SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Senate President John Cullerton agreed Wednesday to end a century-old policy of letting Illinois legislators hand out college tuition waivers to their constituents, and a Senate panel quickly approved his proposal.
The House has voted repeatedly to end the legislative scholarship program because of abuses and complaints that it's costly for state universities. But Senate Democrats have backed the scholarships.
Cullerton, D-Chicago, said he now believes the scholarships have become a distraction from bigger problems and should end after September 2012. He said it's unfortunate that some lawmakers abused a program that benefited many people over the years. His proposal also includes a task force to examine all other tuition waivers to public universities.
"We really have to examine why we're spending $364 million on tuition waivers," Cullerton said. "There are a lot of very surprising tuition waivers we've uncovered in our research, and we want the task force to study this and come back with recommendations so we can save money."