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updated: 2/5/2013 6:43 PM

Illinois House OKs road funds, child-welfare money

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois House approved reallocating spending and taking advantage of new funding Tuesday after contentious debate in which Republicans claimed majority Democrats were creating $2 billion in new programs instead of fixing the state's wrecked budget.

The 63-52 vote sends the appropriation bill to the Senate. It's part of an annual exercise in which lawmakers shore up parts of state government that are running short of money.

The legislation would put $675 million to work on road construction this spring after an unanticipated infusion of federal money and freed-up state funds. It moves $25 million saved from closing prisons to child-welfare services and authorizes a half-year's payment for state employee health insurance.

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie urged legislators to "do the right thing" and approve the bill that could save as many as 1,900 jobs at the Department of Children and Family Services.

But GOP legislators cried foul, saying Democrats invariably "demonize" them for opposing such measures.

"I'm tired of the other side telling me I don't care about anything," said Rep. Dennis Reboletti, a Republican from Elmhurst.

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