From Jake Butcher, IAVAT Lobbyist, and John Edgar, IAVAT Executive Director
"The budget did pass yesterday and included the 1.8 million for Agriculture Education. I will have more to report when we meet next week. Thank you for taking all the late night and early morning calls and putting in the grassroots work to get this done."
Additionally, when Governor Rauner signed into law a stopgap funding plan, the Department of Ag was provided with with spending authority for several FY 16 & FY 17 programs and initiatives. Included in that plan was $325,000 in funding for Rehabilitation, Premiums, Fairs & Expositions, Ag Extension, and Vo Ag Fairs.
Please note the following information regarding what the FY16 and FY17 budgets mean for you:
FY16 Budget - Fair reports that were due from Vo-Ag teachers 30 days after their fair took place - time period of July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016
FY17 Budget - Fair reports that will be due from Vo-Ag teachers 30 days after their fair takes place - time period of July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017
What does this mean to you - ALL Section Fairs that were held in FY2016 need to be corrected with money listed and resubmitted and sent to the Department of Ag by July 25, 2016. (Even if you already turned something in within 30 days of your fair.) ALL 2016 Section Fair reports must be resubmitted. The sooner you get the Department of Ag your corrected reports the sooner you will get your money for your students.
For FY2017 - Please continue to submit your section fair reports within the 30 days and submit them as you did this past year with zeros. Once all the money is paid out for the FY2016, then the Department of Ag will let us know what the Pro Rata will be for FY2017.
From Jake Butcher, LBD LLC.
The House and Senate will be both be in session tomorrow. We expect the Senate to introduce five bills: 1). A road projects authorization bill; 2). A stand alone K-12 budget bill 3). A stand alone-higher education budget; 4). a stand alone human services committee bill 5). A stop gap on operations.
We expect the House to possibly pass another K-12 bill as a stand alone; with the remaining elements being placed in a bigger stop gap budget.
The Governor will likely call a special session on Thursday, but we expect the only actionable bill at this point to be the road projects bill. The remainder will need at least another week to be considered by the second chamber. Thus, a deal is close, but not quite there yet. This could all change in the next 24 hours, but is not expected to.
Update:Agriculture education continues to be represented will in the Capitol. On May 3rd, Kade Hill, Jess Smithers, and Jody Heavner provided testimony to the House Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee on behalf of the Agriculture Education Line Item. There were also several other State Officers and Pittsfield FFA Members in attendance.
On May 10, Representative Jerry F. Costello and I, Jesse Faber, testified before the House Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee on behalf of Bill 2975, the Recruitment and Retention effort. The bill is still subject to appropriations, but the substantive bill passed out of committee 16 - For, 0 - Against, 0 - Present!! The bill is now prepared to be called to the House Floor. Representative Costello is the sponsor on the bill, please feel free to show him your gratitude. The full list of sponsors is below.
Please continue to communicate with your representatives, senators, and governor. The message is being heard.
Big thank you for the efforts of Jake Butcher and his firm. For those who have ventured to the Capitol you have seen first hand the impact Jake has made; I wish there was a way I could fully capture this for all of you. As we look to the future, we need to continue to build on these efforts. One avenue of support is through the pledge drive campaign: Pledge Card. Please contribute as you can to continue this progress.
Thank you for your commitment to agriculture education,