Public Poilcy Advocacy Report
June 22, 2012
Springfield End of Session Wrap-Up
The Illinois General Assembly adjourned early in the morning of June 1 with many substantial accomplishments and some unfinished business. During its spring session the legislature reformed Medicaid, passed a fiscally-conservative bipartisan budget, made changes to the state’s procurement law, modified the Enterprise Zone program, and jump-started the three-year-old capital construction program which had not yet been fully funded. Although lawmakers passed legislation changing group health benefits for retired state employees, they failed to pass a comprehensive public employee pension reform plan and will work over the summer to reach a bipartisan agreement. Listed below are some important issues to members of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
This update leads off with several key priorities of the Chicagoland Chamber that were successful toward the end of session: authorization of a Chicago casino, approval of health care purchasing cooperatives, and prevention of the development of the Tenaska power plant. Government Affairs staff lobbied hard on these issues, all of which have been longtime concerns of the Chamber.
The report then highlights bills of interest to Chicagoland Chamber members that either passed both houses and are headed to the governor or fell short of passage and may still be addressed during the November-December veto session. A public act number is indicated if a bill has already been signed into law. For information on specific bills, visit www.ilga.gov and click on “Bills and Resolutions”, find the bill number and click on the “enrolled” version if it passed both houses.
Gaming Expansion: Long-Time Chamber Initiative
Senate Bill 1849 (Link; Lang) – In 2011 major gaming legislation (Senate Bill 744) passed the General Assembly but was not sent to the governor because of his stated objections to signing the bill. SB 1849 incorporates certain ethics changes and Illinois Gaming Board oversight recommended by the governor, as well as reducing the number of gaming positions and eliminating slot machines at the Illinois State Fair. It includes the following provisions:
* Provides for one Chicago land-based casino (4,000 gaming positions).
* Provides for four new riverboats (land-based optional): Danville, Park City in Lake County, South Suburban Cook County and Rockford. (1,200 gaming positions per facility).
* Current law authorizes 12,000 gaming positions (1,200 at each of the 10 riverboats). This bill increases the number of gaming positions at the existing and new riverboats to 1,600. All riverboats may become land-based.
* Grants gaming positions to the state’s six racetracks (“racinos”) – each Cook County track (Arlington, Hawthorne, and Maywood) is authorized up to 1,200 positions. Each track outside Cook County is initially authorized up to 350 positions (Balmoral, Quad City Downs, and Fairmount).
* Requires additional dollars to be spent on backstretch workers, university research, state & county fairs, retired or injured thoroughbred horses, and increased purses --$100 million per year.
* Eliminates the casino impact fee; eliminates purse recapture; and eliminates the 10th license subsidy to racing.
* Increases revenues to the state for certain programs – estimated in the hundreds of millions annually.
SB 1849 passed both houses but has not yet been sent to Governor Quinn, whose action on the bill is uncertain. The Chicagoland Chamber supports SB 1849 and will urge the governor to sign it.
Last Updated on 2012-06-25 15:25:53.429