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Legislative tuition waivers move closer to extinction

Wed, 02 May 2012 14:33:15 CDT
By: IPR's Brian Mackey

A Senate panel approved a measure today that would end the practice of allowing state legislators to hand out tuition waivers for state universities. As IPR's Brian Mackey reports, the move represents a sharp turn for Senate Democrats.

   

Democrats in the Senate are the one group of legislators that have kept the tuition waivers alive in recent years. The House has twice voted to abolish them. But the Senate would always change the measure in an attempt to "fix" the program ... until now. Senate President John Cullerton is sponsoring a measure to abolish them, even though many of his fellow Senate Democrats don't want to.

"There's a lot of good reasons to keep it. But obviously it's become a distraction here with a small number of people abusing it."

Abuses like giving the waivers to the kids of campaign contributors or to students who live outside the legislator's district. Senate Republicans have long backed eliminating the scholarships. Minority Leader Christine Radogno.

"I don't care who gets credit for it -- it's the right thing to do."

The Senate measure also creates a task force to study ALL tuition waivers at state universities. It still has to be approved by the full Senate and agreed to by the House.

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