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Madison County furloughs court reporters over budget crunch

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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) _ Court reporters in a southwestern Illinois county will stay home three days each week in response to a state budget crisis that could lead to widespread layoffs.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Madison County’s chief judge announced the move Thursday. Attorneys will be allowed to hire court reporters on their own in cases where the circuit court doesn’t provide such resources.

State money to pay court reporters runs out this month as part of a $1.6 billion deficit in the current state budget. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and majority Democratic state lawmakers have been unable to resolve the funding gap.

Other Illinois judges are preparing to take similar steps and have warned that court reporters could lose their jobs in several weeks if the fiscal problems continue.