Illinois Senate passes bill to overturn Rauner's veto on MAP grants

By Daily Illini Staff Report

UPDATE: The Illinois House failed to pass the three-fifths vote threshold for overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto, despite voting 69 to 48 to pass the bill. According to Illinois law, the bill remains vetoed.

The Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 2043 today, which proposed to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto on a bill allocating funds for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants. Rauner said he vetoed the bill because the state did not have enough money in its budget to pay for the grants.

The bill passed 37 to 17 votes; 2 senators voted “present,” meaning they did not vote in favor or opposition of the bill.

Rauner originally vetoed legislation that would have appropriated $721 million in state funding to Illinois students.

In a press release following the initial veto, Rauner said the bill, “would explode the State’s budget deficit, exacerbate the State’s cash flow crisis, and place further strain on social service providers and recipients who are already suffering from the State’s deficit spending.”

Sen. Don Trotter, assistant Majority Leader and one of the bill’s sponsors, said the governor failed to fund the MAP grants by deciding to “hold the people of the state of Illinois hostage … he decided not to pay these students to assist them to go to college after agreeing to do so.”

Catherine Kelly, Rauner’s press secretary, said the new bill can only become law if State Representative Jack Franks or State Representative Scott Drury “succumb to pressure” from House Speaker Michael Madigan and switch their vote. Kelly added a change in vote would “force a massive tax hike on the people of Illinois.”

“These members sided with taxpayers the first time around because this is a sham bill and an empty promise to students. We believe these members will do the right thing to ensure taxpayers are not left holding the bag,” Kelly said. “All of us want to fund higher education and MAP, and we stand ready to work with the General Assembly to find ways to do so without adding to the deficit or forcing a massive tax increase.”

Sen. David Luechtefeld, questioned why the bill did not include four-year institutions, such as the University.

Trotter responded that even though this bill didn’t address four-year universities, it is better to pass a bill that provides some students with funding than to leave all students without any funding at all.

“It’s unfortunate, as I’ve pointed out earlier as well,” Trotter said. “We had a full budget, we had a complete budget and the Governor decided not to sign that complete budget which got us doing this piecemeal approach … so this is a piece of that pit that needs to be dealt with at this point in time.”

Last week Chicago State University sent layoff notices to 900 employees, due to the lack of a state budget.

University administrators will hold three budget sessions to discuss how the state budget impasse is affecting the system and Urbana campus on March 9, March 14 and March 17. The sessions are open to the public.

[email protected]