SPRINGFIELD - State Senators Sam McCann (R-Carlinville) and Bill Haine (D-Alton) are introducing legislation in the Illinois Senate to help Illinoisans facing skyrocketing prices and short supply for propane to heat homes and businesses.
The Senators have filed an amendment to Senate Bill 2757, which would take a number of steps to help alleviate the pressures faced by the current energy crisis, including:
- Increasing funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by $10 million for the period of December 2013-March 2014.
- Temporarily raising the threshold for LIHEAP eligibility by $10,000 for propane heating in the same time period. (Current threshold for a family of four is about $34,000, legislation temporarily raises the threshold to about $44,000)
- Establishing a $20 million short-term loan program through the Illinois Finance Authority for small businesses, propane distributors, and farmers.
- Raising the weight restrictions on Illinois interstates to 100,000 pounds until May 1 to help increase the available supply in the state.
“Due to the life-threatening frigid weather gripping our state this winter, and the skyrocketing price of propane, people all over the state are hurting,” said Senator McCann. “Many families are unsure if they can even heat their homes. We need to do something to help them right away.”
The Illinois Propane Gas Association reports close to 40% of all Illinois homes are heated by propane. Prices across the state have shot up from around $1.50 per gallon this summer to over $5.50 per gallon currently.
“Time is of the essence, and I urge my colleagues to act on this legislation as soon as possible,” said McCann. “It is the right thing to do.”