Not worth the trouble

Illinois Senate correct to eliminate oft-abused scholarship program

Published: Saturday, May 12, 2012 5:00 a.m. CDT

It’s been rare in recent years for anyone to give a thumbs up to much of anything out of Springfield, but today we’ll give two full thumbs up to the Illinois Senate for finally voting to eliminate the much-abused, often political, and always taxpayer-funded legislative scholarship program.

Last week, the Illinois Senate voted, 43-5, to end the program, which allowed members of the General Assembly to hand out free college educations to individuals within their districts.

While the intent of the program initially was admirable — awarding college scholarships to local students who might not have been able to attend otherwise — too many abuses have been recorded in recent years for it to be saved.

The Better Government Association and media outlets across the state have reported on legislators awarding the scholarships to children who live outside of their districts  — a violation of state law — and to children of donors and other political allies.

Local Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) voted with the majority in the Senate to do away with the program.

The Illinois House voted earlier to eliminate the scholarships, but because some changes were made in the bill in the Senate, the House will have to take up the measure again.

Speaker Michael Madigan supports the bill, as do McHenry County representatives, and it is expected to pass.

Gov. Pat Quinn also has pushed for the elimination of the scholarships and said he will sign it.

Lawmakers have too many other, much more important issues to worry about than to have the scandals of the legislative scholarships looming over their heads.

It’s best to end the scandals by ending the program, and move on.

We commend the Senate for moving on.

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The Morris Daily Herald Editorial Board is led by Publisher Gerry Burke and editors Patrick Graziano and Mark Malone. It makes its editorial decisions in consultation with other members of the Herald staff.

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