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Lawmakers Back Re-Opening Illinois State Museum

Illinois State Museum

 The Illinois State Museum and its affiliated sites shut their doors to visitors at the end of September. Legislators Tuesday took action that could result in its reopening ... one day. 

Legislation is on its way to Gov. Bruce Rauner that would require state government to have, and to keep open to the public, an official state museum in Springfield.

But it was Rauner who closed the museum in the first place, citing necessity born of the budget impasse.

Rauner's office says the measure's under review.

But it's telling that it received Republican support. And it passed with more than enough votes to override a potential veto.

Chairman of the state museum board Guerry Suggs says if does work, and the measure becomes law,

"Now I don't think that will reopen the museum today. But it certainly will help the museum in the future, and I think it will help the museum from being closed again, when you get into what we're ... this is obviously a legislative fight between the Democrats and the Republicans when it comes to the budget," Suggs said.  

Though the museum's closed to visitors, the majority of its staff are still on the state payroll, while their union battles Rauner in court.

The legislation provides no specific source of funding for the museum.  As was the case before the shutdown, it also requires Illinois to operate branch sites at Chicago, Dickson Mounds, Lockport and Rend Lake.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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