state is not the answer. There is nothing fair or equitable about sending 67 percent of new funding to Chicago where only 19 percent of students in Illinois are educated. The 36th Senate District shouldn’t settle for table scraps when steak is an option. Our job is not finished. The veto override on Senate Bill 1 still has to be voted on in the House where its future remains uncertain. We must continue to push for bipartisan, good-faith negotiations to provide schools throughout Illinois with the best funding possible.


Illinois republican legislators talked with people in Rock Island about school funding, the budget, pensions, and the state's sanctuary status. This morning, State Senator Neil Anderson from Andalusia and Representative Tony McCombie of Savanna had "Coffee and Conversation" with more than 50 people at Theo's Java Club downtown.

Anderson and the rest of the Illinois Senate are scheduled to meet Sunday to consider Governor Rauner's amendatory veto of the school funding bill. He says the removal of the Chicago teachers pension would mean schools in his district (36th) would receive $4.3 million more. Anderson thinks the pension proposal should be negotiated separately.

Democratic and republican working groups in the Illinois General Assembly have been trying to come up with a school funding bill for three years. McCombie has served on the House group and says the proposed $221 million contribution to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund was never even discussed. She calls it a "poison pill," and agrees with Anderson that it should be taken out of education funding legislation. McCombie is very frustrated and thinks members of the House won't be allowed to vote on the governor's veto.

While the Illinois Senate is set to meet Sunday, the House isn't scheduled to meet until Wednesday.

Sen. Anderson and Rep. McCombie got an earful at the Coffee and Conversation. 

Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News
Maidena Navratil (L) & John Flaherty (R) went to the Coffee & Conversation this morning to talk with local legislators.

John Flaherty is a retired teacher who lives in Rock Island. He grudgingly accepts the budget that's been passed but thinks it's inadequate and does nothing to address the state's $15 billion debt. He's also unhappy that school funding is tied to performance standards, and worried that schools won't receive the state money needed to pay the bills.

Maidena Navratil another retired teacher from Rock Island. Her main concerns are law enforcement and immigration. She wants police officers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be allowed to do their jobs and prevent crime.

Anderson and McCombie hold Coffee and Conversations once a week, mainly to listen to people and answer questions. For example, Anderson says one person said six months ago, he applied for a Firearm Owners Identification card, but hasn't received it. Another complained about a sewer problem. The state senator plans to follow up and work with city and state officials to help solve those problems.

Officially, Michelle's title for 28 years was WVIK News Editor. She did everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever was needed around the radio station. She also served as Acting News Director from September 2023 - January 2024.