- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Latest on the Illinois Legislature’s plan to fund higher education and other legislative issues (all times local):

2:35 p.m.

Leaders of Illinois’ public universities are thankful for the money the stop-gap funding bill passed by the state’s General Assembly will provide.

But they emphasize that the $600 million is only a fraction of what they need to operate and would not wipe away the consequences of the 10-month state budget standoff.

Matt Bierman is budget director at Western Illinois University. He said the $20 million that the Macomb school would get if Gov. Bruce Rauner signs the bill will ease doubts about being able to open for the fall semester, but that 110 planned layoffs will probably go ahead.

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen said cuts in staff and programs are still likely. A spokeswoman at the Urbana-Champaign campus confirmed that plans for civil-service worker layoffs will not change.

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2:15 p.m.

The Illinois Senate has approved a measure that would send $450 million in temporary aid to human service programs during the state’s budget stalemate.

Bill sponsor Democratic Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago said Friday the plan would help support agencies that have cut services while operating without state funding since July 1.

The Senate approved the proposal by a 55-0 vote and sent it to the House, which has adjourned until May 3.

The measure would use money from the Commitment to Human Services fund to pay for addiction treatment, homelessness prevention and senior services, among other things.

The proposal also includes some funding for higher education, which received $600 million in one-time money in a separate bill passed earlier Friday.

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1:35 p.m.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says she’s going to “immediately” begin processing payments to universities and colleges after lawmakers approved a $600 million short-term funding fix during the state’s unprecedented budget impasse.

Lawmakers approved the plan Friday and Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign it.

Munger says in a Friday statement that she’ll give top priority to students and institutions “suffering the most.”

The money comes from a surplus in the Education Assistance Fund, which she says has $354 million in it. The plan approved by lawmakers includes funding tuition grants for low-income students.

Munger says students and schools have “paid a heavy price” for the budget impasse.

The short-term bipartisan solution comes during a budget battle over the budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. Without funding, universities and college have issued layoffs and cutbacks. Rauner and legislative Democrats remain deadlocked on numerous issues.

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12:30 p.m.

Illinois legislative leaders are praising a short-term plan to help struggling universities during the budget impasse, though both sides are bickering about its meaning and how to move forward.

Lawmakers approved a $600 million higher education fix Friday as the budget impasse between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature reaches its tenth month. Already, some universities have had layoffs, and Chicago State University had expected to close its doors.

Rauner is expected to sign the measure, which provides a one-time infusion of money thanks to a surplus in a state education fund. It’ll likely take weeks for the money to reach universities.

House Speaker Michael Madigan says the funding fix isn’t a solution, but emergency relief for those in need. He accuses Rauner of creating the situation and says he hopes Rauner approves human services funding too.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (ruh-DOHN’-yoh) says the plan is a model because Illinois has the money and the situation is a “reset in budgeting.”

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11:45 a.m.

Illinois lawmakers have approved a $600 million short-term funding infusion for higher education institutions that have been struggling financially due to not receiving state money during the state budget impasse.

The Senate unanimously approved the deal Friday after House members voted for it 106-2.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign the bill. He issued a statement through his spokeswoman that praised lawmakers in the Democrat-led chambers for putting “aside political differences” to provide emergency assistance for colleges and universities.

Rauner and legislative Democrats have been deadlocked on a spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1, which has led some state universities to institute layoffs and cutbacks. Chicago State University is on the verge of closing.

Money for the education fix is possible because of a surplus in the state’s Education Assistance Fund. The funding proposal also has nearly $170 million in tuition grants for low-income students.

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The legislation is SB2059.

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11:15 a.m.

The Illinois House has approved a $600 million short-term funding fix for financially struggling colleges and universities that have been without funding during the state budget stalemate.

The rare bipartisan deal was overwhelmingly approved on a 106-2 vote Friday. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign the bill if it clears the Senate.

The bill comes at a critical time for Chicago State University, which is on the verge of closing its doors.

Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks, who voted no on the bill, says he prefers a full resolution to the budget that should’ve taken effect July 1.

Money for the bill is possible because of a surplus in the state’s Education Assistance Fund. The funding proposal also has nearly $170 million in tuition grants for low-income students.


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