The Latest: House finishes work after breakneck day

June 2, 2019
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Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, outlines a $39.9 billion state budget plan to the Executive Committee, Saturday, June 1, 2019 in Springfield, Ill. Lawmakers missed the Friday, May 31, 2019 deadline to adjourn their spring session after a week of landmark votes including approving a constitutional amendment question asking voters whether to switch to a graduated income-tax structure that hits the wealthy harder and sending to the governor statutory language to protect abortion rights after several Republican-led states have imposed steep restrictions on the procedure. (AP Photo/John O’Connor)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on action in the Illinois General Assembly (all times local):

8:35 p.m.

The Illinois House has concluded its spring-session work after a furious overtime workday.

House Speaker Michael Madigan thanked members and staff for persevering through a difficult five months. The Chicago Democrat and Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs both noted the breakneck pace of the final 24 hours. Work could not be completed in time to meet the May 31st adjournment deadline.

The House took up and adopted a nearly $40 billion budget, a $45 billion infrastructure improvement plan and billions of dollars in taxes and fees to finance the work.

The Senate returns Sunday to finalize pieces of the construction program and to consider a massive expansion of casino gambling and legalization of sports betting which the House also endorsed.


7:40 p.m.

The price motorists pay at the pump for gasoline would double to 38 cents per gallon under legislation the Illinois House has adopted.

The House voted 83-29 Saturday night to increase the motor fuel tax to pay for upgrades to roads, bridges, public transit, railroads and other improvements. It would produce more than $1 billion next year.

It’s one of the major tax increases Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed to finance his $45 billion infrastructure improvement program.

It would take effect when signed into law. But it’s part of the Illinois budget package the Senate must endorse when it returns to Springfield Sunday.

Democrats have an extraordinary majority in the House and approval required a three-fifths majority 71 votes to pass. But Republicans are on board because they agree the state’s infrastructure is in poor shape.


The bill is SB1939.

Online: www.ilga.gov .


6:45 p.m.

The Illinois House has pushed through a monstrous expansion of legalized gambling in the state , not only adding thousands of new casino wagering opportunities but legalizing betting on sporting events for the first time.

The House voted 87-27 Saturday night to OK the plan. The Senate must approve and officials expect senators to return to Springfield Sunday to send it to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. He plans to sign it.

Licensing fees and tax revenue could generate as much as $700 million in the first year. It’s intended to be used for the state’s $45 billion capital-construction program.

The sports betting plan capitalizes on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that ended Nevada’s monopoly on sports-betting. It languished until this week when Blue Island Democratic Rep. Robert Rita added a long-discussed measure to expand nearly 30-year-old casino gambling.

Rita’s measure would allow for casinos in Chicago, its northern and southern suburbs, and three other locations. Thousands of gambling positions would be added to existing casinos as well as to horse racing tracks.


The bill is SB690

Online: www.ilga.gov


5:55 p.m.

House Republicans are claiming victory with the state budget because of business-friendly initiatives they convinced majority Democrats to add.

The House voted 107-9 Saturday to approve a $39.9 billion fiscal plan for the year that begins July 1. Republicans agree it’s balanced. That’s a rarity after four years of partisan rancor fueled by legislative Democrats’ dispute with former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin applauded jobs-producing parts of the budget. The Western Springs Republican says there are programs for attracting construction jobs and data centers to locate here. It eliminates what critics say is an antiquated franchise tax hitting 300,000 businesses just for setting up shop. And a plan to cap the amount of money retailers can keep as recompense for collecting state sales tax at the register.

The legislation was the first of a series the House must approve to finish legislative work for the spring.


5:05 p.m.

The Illinois House has begun overtime action to approve a state budget.

The Executive Committee on Saturday approved a $39.9 billion spending plan and legislation authorizing its implementation for the year that begins July 1.

Those measures are now headed for evening action on the floor. They join other legislation approved by the Senate Friday night that includes revenue streams for the operating budget, a $45 billion state construction program and legislation to allow the state to borrow billions of dollars through bond sales to pay for the construction.

Lawmakers also plan to borrow more than $1 billion to put toward a nearly $7 billion pile of overdue bills. The interest paid on the borrowed money would be lower than the late-payment interest it currently pays.

Friday was the adjournment deadline for the spring session. Legislation requires three-fifths majorities for approval now.


4:05 a.m.

The Illinois Legislature blew a Friday deadline for ending its spring session and the House returns Saturday.

The House and Senate approved a budget Friday night for the year that begins July 1. The $39.9 billion plan goes to first-year Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The Senate completed its fiscal work. It approved revenue streams for the operating budget and OK’d a $45 billion, six-year construction program Pritzker wants.

The Senate then adjourned until fall but the House must act on that Senate work Saturday.

Officials had been hoping to legalize sports betting and expand casino gambling. A House OK on that Saturday would likely bring the Senate back sooner.

But after May 31, every issue that comes to a vote requires a three-fifths majority in each chamber.

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