News from Senator Peter Roskam Senate Republican Whip
  315 West Wesley Street 309H State House
  Wheaton, Illinois 60187 Springfield, Illinois 62706
  630-690-4500 217/782-8022  

For Immediate Release

Date:  April 22, 2005/ls


SPRINGFIELD, IL – A push to keep Illinois’ military bases open, ongoing efforts for greater disclosure of state contracts, and a visit by the President at the dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum were among the activities in the Capital City during the week of April 18-22, according to State Senator Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton).

            The Senators spent much of the week in committee hearings as they began to consider bills that have been approved by the House of Representatives.

            On April 21, the Senate adopted Senate Joint Resolution 18, urging the Department of Defense and the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to save the Peoria Air National Guard Base, Rock Island Arsenal, Springfield National Guard Base and Scott Air Force Base from closure because of their military and local value.

            Illinois lawmakers want federal officials to know that the military bases are major economic engines, employing thousands of people and adding billions of dollars to the state’s economy, as well as being key to homeland security and National Guard recruiting efforts.

            President George Bush has called for a 2005 round of defense base realignment and closure and the Department of Defense has stated it wants to trim about 25% of its infrastructure, which puts Illinois’ military bases at risk. The Department of Defense will forward its list recommendations for closure and realignment to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission on May 16. The Commission’s formal recommendations will be made to Congress on Sept. 8.

            In other business, the Senate kept working toward a goal of greater public disclosure on state contracts dealing with prescription drug benefits. Senate Bill 1828 was introduced in response to questions during the last 12 months about the awarding and disclosure of contracts between the state and Caremark, a mail-order pharmaceutical provider that oversees prescription benefits for state employees. The issue also sparked efforts by two Republican Senators, who went to court on behalf of the taxpayers to force Caremark to reveal details of their contract with the state. The legislation was advanced by the Senate to the House of Representatives where negotiations will continue on the issue.

            On April 19, President George Bush paid tribute to Illinois’ favorite son at the dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.  Joined by First Lady Laura Bush, Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson, U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other dignitaries, the President praised Abraham Lincoln for his courage, stating that Lincoln’s personal faith in God and the leadership of America’s Founding Fathers, gave him the strength to guide this country through the dark days of the Civil War. President Bush remarked that Lincoln “embodied the democratic ideal—that leadership and even genius are found among the people themselves, and sometimes in the most unlikely places.”

            The Senate also took time to honor former State Sen. Ralph Dunn, who died May 3, 2004, at the age of 90. The Senate adopted Senate Resolution 164 April 21 to honor the former Southern Illinois Senator. Dunn served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1973 to 1985 and served in the Illinois Senate from 1985 to 1995. He also was a delegate to the Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention (1969-1970).

            Senators remembered Dunn as a gentleman who worked hard for his constituents. He was the driving force behind the creation of the Coal Research Center at Southern Illinois University (SIU), and his efforts helped the university purchase a generator for its power plant. In 1997, SIU renamed its business incubator the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center.

The following bills were passed by Senate Committee during the week of April 18-22: