Ill. Senators disheartened over ban to block scholarships

May 4, 2012

Jewell Washington and The Associated Press

A handful of Illinois state senators are defending why they voted against a bill that would ban legislators from handing out scholarships.

The Illinois Senate overwhelmingly voted on a bill (HB3810) to end the tuition waiver program Thursday.

In the past, lawmakers have sometimes awarded scholarships to the children of political donors and allies.

State Sen. Iris Martinez voted against the measure and said the bill would only ban deserving students and voted against the measure.

“There’s a few out there that abuse it, there’s no doubt,” Martinez said. “But the majority of us look at this as an opportunity to help our kids in our neighborhoods be able to afford at least a year or two of college.”

State Sen. Pamela Althoff voted for the bill and said a majority of lawmakers realize the state can’t afford to keep the $13 million scholarship program anymore.

The measure still needs House approval.