Thursday's Legislative Session Gets Heated Over Higher Education Funding

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Springfield - Bill Murray starred in the 1993 box office comedy 'Groundhog's Day' where a weatherman relived the same day over, and over, and over again.  

Some would describe that as the atmosphere here at the state Capitol with lawmakers, for the second day in a row, discussing MAP grants, community colleges, and university funding.

"Our citizens can't take any more of this madness.  We need to stop it.  We need to grow up," said state representative Jack Franks (D-Woodstock).

Franks spoke critically of how Democrats and Republicans have behaved during the state's budget impasse.

As a result of the gridlock, community colleges, universities, and students are unsure of what happens after the spring semester.

Thursday's debate over legislation to provide funding was full of fireworks.

"We have to figure out a way to bring all of our spending in balance and you can't do it through court orders. You have to do it through sitting down working through numbers," said state representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago).

State representative Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) added, "I wish we would do that leader.  We're going to come back here in April, maybe then, after a primary's over right, maybe then serious people will get serious about this serious issue."

However, it was again Franks that said while both sides are busy playing 'gotcha' politics with each other, it's the colleges, universities, students, and taxpayers who are feeling the real pain.

"Our citizens aren't just getting punched in the face, they're getting kneed in the groin," he said.

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