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The 79-32 vote Monday was the second overwhelming tally in the state House in two months. The latest approval was necessary to endorse changes made in the state Senate, which broke a historic logjam over the issue earlier this month by reversing course and voting to abolish the perk.

The measure now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who plans to sign it.

“Scholarships, paid for by Illinois taxpayers, should be awarded only to those with merit who are in true financial need,” the Democrat said in a statement. “Abolishing this program is the right thing to do.”

Under the program, each lawmaker was allowed to award two four-year waivers to public universities per year. Many spread the wealth by handing out eight one-year waivers.

For decades, though, waivers sometimes went to the politically connected rather than those most deserving. In the past year alone, a half-dozen lawmakers gave waivers to the relatives of lobbyists or friends, or violated the rules by awarding them to people who live outside their legislative districts. Some recipients have strangely listed addresses linked to their benefactors.


2010 count continues to miss minorities

A new government analysis shows the 2010 census generally was accurate, although it continued to disproportionately overlook minorities.

The Census Bureau reports that it over-counted the total U.S. population by about 36,000 people, or 0.01 percent. That is compared to an overcount of 0.5 percent in 2000.

Still, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves notes that traditional hard-to-count groups, including blacks and Hispanics, remained difficult to tally.

The census missed about 2.1 percent of black Americans and 1.5 percent of Hispanics. That’s statistically comparable to levels in 2000.

The South was more likely to have people who were missed, while the Midwest and Northeast posted small over-counts.

The once-a-decade population count is used to allocate House seats and more than $400 billion in federal money for roads, schools and social programs.


Obama to push tax credits in visit to battleground state

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