While Illinois lawmakers continue to debate whether to extend the income tax increase. But that's not the only source of money being considered. Backers of expanding gambling also project the state would get a windfall.
State Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island) is once again taking a stab at gambling expansion.
He's got two options: Either authorizing a casino for Chicago, or a broader plan that would put casinos in Chicago, Danville, Rockford, Lake County and the south suburbs. Horse race tracks would also be permitted to have slot machines.
Illinois lawmakers on Wednesday heard from supporters and opponents of allowing more casinos in Illinois. But they're no closer to making a deal.
Gambling was a big issue earlier this year, but negotiations fell apart in May, at the end of the spring legislative session. Since then, attention has moved to other issues, like the state's underfunded pension systems.
On the table are five new casinos — in Chicago and its north and south suburbs, in Rockford, and in Danville. The plan would also allow slot machines at horse racetracks.
Advocates pass out fliers promoting it during the Pride Parade in Chicago over the summer; despite an intense campaign to legalize same sex marriage in Illinois, the legislation's sponsor remains tight-lipped about whether he has the 60 votes needed for it to pass in the House.
For the first time since a brief special session in July,legislators will begin making their way en masse to Springfield this week, for the fall veto session. The agenda before them is relatively light. The General Assembly will likely debate some budget matters. And there's a hearing on a new type of health care coverage for retired state employees. Amanda Vinicky previews what else is ahead.
While many people across Illinois had Monday off from work for Memorial Day, the members of the Illinois General Assembly were meeting in Springfield. Just four days remain until lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the summer. The last week of session is a time for individual legislators to shine — or stumble — as months of hard work on legislation culminates in long-awaited votes. We took a look at some of this week's key players in Springfield.