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CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation related to student trustees and the school newspaper at Southern Illinois University.
On Friday, Rauner cited balance-of-power concerns in his decision to reject legislation that would have given two students full voting power on the university's Board of Trustees. Those students, one from the Carbondale campus and another from the Edwardsville campus, sit on the nine-member board but currently share one collective vote.
Two years have passed since either student representative has cast a vote. Under state law, the governor is responsible for choosing one of the students to be a voting member, but neither former Gov. Pat Quinn nor current Gov. Bruce Rauner has appointed the vote.
Supporters of the bill hoped allowing both students to vote would streamline the process by bypassing gubernatorial appointments.
"It was a common-sense piece of legislation that would allow students to be voting members," said Adrian Miller, a former Southern Illinois University student trustee who lobbied in Springfield for the bill's passage. "It's only two votes. I think it's disappointing."
In a statement issued on Friday after Rauner vetoed the bill, he said increasing students' voting power would dilute "the insight gained from the other trustees' years of professional experience."
Rauner's action also rejected a proposal aiming at cutting the cost of producing the Daily Egyptian by waiving the standard bidding process and securing a one-year printing contract.
Although the governor stressed that he supports student-run media, he used his amendatory veto power to suggest that changes included in the proposed law should apply to all public universities.
"Student newspapers are a vital part of vibrant and engaged student populations at all universities," Rauner said.
During the spring legislative session, the two-part bill was approved by wide margins in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly.
The bill is HB4113.
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