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Illinois state budget passes House; delayed in Senate

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By Illinois Public Radio/AP/KWMU

Springfield, Ill. – A group of Latino lawmakers is holding up a vote on a new budget for the state of Illinois. They say the spending plan falls short of what's needed in their communities.

Their move came just hours after the more than $55 billion spending plan cleared the House. The handful of Latino lawmakers - all Democrat - let it be known they'll withold their support.

All Republicans are also opposed to the budget, which means the Democratic leadership on Wednesday had too few votes to pass the plan, and so they instead adjourned for the night.

Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero) says the Latino lawmakers want a school construction program passed. He cited overcrowded schools in his district. At one point, Sandoval hinted the program would have to spend $1 billion toward building more schools, and he called for additional money to reduce crime.

Senate President Emil Jones says other top Democrats and he will meet with the Latino lawmakers to try to get the budget approved this week.

The budget, which passed the House on a 65-49 vote, totals $56 billion, including money to expand preschool programs, offer more grants to college students and increase general education spending.

Republicans say the Democrat-drafted budget is irresponsible because it shortchanges state pension systems and leavings about $2 billion in unpaid medical bills.

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