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State Legislature Opens Veto Session

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 14, 2009 4:40PM

Image of State Capitol via
Lawmakers return to the Illinois Capitol today for the fall veto session. The session, slated to last three days this week and three next, will focus on money for cash strapped college students and stronger ethics laws.

The Monetary Award Program, or MAP grant, provides nearly 140,000 students funding for college through grants. Almost half of those students come from households making $20,000 or less per year. When the Illinois Legislature met last, they only funded the program halfway with $195 million and now they need to find an additional $200 million in funds. Governor Quinn and House Speaker Michael Madigan both support a measure to increase cigarette taxes by as much as a dollar a pack to shore up the funds, but State Republican leader Tom Cross prefers a tax amnesty plan. The amnesty plan would allow businesses and individuals who owe the state money to pay their debts without incurring penalties.

The Legislature will also hone in on some ethics issues in an attempt to address the rampant corruption our gubernatorial candidates love to grandstand on. Lawmakers will look at a measure to allow a recall of governors in cases of corruption or incompetence along with campaign finance reform measures Governor Quinn vetoed over the summer. If they have time, legislators might even take a look at their own salaries. The Tribune reports that lawmakers may revisit Governor Quinn's elimination of automatic pay raises for legislators.