- Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 02:13 PM
A Weekly Update on Issues with Illinois State Senator Gary Forby...
Last week, I called for a vote on my legislation that would have given the General Assembly a voice in the state service center closure process. I was frustrated that a group from the other side of the aisle joined forces with Governor Pat Quinn and other Chicago politicians to defeat my plan, which came up just one vote short.
Ever since the governor gave his budget speech in February, I have been fighting to keep open important state facilities that provide important services and serve as the backbone of the economy in areas with high unemployment rates like Alexander County. In particular, I’ve been fighting for Tamms Correctional Center, which keeps the worst of the worst out of the general population where they have a history of assaulting guards and other inmates, and for Murray Developmental Center in Centralia, which is the only state-run facility in Southern Illinois that provides families with care for their loved ones with developmental disabilities. Since Tamms was built, violence in Illinois’ overcrowded prisons has dropped, and the waiting list for space in Murray is more than 3,000 long.
To protect these facilities—and others—from the whims of Illinois governors, I introduced a plan that would allow the General Assembly to vote before any service center closes. Considering these facilities provide important services, cost millions of dollars to build and maintain, and provide thousands of jobs in places like Alexander County, I think letting any one person have the authority to close them is dangerous and short-sighted. The people elect state senators and representatives to give them a voice, and we should have a say in facility closures.