SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael Frerichs (D – Champaign) was appointed today to chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education for the 98th General Assembly (2013-14). He will also serve as co-chairman of the bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), a legislative support service that monitors the state’s economy, pension funds and tax revenue and weighs in on state facility closures and state employee health insurance.
“During my time in the General Assembly I’ve demonstrated a commitment to protecting our excellent system of state universities and community colleges,” Sen. Frerichs said. “As chairman, I will focus on improving the affordability of higher education for middle-class and working-class families.”
Sen. Frerichs has been a member of the Senate Committee on Higher Education for six years. He has served as its vice chairman since 2009, when he also was first appointed to COGFA.
COGFA is a legislative support services agency that provides the General Assembly with information regarding the state and national economies, revenue projections and state government operations. It produces reports on the funding of state retirement systems and the State Employee Group Insurance Program. Members of the Commission hold hearings on state facility closure proposals and vote on whether or not to recommend closure.
Last year, as a member of COGFA, Sen. Frerichs helped resolve a dispute over the bidding process for state employee health insurance contracts. Serving as a voice for downstate employees worried about their benefits, he pushed for COGFA to allow the bidding to be reopened to longtime employee insurance provider Health Alliance.
“As pressure mounts for legislators to make significant choices about the future of state spending, revenue and employee benefits, it’s more important than ever that we base those decisions on accurate, unbiased information,” Sen. Frerichs said. “I look forward to helping COGFA lead the way in establishing the context for the fiscal policies we’ll consider in the next two years.”