- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Latest on budget debates at the Illinois Legislature (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

The Illinois House has failed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of funding for college grants and two-year schools.

The House debated restoring hundreds of millions of dollars in college funding for two hours Wednesday afternoon. But overcoming Republican Rauner’s rejection of the spending required 71 votes. It failed 69-48.

The legislation involved $397 million for the income-based Monetary Award Program and $324 million for community colleges.

But Illinois is in its ninth month without a spending plan because of a disagreement between Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly.

The Senate voted to override the veto earlier in the day. But an override by the House wouldn’t have forced spending. Rauner complains there’s no money to cover the bill.


The bill is SB2043.


4:40 p.m.

An Illinois House committee unanimously passed a proposal to suspend late fees for license plate renewal stickers because the state is not mailing reminders to residents in order to save money during the budget deadlock.

The House’s Transportation Committee passed the bill Wednesday on a 9-0 vote. The full House will now consider the bill.

There’s been a significant increase in the amount the state has collected in late fess since it stopped mailing reminders. Drivers paid more than $2.7 million in fines from Jan. 1 through Feb. 22. Last year, the state collected about $1.5 million in fines for those two months.

The bill would suspend the fines until there’s a budget and the state can resume mailing reminders.


3:40 p.m.

A Senate committee has OK’d a measure that would let an outside arbitrator decide state-employee wages and working conditions if union negotiations reach an impasse.

The Democratic-controlled Executive Committee sent the legislation to the floor on a 10-5 vote Wednesday. It’s identical to a bill Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed.

The state’s largest public employee union is the state council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Its contract expired June 30 and negotiations with the Rauner administration over the past year have been unsuccessful.

Republicans argue the legislation would put terms of new contract into the hands of a union-friendly arbitrator. Democrats say they’re trying to avoid a strike or lockout. Rauner has asked state regulators to declare talks at an impasse.


The bill is HB580.


2:40 p.m.

The Senate has voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of hundreds of millions of dollars for higher education.

The 37-17 vote Wednesday sends the override action to the House. It would authorize spending $397 million for the income-based Monetary Award Program for needy college students and $324 million to help finance community colleges.

Republican Rauner vetoed the measure because there isn’t enough money to cover the cost. He has bickered with Democrats who control the Legislature, and there’s still no budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

Many colleges covered MAP funding for thousands of students during the fall semester but some said they wouldn’t be able to continue this spring. Four-year colleges have received no state money this year because of the stalemate.


The bill is SB2043.


2:10 p.m.

Prosecutors and law enforcement officials say Illinois budget stalemate is undermining public safety because of cuts to after-school and diversion programs for youth.

The law enforcement leaders urged state lawmakers and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner Wednesday to end their budget standoff, now in its ninth month. The stalemate has meant that prison-diversion programs like Redeploy Illinois that provide youth counseling are serving fewer teens across the state.

Their comments came just before Rauner discussed his plan to reform the state’s criminal justice system to reduce incarceration rates. He called the failure to have a budget “a tragedy.” He says that improving the state’s economy will reduce the need for human service programs because more people will be employed.


11:50 a.m.

Illinois lawmakers say the state should spend more money to make it safer for children to walk to school.

Springfield Republican Reps. Tim Butler and Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (woh-JISS’-kee hee-MEN’-ehz) and a dozen advocates walked Wednesday from the Capitol to Cathedral School downtown to publicize their plea.

Officials say nearly five Illinois children are hit by cars every day within a block of a school.

Supporters want $5 million more for a government program called Illinois Safe Routes to School.

It has paid nearly $50 million since 2005 for 500 safety projects such as improving street-pavement conditions, adding bike lanes and breaking up gangs that can interfere with children answering the school bell.

Northbrook Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz is the legislation’s sponsor.


8 a.m.

Illinois lawmakers are expected to consider contentious pieces of legislation regarding unions and higher education funding.

The Democrat-led Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto last month of a bill to add funding for community colleges and tuition grants for low-income students. The Republican governor says he supports funding for higher education, but told lawmakers in his veto message that the state doesn’t have the $721 million that their legislation seeks to allocate.

The state still doesn’t have a budget for the current fiscal year.

Senate Democrats are considering a proposal to weaken Rauner’s position negotiating a new labor agreement with state workers by allowing an independent arbitrator to step in.

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