Democratic State Representative Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg and Democrat State Rep. John Bradley of Marion held a press conference in Herrin on Thursday to hear from social service providers and local educators how the lack of a state budget is affecting the people they serve. The two downstate lawmakers began the meeting by pointing out that the Governor’s stop-gap budget proposal would be especially hard-hitting to children and the elderly . Franklin County Treasurer John Gulley, who is involved in the Methamphetamine Treatment Program at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center, said the program was so successful that just last year, it was highly praised in the Journal of Psychology for being an effective way to rehabilitate those addicted to meth. The Franklin county Meth treatment program had been providing treatment services to youth from 41 counties in central and southern Illinois. But, due to the ongoing budget stalemate, Gulley says this successful program has been eliminated.
Bradley and Phelps also heard from Lori Stettler, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at SIU-Carbondale, Matt Donkin, Regional Superintendent of Schools for Franklin, Johnson, Massac and Williamson Counties, Dr. Jonah Rice, President of Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Elizabeth Miller of the Southern Illinois Center for Independent Living, Dr. Tim Bellamy, President of Shawnee Community College, Franklin County Treasurer John Gulley, and Bob Childers, of the Williamson County Programs on Aging.
After gathering input from those speaking, Representitives Brandon Phelps and John Bradley quickly left to participate, via a phone-conference, in budget meetings with colleagues in Springfield in an effort to end the budget stalemate.