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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Michael Madigan's spokesman says the Illinois House speaker is withdrawing a plan to tax millionaires in the state.
   Steve Brown is the Chicago Democrat's spokesman. He said Wednesday that Madigan blames Republicans who wouldn't support the proposal. Brown says Republicans "prefer and protect millionaires over school children." Highwood Democratic state Rep. Scott Drury also expressed concerns about the plan.
   Madigan wanted to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would have added a 3 percent surcharge onto incomes over $1 million. He said it would raise an estimated $1 billion annually for schools. A House committee approved the plan Thursday.
   The proposal needed a three-fifths majority in both chambers to be placed on the general election ballot.
   Republicans said the tax would hurt small businesses and farmers.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A proposal making it illegal to display what some are calling "revenge porn" is one step closer to becoming law.
The bill makes it a felony to post sexual material of another person on the internet without their consent. An Illinois Senate committee unanimously passed the bill Wednesday.
State Sen. Michael Hastings is sponsoring the measure. The Democrat from Orland Hills says "revenge porn" - often posted by angry ex-boyfriends, girlfriends or spouses - has serious harmful effects, even leading victims to commit suicide.
Mary Dixon is the legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. She says the organization is concerned the bill is too broad and would like to see some changes.
The legislation now moves to the Senate.
 
Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois House will convene for a special session next week on the state's roughly $100 billion pension crisis.

   Both the House and Senate had tentatively set two days aside next week to meet. On Monday House Speaker Michael Madigan's chief of staff emailed representatives, telling them to expect a one-day session starting Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m.

   Senate President John Cullerton's spokeswoman says senators still have the days on the books and there has been no change for now.

   The four legislative leaders met last week on a plan that could save around $150 billion over the next three decades. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says the speaker continued discussions with leaders over the weekend and there was progress.

   The leaders are expected to talk again this week.

 

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A top aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan is telling Illinois lawmakers to be ready for a special session in Springfield in December.

   Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes told Democrats in an email Wednesday that a "possible" session could begin Dec. 3. He told lawmakers to "keep other days that week available."

   The email was sent around the time Madigan and other legislative leaders were meeting in Chicago to discuss a deal to solve the state's $100 billion pension crisis.

   Dec. 3 is the day after the deadline for candidates to file paperwork in the 2014 campaign, including anyone challenging incumbents.

   House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says progress is being made on pensions but any agreement is on hold until the cost savings of proposed solutions can be calculated.

 
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 02:41

IL House OKs $33M to set up conceal-carry system

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has allocated $33 million to set up a program designed to regulate the carrying of concealed firearms.

   Lawmakers voted 96-17 for the $50 million supplemental appropriation Tuesday. Rep. Luis Arroyo - a Chicago Democrat - says about $500,000 is new general-revenue spending.

   The legislation gives the Illinois State Police authority to use money from $150 concealed-carry permit fees to pay for the additional staff and equipment necessary to set up the program.

   Lawmakers approved concealed carry last summer after a federal appeals court said Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban was unconstitutional.

   Several complained the measure does not include $112 million a court has ordered be paid to union workers who didn't get their full raise in 2011.

 
Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has approved legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state.

The vote 61-54 vote sends the measure back to the Senate for minor changes to a version it approved on Valentine's Day. Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll sign it.

Fourteen states plus Washington D.C., allow same-sex marriage. Most recently, New Jersey, Minnesota and Rhode Island have allowed it.

The historic vote in Illinois came after months of arduous lobbying by gay-rights advocates, but the bill was never called for a House vote earlier this year because the sponsor said there weren't enough votes. Proponents say momentum had been building, especially as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Opponents say marriage should remain between a man and woman.

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have re-opened talks on a bill to expand gambling, but many of the concerns that doomed earlier proposals remain.

   The House Executive Committee held a hearing Wednesday on a measure to add five casinos and allow slot machines at Chicago's major airports. The bill passed the Senate in the spring but didn't get a House vote.

   Bill sponsor Rep. Robert Rita is a Blue Island Democrat. He says he'll work to address concerns. They include whether there's sufficient oversight of a Chicago casino and how new revenue would be shared.

   Both the House and Senate have adjourned for the week. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield for the second week of the fall session in early November.

 
Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - Gay marriage supporters are launching a $2 million statewide campaign to approve same-sex marriage in Illinois.

   Illinois Unites for Marriage is a coalition representing gay rights, civil rights and political groups.

   In a statement Tuesday, the group says it will place 15 field organizers throughout the state to engage supporters. They plan to target legislators who oppose a measure to lift Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage.

   The Illinois Senate passed the bill in February. It wasn't called for a vote in the House because the bill's sponsor said it didn't have the votes to pass.

   Jim Bennett is chairman of the coalition. He says the next few months are critical because lawmakers could take up the bill in the fall.

   Opponents say marriage should be between a man and woman.

 

 
Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn, a manufacturers' association and representatives from the oil and gas industry are praising a measure to regulate high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois.

   The House overwhelmingly approved the plan Thursday.

   The bill outlines rules that energy companies would have to follow during hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

   The executive vice president of the Illinois Oil and Gas Association says efforts on the compromise bill were "monumental. The head of the Illinois Manufacturing Association says it'll create jobs.

   Ann Alexander is a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council who helped craft the regulations. She says it's good to see Illinois moving forward with public protections.

   Opponents worry it would cause air and water pollution and deplete water resources.

 
Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House is expected to vote Friday on legislation allowing public possession of concealed guns.  The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. It was a compromise backed by Speaker Michael Madigan.

   The measure was endorsed Thursday 13-3 and goes to the full House Friday. It comes two weeks before a June 9 deadline set by a federal appeals court for Illinois to abandon its prohibition on the public possession of weapons.

   The legislation would require the Illinois State Police to issue concealed carry permits to qualified gun owners. It's patterned on a bill introduced by gun-rights advocate Rep. Brandon Phelps, a southern Illinois Democrat.

   But Madigan's version significantly adds places that would be off limits to guns. Those include mass transit - a must for violence-weary Chicago Democrats.

 

Published in Local News
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