Governor approves $600 million to keep Illinois universities running

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation authorizing $600 million in emergency funding to keep major Illinois universities operating until fall.

The Republican signed the bill Monday, April 25, 2016 after a debate last week over the temporary spending plan in the General Assembly.

The package includes $170 million for the Monetary Award Program, a needs-based grant that colleges doled out this past school year without state reimbursement.

Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature have been unable to agree for 10 months on a plan for the budget year that began July 1.

In a statement Monday, the first-term governor said the law doesn't solve the budget crisis but is "a first step toward compromise."

He reiterated his demand for business reforms and union-power curbs first.