Gov. Pat Quinn says he is going to sign the bill doing away with the controversial tuition waiver program, which has – for more than a hundred years – allowed lawmakers to send young people to state universities. The program has come under fire amid news that some of the “scholarships” have gone to children of political donors or other insiders. The only requirement of the program has been that the recipient live within the lawmaker’s district, but some have not even complied with that rule.


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State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago), fingered as a frequent abuser of the rule, having given the scholarships to at least ten people not in her district, said the recent state assistance for the parent companies of Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are no different.   State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) accused the sponsor, State Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates) of simply trying for a “press pop” and of trying to impugn the integrity of lawmakers who, as Dunkin indicated he does, use an impartial committee to make the awards. Supporters of the bill, which passed by more than a two-to-one margin in the House, say the program has taken on too much scandal to survive.   The Senate only passed the bill after it was amended to call for a task force examining all tuition waiver programs.  HB 3810 (tuition waivers) has passed the House, 79-32.


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