IVCC’s Student Government Association and College Democrats visited the capitol building in Springfield on April 9 for Illinois Student Assistance Commission Lobby Day. The students met with various lawmakers to discuss issues important to the Illinois Valley and to college students in general.
Upon arriving at the capitol, the students met jointly with 76th District Rep. Lance Yednock and 38th District Sen. Sue Rezin and received a brief tour of both the House and Senate chambers.
During the meeting, the students asked questions about legislation and learned about the process and ideals of the representatives when it comes to considering legislation.
“When we get a call from Dr. Corcoran about a bill or something involving IVCC, it’s immediately on our radar,” stated Sen. Rezin in regards to their support of community college. Both Sen. Rezin and Rep. Yednock view community college as great education at a great price.
When making decisions, the legislators consider not only their own beliefs, but also rely on various experts to provide them with relevant information to the bill in order to make a more informed choice. Rezin and Yednock agree that it is important that voters understand why they voted for a bill at the time.
The students also spent time with Rep. Yednock privately in his office to discuss various issues, including the Illinois budget.
“Some of these decisions I make or decide on could decide whether or not I vote for a budget,” stated Yednock. “I want to see us add like 5% to community colleges, universities, preschool, and fire departments.”
One method Yednock believes can help Illinois get its budget back into a favorable position is to do everything possible to keep students in Illinois.
Sen. Chuck Weaver, whom the students met afterwards, agrees that one of Illinois’s major problems is losing students out of state. He also fears that many African Americans are trained poorly for the workforce out of school, making them some of the first to potentially be laid off.
“We have ruined our state as an employer,” stated Weaver in regards to students leaving the state. He believes having to pay for unfunded pensions and the difficulty of finding work out of college have an impact on many students deciding to leave the state.
Both Sen. Weaver and Rep. Yednock also spoke about Illinois’s new minimum wage laws. Yednock believes the legislation, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, would give more money to more people and improve the Illinois economy, while Weaver fears it could drive businesses out of Illinois and leave some without jobs.
To close out the day, IVCC’s students met Auditor General Frank Mautino for lunch to discuss his duties as Auditor General as well as his time as a representative.