The decision to close state prisons and mental health centers has some lawmakers scrambling to figure out how to prevent such choices in the future.   Several prisons and mental health centers are slated for closure, disconcerting some lawmakers whose constituents depend on the facilities for their livelihoods. A measure introduced by State Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton, pictured) would prohibit the governor from closing facilities until lawmakers take a binding vote on whether they should be closed.


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Forby asks why the governor should have the final say on facility closures.   “A governor is not a king. He is only one person,” he says. “I don’t know why a governor has a say-so over everybody else in the state of Illinois.”   A state panel is currently discussing these issues, but its decision is non-binding. State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) voted against the measure.   “We already take input,” he says. “I don’t think we should be tying the hands of the chief executive officer of the state to make tough choices.”   The bill failed by one vote. Forby admitted that even if it were signed into law, it wouldn’t keep the governor from withholding money from facilities he wants to close.


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