SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – On this final day of the spring legislative session, a number of big matters await Illinois Senate action. Only one of them, a congressional redistricting proposal, is something which by law must be done. The rests are big-ticket issues which are important to many people.
The U. S. House remap for Illinois allows for eighteen districts, as the state’s population gains since 2000 were not enough to keep pace with other states; thus, Illinois loses a seat. Incumbent Republicans, the minority party in state government but who hold a majority of U.S. House seats now, are upset that the Democrat-drawn map throws them into districts with other incumbents and/or gives them vast amounts of unfamiliar territory. However it appears Congressman John Shimkus may not be effected by redistricting after all. Illinois House Democrats made a last-minute change and it puts Shimkus back in his own district. The map passed the House and a Senate committee Monday.
Congressman John Shimkus may not be effected by redistricting after all. Illinois House Democrats made a last-minute change and it puts Shimkus back in his own district.
Illinoisans could have many, many more places to legally wager, under a casino expansion bill which is expected to be called in the Senate today. The House approved five new casinos – for Chicago, the north suburbs, the south suburbs, Danville, and Rockford. Existing casinos would qualify for more gambling positions, and slot machines would be allowed at the state’s horse tracks and the two Chicago airports. Horse racing would be allowed year-round at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, which would also get slot machines.
A bill that would blow up the state’s beleaguered workers’ compensation system is ready for a Senate vote – after the House Sunday failed to pass a bill that would revamp the system. A committee passed the abolition on a party-line vote; the idea would send workers’ comp cases to local courts starting Jan. 1. The sponsor, State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), says the time between now and then would allow the state to come up with a new system. The reaction from Republicans was unwelcoming; State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) says the idea is worse than the tax increase enacted in January.
The Senate today could also take up the so-called “smart grid” proposal, which affects 62 percent of the state’s Ameren customers and 100 percent of Commonwealth Edison customers. Opponents say it’s simply a gift to the big utilities, and Gov. Pat Quinn has promised to veto it. Supporters say the proposal creates jobs, makes the state more competitive, and gives residential customers incentives to be efficient with their energy.
SB 1178 (congressional remap) has passed the House, 63-54-1, and has passed the Senate Redistricting Committee.
SB 744 (casino expansion) has passed the House, 65-50-2.
SB 1933 (workers comp blow-up) has passed the Senate Executive Committee.
SB 1652 (electricity) has passed the House, 67-47-1.