- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation to release $5.4 billion in federal funds during a stalemate over the state budget.

The measure signed into law Thursday would provide funding for social programs such as energy assistance, cancer screenings and family nutrition. It takes effect immediately.

The money was available but couldn’t be spent because the Republican governor and Democrats who control the Legislature haven’t agreed on a budget for the fiscal year that started July 1.

Spokesman Lance Trover says Rauner signed the measure “because it will help those in need without adding to the state’s budget deficit.”

House Speaker Michael Madigan attempted to add some state spending authority to a Senate plan last week, but then backed off. The Senate gave final approval to the bill Wednesday.

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