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Families Send Distress Call Over State Budget

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky
NPR Illinois

Members of the Illinois House on Thursday heard stories of misery resulting from nearly two years without a state budget. Democrats used the opportunity to attack Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Instead of voting on a budget last week at the end of the spring legislative session, Democrats decided to hold a series of hearings on the damage done by nearly two years of stalemate.

The message came from people with drug addiction, domestic violence counselors, and parents of disabled children — like Kathy Hansen of Elmhurst.

“We are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and family members who can’t sleep at night because the state has virtually abandoned our loved ones,” Hansen said.

Marybeth Linse of Ingleside says her daughter Jessica, a quadriplegic who depends on a ventilator, hasn't been home in two years.

She says the state tells her home nursing is not available in her area, so Jessica is staying at a care facility 65 miles away.

"Please, I want my daughter back home,” Linse told legislators.

Democratic legislators teed off on Rauner. Rep. LaShawn Ford, of Chicago, says the governor ought to be recalled.

Rauner says Democrats are using the people who testified as “props.”

Speaking at a press event in the Chicago suburbs, Rauner says legislators ought to return to Springfield to work on the budget.

But the governor is also demanding they first adopt his political and economic agenda.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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