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Private fund OK’ed for illegal immigrants

CHICAGO — Illinois lawmakers have approved a privately funded scholarship program for children of immigrants, whether they’re in the country legally or illegally.

A 61-53 vote in the Illinois House sent the measure to the governor’s desk Monday.

The Illinois Dream Act would create a panel to raise private money for college scholarships. To qualify, students must have a Social Security number or federal taxpayer number.

The legislation would also let children of immigrants join state-run college savings programs.

It has no impact on a person’s immigration status.

Opponents say it’s improper to provide benefits that could help people who violate immigration laws.


Gov. Jindal angles to reverse cuts in budget

BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration tried Monday to persuade state senators to reverse a series of House-backed cuts to next year’s $25 billion budget, saying the cuts would have dire consequences: prisoners released from jail, emergencies left unattended and health care services shuttered.

Mr. Jindal wants the state Senate Finance Committee to restore more than $200 million in state spending to the 2011-12 budget, money stripped by the state House to lessen the use of one-time dollars for ongoing expenses and to remove “contingency” dollars tied to separate legislation that has yet to pass.

The governor’s top financial adviser, Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater, pitched the Jindal budget recommendations to the state senators as a “more prudent, balanced, deliberative approach” than the House budget.

Mr. Jindal’s budget proposed to close a more than $1 billion budget gap with a mix of cuts, one-time patches and a boost in certain types of federal funding. The governor’s budget office provided little information about those reductions, calling them efficiencies, “transformational reforms” and agency redesigns.


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