IL legislators have begun tackling several major issues in this first day of the end of the regular fall veto session. They have such a long list to get through that some legislators are already discussion an extension of this veto session later this month. Whether that will happen depends on how much momentum they get out of the next couple of days. House legislators were able to pass a watered down gambling bill which addresses some of Governor Quinn’s expressed concerns on gambling but still leaves in slots at racetracks. Quinn has said he would veto anything with racetrack slots, but he has irritated lawmakers to such an extent that the legislature is attempting to pass a gambling bill that will have enough supermajority votes to override a veto from Quinn. More work remains to be done on the bill before setting it up for voting. Legislators are also attempting to pass their pension reform bill, but that faces a much more uncertain passage during this session since recent analysis of the bill indicates from several sources that instead of curbing future state pension obligations, the proposed manner in which the legislature is approaching reform will likely result in either higher costs to the state or far less savings than plan advocates intend. See article below:

Illinois House committee OKs major pension overhaul

The only other issues considered by legislators far are huge tax breaks (which we can’t afford) for the profitable CME Group Inc. and CBOE Holdings Inc. based in Chicago exchanges; increasing the number of speeding camera; and fixing financing for the Leucadia Chicago Clean Energy project.  The General Assembly has adjourned to today, so we will see if anything useful happens tomorrow. AGAIN, WHAT WILL DEFINITELY NOT HAPPEN THIS SESSION is anything respecting the reinstatement of Meritorious Good Time (MGT) credits or any state prison early release program. At this moment, what is more urgent is that the legislature do something to reallocate budget monies enough to forestall Governor Pat Quinn’s threats to close down 7 state facilities at the end of December 2011, and layoff 2000 plus staff.  Today, mental health advocates are pressuring legislators to reinstate threatened funding for programs.  They also presented 8,000 petition signatures against closure of the Chester Mental Health Center, one of the 7 state facilities Quinn has targeted.

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