Cullerton Removes Stay, Sends Gaming Bill To Governor Quinn In Illinois

Senate President has had his share of run-ins with Governor Pat Quinn over casino gambling expansion proposals. Over the past two years, the two have exchanged barbs through the media, with Cullerton asking Quinn for guidance on the issue and Quinn continually staying mum on the subject.

In 2011, the Senate passed a bill that would bring five new casino resorts to Illinois, and allow slot machines in Chicago airports. Cullerton, however, used a tactical parliamentary move, a stay, to keep the bill in the Senate chamber instead of going to the governor for a signature.

The move was intended to buy time with the knowledge that Quinn intended to veto the legislation. At the time, the governor was concerned that the bill did not properly address the tax structure for the casinos. Quinn also asserted that the gaming bill was too broad.

In the time since the stay, legislators in both the House and Senate passed a bill in 2012 authorizing additional casinos. The bill was sent to Quinn, and subsequently vetoed. Lawmakers at the time did not override the veto.

Now, with a new Legislature in Illinois, Cullerton has decided to roll the dice on the original bill, withdrawing his motion for the stay. The bill will now go to Quinn within the next 30 days. The governor will then have 60 days to decide whether or not to veto or sign the bill. The early indications do not look good for gambling proponents.

“I’ve already indicated my thoughts about it in the past,” said Quinn. “So we’ll wait until it arrives and speak about it then.”

There is no longer a chance that the governor could send the legislation back to lawmakers for amendment, because the new Legislature took effect in the new year.

What the bill could do, even with a veto, is open the dialogue between the governor and the growing number of lawmakers that would like to see casinos in Chicago and other areas of the state.

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