Senate Overrides Rauner’s MAP Funding Veto, House Falls Two Votes Short

March 02, 2016
 
n this Feb. 24, 2016 photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner visits with students hoping to attend college during a visit to Southeast High School in Springfield, where he discussed his education agenda.

In this Feb. 24, 2016 photo, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner visits with students hoping to attend college during a visit to Southeast High School in Springfield, where he discussed his education agenda.

Seth Perlman/Assocated Press

The Illinois Senate Wednesday voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of hundreds of millions of dollars for higher education, but the House fell short in its vote.  The House debated restoring hundreds of millions of dollars in college funding for two hours Wednesday afternoon. Overcoming Rauner's veto required 71 House votes. It failed 69-48.

The legislation, co-sponsored in the House by central Illinois Democrats Carol Ammons of Urbana and Sue Scherer of Decatur, involved $397 million for the income-based Monetary Award Program and $324 million for community colleges.  The Republican governor 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.

Representative Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) whose district includes Illinois State University - voted no. 

"I can't think of anything that is more of a cruel hoax on the students across the state depending on MAP funding than proposing something that doesn’t have the money to pay for it," he said.

Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) says the state promised college students this money. 

"If you read some of those 15,000 petitions that we brought down here and handed to the governor, you'd know this is what the people want," he said.

But hours later, the attempt to override Rauner's veto failed in the House by two votes.   Republicans stuck together and voted against it. 

Gov. Rauner issued a statement shortly after the House vote.

“We applaud House Republicans and Representative Drury (Democratic Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood) for standing up for taxpayers today," he said.  "Despite the Governor's request that the General Assembly not waste time with a political vote that was never going to pass, the legislature is poised to leave students, universities and community colleges in the lurch for at least a month. We continue to urge Democratic leaders not to recess until the General Assembly passes a bipartisan proposal to fund MAP and higher education.”

In his vote, Rep. Drury said the vote was about politics, and that the legislation wouldn't t actually help. Another Democrat, Luis Arroyo of Chicago, was absent.

“It’s a shame that House Republicans have chosen Governor Rauner’s wrong priorities over the college students and families they represent,” said Dan Montgomery, President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, in a statement.  "They could have reversed the Governor's irresponsible veto but instead voted to leave colleges out of money, educators out of work, and low-income students out of luck.”

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 now nine-month stalemate.

Story source: AP