Lawmakers who don’t want the state facilities in their districts to close are fighting the governor’s plans. State Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton, pictured) is sponsoring a bill to set up a panel and other steps to make it more difficult for the governor to shut down facilities such as the prisons at Tamms and Dwight, among dozens of places mentioned in the governor’s budget speech last month.
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“I don’t think anybody has seen or heard any plans” from the governor, Forby said in presenting his bill to a committee. Another Southern Illinois senator, Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), said the idea of turning people the state is supposed to take care of into “dollars and cents” is “quite offensive.” “Adding the layer of legislative review … which would require the legislature as a whole to affirmatively affirm any potential facility closure would impede the executive branch’s ability to effectuate the budget in a timely and effective manner,” said Sheila Henretta, general counsel in the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. S.B. 3564 has passed the Senate State Government and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.