Latest News

Members of the Schlarman Academy Hilltoppers girls basketball team were in Springfield today to receive an official House Resolution honoring their recent IHSA Class 1A girls basketball championship.

State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) spoke to HR 907, and said, “The Hilltoppers finished the season 33-1 and brought the first-ever girls state basketball championship trophy back to Vermilion County and to the community of Danville,” said Hays. “These young ladies are not only a special group of athletes, but they are tremendous students, they are very visible and very active in the Danville area Community, and they are young people that we could not be more proud of.”

According to Hays, the lady Hilltoppers defeated Stockton High School by a score of 53-31 in the Class 1A championship game on February 24 at Illinois State University Redbird Arena in Normal. Members of the team include: Cece Damilano, Sydney Gouard, Capria Brown, Anaya Peoples, Tannah Ceader, Janiah Newell, Emma Bogan, Suzet Semersheim, McKaylee Allen and Destiny Dye. They are coached by Head Coach Keith Peoples and assistant coaches Jerry O’Neill, David Gouard, Ollie Harrison and LaTana Lillard.

Click here to watch Hays’ floor comments about HR 907.
On Monday, members of the House of Representatives mourned the death of former State Representative Thomas Berns, who served in the Illinois General Assembly from 2000-2002.  He passed away on February 19, 2018 at the age of 72.

An honorary resolution sponsored by State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) honored the life of Rep. Berns, and in his remarks on the floor of the House, Hays called Berns “a gentleman’s gentleman” and a “professional’s professional.”

“He served with enthusiasm and distinction in his home communities of Champaign and Urbana for many years,” said Hays. “I don’t know that I ever met a nicer man.” Click here to view Hays’ entire floor speech.
The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office is offering Illinoisans an opportunity to submit artwork for consideration to be emblazoned on a special 2018 Illinois Bicentennial medallion. The contest timeline to submit a design is now through May 1, 2018. All designs must be submitted via the official online form located here. Submissions will be judged initially by the treasurer's office based on content uniqueness, creativity, quality, accuracy, and completion. Contestants must be Illinois residents and may only submit one design. The top five designs will be made available for the public to vote on between June 1, 2018 and June 15, 2018 on the treasurer's office website. A final winner will be announced on June 18, 2018.

The contest winner will be announced via press release and on social media, and the contest winner will be notified prior to the official announcement. Please read all contest terms and conditions. Questions should be directed to Maria Oldani via e-mail ( or phone (217-782-9598).
Members of the House of Representatives paid tribute on Tuesday to former State Representative Tom Berns, who passed away on February 19 of this year.

Berns was appointed to the Illinois House of Representatives in 2000 to fulfill the unexpired term of former State Rep. Tim Johnson. Rep. Berns was then elected to the seat for the 104th Legislative House District for one full term. During his time in the Illinois House, Rep. Berns sponsored or co-sponsored 64 House Bills, 20 Senate Bills and 27 Resolutions.

“Tom Berns was a statesman in every sense of the word,” said State Representative Chad Hays, who brought forward House Resolution 888, which honored Berns’ life. “He was widely respected in Springfield and at home. In addition to the time he served representing the people of the 104th District in Springfield, Tom Berns was an active community volunteer.”

Rep. Berns was born on April 8, 1945 to Henry E. and Phyllis R. (Berglin) Berns and was raised in the Illinois communities of Atlanta and Plano. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering. He married his high school sweetheart Jeannie Galvin in 1965, and the two enjoyed 52 years of marriage. Rep. Berns worked as an engineer and ultimately went into business with his friend and colleague Ed Clancy, and together they created Berns, Clancy and Associates, which is regarded as one of the premier engineering firms in East Central Illinois.

Rep. Berns was 72 at the time of his death. Click here to read the honorary resolution.
With more rain expected in the coming days, today Governor Bruce Rauner issued a state disaster proclamation for Iroquois, Kankakee and Vermilion counties. The declaration will ensure state support to communities that are battling floods caused by heavy rains earlier this week.

Governor Rauner toured flooded areas in the City of Watseka Thursday night and met with residents who have been evacuated from their homes.

“I am impressed with the strength of the those who have been forced out of their homes and the volunteers who make sure they have essential needs,” said Rauner. “We must continue to stand together during times of emergency and provide continued support and assistance as these communities fight the rising floodwaters.”

The Governor also directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to activate the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield to coordinate state personnel and assets needed to help local officials keep residents safe and protect critical infrastructure.

IEMA is receiving weather forecast updates and river stage predictions and staff is in close contact with emergency management officials throughout the state.

To assist with these efforts, the Department of Natural Resources has provided two boats to support flood patrols in Watseka. Works crews from the Illinois Department of Corrections are installing flood gates in Hardin County, and the Illinois Department of Transportation is handling delivery of the pumps, hoses and sandbags.

More heavy rainfall is in the forecast this weekend in southeastern and southern Illinois.

For that reason, IEMA’s acting director, Jennifer Ricker, is reminding people to use caution when driving in flooded areas. “Flooded roads can be dangerous, even deadly, so the best advice is always to ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown,’” Ricker said.

Information related to the current flood event and flood safety is available on the Ready Illinois website at
State Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin) announced this week that Vermilion County’s Land Bank Authority will receive a $300,000 grant to assist with the revitalization of vacant, abandoned or foreclosed properties throughout the county.

Land banks are public or community-owned entities created to assist with community revitalization projects, and the grant, awarded through the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s (IHDA) Land and Capacity Program and Technical Assistance Network, reimburses costs associated with improvement projects. “The Authority received a great number of applications, and I’m thrilled to know that $300,000 of the total $1.8 million in awards is coming right here to Vermilion County,” said Hays. “Vermilion County Board Chairman Mike Marron and Vermilion county Land Bank Authority Chairman Patrick O’Shaughnessy are to be commended for their efforts in securing this large grant for the county’s revitalization efforts. Their joint leadership in seeking this money has led to 17% of the entire outlay of grants being awarded for our local use here in Vermilion County.”

Hays also thanked State Senator Scott Bennett for his partnership in coordinating efforts with the IHDA to help secure the grant.

According to Hays, the grant money will be awarded as reimbursement for funds expended for community revitalization projects. “After the activity is completed and the funds have been expended, expenses will be reported to IHDA and eligible expenses will be reimbursed,” Hays said. “Upon learning of this grant, Mr. Marron, Mr. O’Shaughnessy and others went straight to work to maximize opportunities in Vermilion County.