Lawmakers that live in districts with state prisons left Springfield frustrated Wednesday because nothing was done to stop Governor Quinn's scheduled prison closings. One such lawmaker is State Rep. Jason Barickman, who issued this press release Wednesday afternoon blaming House Speaker Mike Madigan for refusing to call the governor's plan up for an override vote:
Springfield - State Representative Jason Barickman (R-Champaign) was extremely disappointed with House Speaker Michael Madigan’s (D-Chicago) refusal to allow for an override vote of Governor Quinn’s budget cuts effecting the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) as the Illinois House wrapped up fall veto session on Wednesday.
“We passed this budget back in May with a good amount of support from members of both parties. The Senate quickly voted to override the Governor’s vetoes last week. I am displeased that the House did not follow suit this week,” said Representative Barickman. “As the week progressed, it became clear that the Speaker was not going to allow a vote on the budget overrides. This is what happens with single party control and too much power concentrated in the hands of a single individual. If you don’t support overriding the Governor’s veto, then vote against the measure. The House should have had the option of voting on restoring funds that were intended to be used for facilities such as Dwight.”
The Governor vetoed $56 million in funds from Senate Bill 2474, including almost $20 million for the operation of Dwight Correctional Center. If the budget funds were restored, Governor Quinn would not have to spend these funds on the facilities slated for closure, but he could not spend the funds on other, unrelated items.
“I never agreed with the approach the Governor took to close Dwight and some of the other corrections facilities in Illinois. He does not have a long term plan for shutting down these institutions, and frankly, I have grave concerns about closing prisons when our inmate population remains well above the capacity our corrections system was designed to hold.
“I have said before that we must continue to look for ways to cut the budget. Any budget cuts must be made in a responsible manner does not jeopardize public safety. Today’s inaction will not result in cuts. We are halfway through the fiscal year, and because the prisons remain open, there are no actual savings for the Governor to recognize. By not restoring these funds in the original budget, Governor Quinn will simply increase spending on other programs,” Representative Barickman concluded.