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Commission: Keep State Museum Open

Illinois State Museum
state of Illinois

The Illinois State Museum and a downstate prison work camp should stay open.

That's the recommendation of legislators on a bipartisan commission, on a vote of seven to two.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner says he'll close the museum and Dickson Mounds archeological site, as well as the Hardin County work camp. He cites budget reasons.

Senator Gary Forby, a Democrat from southern Illinois, says the prisoners are rehabilitated at the work camp. He also says the area would also lose an important resource if it shuts down.

"The biggest thing, you know, they go out and help all the communities. We have a flood, and we had tornadoes down there ...  and they were the first one on the site. And they were the last one to leave. And if they close down they won'' have that right now."

A prison watchdog group, the John Howard Association, opposes closing the camp.

Despite the commission's vote, Rauner has the authority to shutter both state facilities.

Legislators are attempting to pass a separate law to require the museum stay in operation.

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