Illinois bill would bar public funds for graduation speakers

SHARE Illinois bill would bar public funds for graduation speakers

A proposal in the Illinois House would bar public universities from paying commencement speakers with public funds.

The News-Gazette reports the bill passed a House committee Wednesday. Bill sponsor Rep. Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston, said it’s a small way of saving money and that universities could try to find private funding for commencement speakers.

Phillips said some universities pay “$30,000 to $50,000” for commencement speakers.

“I’m just thinking that we could curtail that and private funds could pay for that,” Phillips said.

Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, criticized the proposal, saying it’s “micromanaging.” He said university presidents already have to explain proposed budgets to legislators.

“Isn’t that what they’re accountable for?” Welch said. “If we’re going to do their budgeting for them, they could just pass the torch to us.”

The committee passed the bill on the condition that Phillips would bring revisions back to the committee before it goes to the full House. He said changes would clarify its impact on community colleges and other campus speeches.

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