SPRINGFIELD – An effort to give lawmakers the power to block Gov. Pat Quinn from closing large state facilities fell one vote short of passage in the Senate Wednesday.
State Sen. Gary Forby, whose district includes the Tamms Correctional Center which Quinn wants to shutter as part of a budget-cutting plan, had sought to give the General Assembly a say in whether closures can go forward.
But, the measure received just 29 of the 30 votes needed to move to the House for further deliberations.
Quinn wants to close adult prisons in Tamms and Dwight, youth prisons in Joliet and Murphysboro, a center for developmentally disabled residents in Centralia and numerous other state facilities. At stake are more than 2,000 jobs.
Under current law, the governor makes recommendations on state closures to the General Assembly’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. The commission then makes a non-binding recommendation on whether the state closures should go forward.
Last week, the panel voted to reject each of the governor’s closure proposals.
Forby’s legislation would give the House and Senate the right to accept or reject the commission’s recommendation. The governor would not be able to overrule the decision.
In addition to Forby, those supporting the idea included state Sens. Mike Jacobs of East Moline, John Jones of Mount Vernon and Kyle McCarter of Lebanon.
Among those voting against the measure were Republican state Sens. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Dale Righter of Mattoon.
State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, did not vote on the proposal.
In a prepared statement, Forby said he was surprised at the outcome of the vote.
“I’m not going to give up on fighting for Tamms Correctional Center, Murray Developmental Center, and other important state facilities that serve our families,” Forby said.
The legislation is Senate Bill 3564.
(Kurt Erickson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-782-4043)