Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts are on the brink of closure if a FY16 State Budget is not reached and if District’s are not named in that budget. On Tuesday, September 22 at 10:00 am and 10:30 am, AISWCD’s Executive Committee is promoting a “Legislative Call-In Day” to bring the District’s funding crisis to the forefront for Senators, Republicans, Senate and House leadership as well as the Governor.
WHAT: Legislative Call-In Day
WHEN: Tuesday, September 22nd at 10:00 am & 10:30 am
WHERE: From the comfort of your current location – just pick up the phone and make the call to your legislators
WHO: Contact your local legislators, the Governor’s office, Senate and House Leadership
1. If you don’t know your legislators, find your legislative District number on this website…
And search these websites… to find which legislator is in your District.
Senate – http://www.ilga.gov/senate/
House – http://www.ilga.gov/house/
2. Call your Senator and Representatives at 10:00am on Tuesday, September 22nd.
3. Call the Governor’s office, Senate President Cullerton and House Speaker Madigan’s office at 10:30 am on Tuesday, September 22nd.
If the phones are busy, please continue to call back until you are greeted by a legislative assistant in that office. If you need to, by all means, leave a message.
Please call not only the local offices but the Legislator’s Springfield office, as well.
TALKING POINTS –
1. Soil and Water Conservation District employees will lose health insurance coverage on September 30th if a budget is not passed and if SWCDs are not name in a budget.
a. The Department of Agriculture decided, in 2000, to pay 100% of health insurance premiums for District employees. Now, in 2015, they have decided, without warning, to not pay the premiums. District Boards need more than a few months warner before terminating or requiring employee’s to pay the insurance premiums. (Insert your District’s current situation on health insurance)
2. HB4282 needs bipartisan support.
3. Without Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the State of Illinois will see regulation on Agricultural lands in the near future due to the in inability to put voluntary conservation on the ground. Districts are the only local organization that is trusted by local farmers and landowners to assist in voluntary conservation efforts. Without Districts, voluntary conservation will become regulatory.
4. The local delivery system for getting conservation on the ground will be lost forever, if funding is not restored. SWCDs have 485 volunteer District Directors, who are local farmers/landowners, and 165 trained employees with on average 20 years of experience. All will be lost should funding not be restored to SWCDs.
5. SWCDs bring in over $300 million dollars of Federal cost-share program dollars each year. This number can increase or decrease depending on the strength of the SWCDs. (Insert your District’s current situation).
Should you have any questions regarding how to locate your legislator’s number, the talking points, additional funding information, please contact AISWCD before Tuesday’s call.
We hope everyone will call their legislators on Tuesday, September 22nd for Legislative Call-In Day!