| THIS WEEK IN STATE RELATIONS
UI HEALTH SMALL LOBBY DAY
Over 20 graduate and undergraduate students from the UIC School of Public Health made their way to Springfield on Tuesday, Feb. 18, for their first-ever small-group lobby day. Illinois Connection provided a lunch briefing with the UI Health Government Relations team and then led the students to meetings with their respective state representatives and senators, including a meeting with Senate President Don Harmon.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, U of I System alumni, members of the U of I Caucus and others gathered at DH Browns to watch the Illini men's basketball team defeat the Penn State Nittany Lions. This is an annual event that facilitates productive interactions between the University, its alumni and elected officials.
GOVERNOR PRITZKER BUDGET ADDRESS
On Feb. 19, Governor J.B. Pritzker delivered his annual budget address for the state of Illinois. During the speech, Governor Pritzker proposed increasing appropriations for higher education by 5% and adding thousands to help fund MAP grants. These policy proposals would improve affordability for Illinois students and continue to boost University of Illinois System funding.
In addition to these budget proposals, the Governor highlighted increased applications across the U of I System and discussed the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Illinois Commitment program, which guarantees free tuition for families making under $67,000. Thank you Governor Pritzker for your commitment to funding Illinois’ higher education system and for your support of the University of Illinois System!
On Wednesday, Feb. 19, entrepreneurs from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign iVenture Accelerator and Founders student group came to the Capitol for a small-group lobby day to talk with legislators and state Treasurer Mike Frerichs about the importance of supporting innovation in Illinois. Topics included discussing the Discovery Partners Institute, the Illinois Innovation Network and university-based programs such as iVenture that help startups thrive in state.
U OF I IGPA RECEPTION WITH CONFERENCE OF WOMEN LEGISLATORS
The U of I System Institute of Public and Government Affairs hosted the Conference of Women Legislators for a Cocktails and Conversation reception at Innovate Springfield. IGPA Director Robin Wilson introduced herself to the group and opened up discussion on how IGPA can be a resource for COWL to help further their education in topics and policies that are relevant to their work in both their districts and the State Capitol.
ILLINOIS LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS FOUNDATION EVENT
On Wednesday, Feb. 19, OGR staff attended the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Soree at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. The program included introductions of the current members of the black caucus and awards to waymakers for the organization and black history in Illinois. Governor JB Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton both made remarks. The U of I System and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign both got shout outs at the event and cheers from alumni in the crowd.
ACADEMIC PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM IN THE CAPITOL
This week, members of the Academic Professional Leadership Program (APLP) visited Springfield to observe the state legislature and meet with key lawmakers. The program, which consists of 20 total Academic Professionals from each university and the System Office, seeks to create and nurture emerging leaders across the University of Illinois System.
During their time visiting the state capitol, group members met with a bipartisan and bicameral group of legislators, including State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), State Representative Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) and State Representative Mike Murphy (R-Divernon).
Additionally, the group spent the afternoon meeting with a panel of alumni lobbyists and legislative liaisons from various public universities. To close out the visit, Jake Butcher, Senior Advisor to Illinois Senate President Don Harmon and Ashley Jenkins, Deputy Chief of Staff for Illinois Senate President Harmon, presented to the group on the Illinois Senate Floor. Both Butcher and Jenkins are University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduates.
PRESENTATION TO ILLINOIS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
On Friday, February 21, Jen Creasey, Marissa Brewer and Angelica Alfaro joined the Board of Trustee Secretary Dee Dee Williams and Greg Knott to present at the University of Illinois Alumni Association in Champaign. During the presentation, they discussed the Board of Trustees and the role our Alumni Association volunteers can play in the Trustee nomination process. The University of Illinois Board of Trustees will have three open board positions in January 2021.
The 2020 State Legislative Agenda for the U of I System prioritizes expanding access for students, supporting collaboration between businesses and educational institutions, and increasing the University's community impact through job creation. Read more here.
On Wednesday, February 26 the Office of Governmental Relations will host U of I System Day at the Capitol. During this event, students will be able to participate in a higher education rally in the capitol and advocacy meetings with their legislators. That evening alumni, students, and advocates for higher education will gather in the Governor's Mansion for a Higher Education reception.
During March, Illinois Agriculture, UI Health Pediatrics, UI Health- Rural Health and UI College of Pharmacy will participate in small lobby days. On March 4, UI Health will host a Legislator Breakfast along with UI System President Killeen. At the end of March, the U of I Caucus will host a Prairie Research Institute Dinner.