Coffee with Katie: 11 people in attendance. Held at Goshen Coffee
Gun Violence/IL Gun Ban Court Case:
A woman from Moms Demand Action started the meeting talking about gun violence. She asked about the IL court case with the gun ban. Katie was uncertain of the status of the IL court case. Katie stated that a lot of laws need to be instituted on a national level.
Katie voted for a pay raise for herself (and for her fellow colleagues) during this last IL budget vote. She promised she would not vote for a pay raise, but if she did get a pay raise, she would donate the money to a local charity. She stated she donated to: Planned Parenthood, United Way, Cystic Fibrosis, SIUE Food Pantry, Scholarships and other charities that are important to her family.
SB 1909: DECEPTIVE PRACTICE-PREG CENTER is now back in the House. A woman asked Katie if she would oppose or support this legislation. The lady was not a proponent of this bill since it would cause pregnancy centers to face fines and possible closure. This woman wants pregnant women to have the choice to use a pregnancy center for resources. Katie stated it was a licensing issue and there are pregnancy centers that are working outside of the licensing requirements. Katie stated that she has not read the bill and is unable to tell us if she would vote in favor or opposition to this bill. It was asked if Planned Parenthood is held to the same standards as Christian pregnancy centers. Katie said that Planned Parenthood provides medical care such as mammograms and they have to be licensed to provide these services. Katie has never visited Mosaic Health to look at the pregnancy services.
A woman directly impacted by the fentanyl crisis is asking for more to be done to curb this particular drug crisis. She educated the group on new medication which she called “vaccine” which offers pharmaceutical intervention for someone using Heroin. She stated that this medication works for a month and is helpful if getting someone off of drugs. She also stated that she would like to see the Mexican border closed. There was quite a bit of discussion about the border before Katie redirected the conversation back to local and state issues. It is clear there are varying opinions about the border issue.
SIUE and University funding issues:
There was extensive discussion about the labor issues at SIUE and the recent sit in at SIUE. The sit in was used to bring attention to the fact that faculty have been working without a contract since June 2022.
Funding was brought up as a big problem for universities. And the funding discrepancy between SIUE and SIUC. Katie and her advisory group are looking at university funding and budgeting “in a different way.” Katie stated they are looking at the funding structure of Colorado and Oregon universities to see how IL could possibly change their funding structure. It is unclear if these states tap into property taxes to pay for the funding of their universities. Katie stated that while SWIC benefits from property tax revenue, the universities would not.
There was also extensive discussion about the salary of the current Chancellor of SIUE. A comment was made that SIUE is top heavy with administration while guidance counselors and other staff are leaving. A constituent thanked Katie for legislation that gives adjunct and other faculty free parking the at the universities.