The Latest: House Democrats propose college grant program

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Latest on legislative action in Springfield (all times local):

11:30 a.m.


House Democrats have proposed a plan to subsidize higher education costs for college students who choose to stay in Illinois.

Democratic Reps. Lou Lang of Skokie and Will Guzzardi and Christian Mitchell of Chicago announced their plan Tuesday. It would provide full-time Illinois students attending a public university or community college with a yearly grant capped at $4,000.

Students who maintain a B average with families earning less than $125,000 annually would qualify.

Lang says the plan would support Illinois’ economy by incentivizing students to stay. He says over a quarter of the growing number of Illinois students attending out-of-state colleges never return.

Students would start receiving grants in 2018 at an estimated cost of $300 million.

The proposal would also create a faculty-retention fund and a debt relief program.

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The bill is HB1316.

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11:10 a.m.

Senate Democrats are proposing a backup state budget plan that doesn’t cut some vital areas as much as a proposal that narrowly won approval last week.

Sen. Heather Steans’ (STAYNZ’) plan would spend $37.3 billion. A measure spending 2 percent less was OK’d last week but with only Democratic votes.

It’s an attempt by the Senate to open the door to Illinois’ first annual budget in two years. First-term Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has sparred with Democrats who run the General Assembly over raising taxes to settle a deficit.

Steans’ budget plan projects the same level of spending Rauner himself proposed in February. The Democratic senator from Chicago says it still includes steep spending reductions but forgoes a previous $400 million cut to Medicaid.

Income and other taxes would be increased to bring in $5.5 billion.

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4 a.m.

The Illinois Senate could take up some lingering issues related to the “grand bargain” budget compromise.

Senators were winding down to a possible vote Tuesday on changes to the workers’ compensation system. It’s one of the “structural” changes Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has demanded during the two-year budget stalemate.

Democrats have argued that significant cost-saving measures were enacted in 2011, but those savings have not been passed along to business owners in the form of lower premiums.

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago made workers’ comp part of the attempted compromise he hatched with Republican Leader Christine Radogno (ruh-DOHN’-yoh) of Lemont (lih-MAHT’) last winter.

As it stands now, medical fees paid to doctors would be cut significantly under the bill. Medical fees were cut by 30 percent in 2011.


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May 23, 2017 at 05:31AM

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The Latest: House Democrats propose college grant program

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