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SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Senate approved legislation Wednesday that could ensure southern Illinois counties are not left out of trauma center funding.

The measure, which was sent to the governor's desk on a 41-8 vote, would prevent money collected in southern Illinois for trauma center purposes from being redirected to other parts of the state.

"I'm just trying to protect the people in my district," said state Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, who sponsored the legislation.

When someone pays a traffic fine, a portion of that revenue is distributed to one of 11 trauma districts spread across the state. Most, however, are located north of Interstate 70. Southern Illinois residents needing trauma care typically go to facilities across state borders in Indiana and Missouri.

The overall pot of money is about $3.5 million, meaning an estimated $300,000 could be distributed to southern Illinois hospitals if the measure is approved by Gov. Pat Quinn.

"The people in my district... they think they are not being treated fair," Forby said.

The legislation was approved unanimously in the House in April.

The legislation is House Bill 1391.

 

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