SURPRISE……..STAND BY…….Governor Pritzker has just announced that he isn’t finished and told the General Assembly to stay and work through the weekend…….WOW!!!….And Illinois House approves marijuana legalization bill backed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker

Illinois is one signature away from joining the 10 other states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

With a bipartisan vote of 66-47, the House approved a bill Friday that would allow residents age 21 and older to legally possess 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product. Nonresidents could possess 15 grams of cannabis.

And passing with 66 votes, recreational cannabis heads to the Governor…

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned for office on a promise to legalize pot, is expected to sign the billwhen it reaches his desk. The Senate approved it Wednesday.

So what does the Governor still want ? Casino-expansion……Infrastructure bill ?

With a budget and capital plan still being sorted out — not to mention an expansive gambling measure that would add a Chicago casino, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has opted to extend adjournment of the spring legislative session until Sunday.

The extension means that any vote taken after May 31 will require a three-fifths majority to for the law to go into effect within the next 12 months — and legislators will likely use Friday to handle the state’s budget.

The Illinois Senate, however, plans to try to take up the budget and capital bills on Friday. The Senate also plans to take up the Reproductive Health Act, an abortion measure already passed by the House. 

The announcement was a surprise, even with the vast amount of work to be done. That’s because negotiations had been led by Democrats — the party that holds the governor’s mansion and supermajorities in both legislative chambers. 

And it looked like Gov. J.B. Pritzker would be getting what he wanted: a budget and capital plan, marijuana legalization and expanded gambling.

Capitol insiders speculated whether the overtime demand is a Madigan power play. If Pritzker had attained all his legislative priorities by the end of Friday, the rookie governor would be largely credited with the wins. 

Today is the final day of the Illinois legislative session and a 1,581 budget bill was just filed. Members will be asked to vote on a bill that was negotiated by insiders behind closed doors. This terrible budget relies on the revenues from the 32% income tax hike. HELL NO!!!!!!

Legislators have complained that there was little time to digest comprehensive capital and budget bills — and negotiations were vastly done behind-the-scenes. House Republicans on Friday blasted out a statement accusing Democrats of increasing spending and neglecting any of their preferred job reforms. Republicans said the reforms were taken out on Friday morning, prompting the statement. 

The state budget is 1581 pages printed on both sides.It appears Madigan, too, is trying to force some Republicans to vote on the budget and capital plan, to show that it is “bipartisan.” Republicans had asked for a real estate tax and the $1 tax on cigarettes to be removed from the capital plan. On Friday they learned the taxes were still on the table, and their requested reforms were stripped out.

Asked about the budget negotiation process during a House Executive Committee, House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, noted there was “less agreement than there was in the past.” 

“Some things we agreed upon, some things we did not,” Harris said of negotiations with Republicans. 

There has been plenty of animosity within the House, as Republicans have spent hours in debate fighting various controversial measures, including the abortion bill and marijuana legalization.

In another development Friday, a Senate committee cleared a measure that provides funding for a capital plan. It includes $1.2 billion in revenue for increasing the motor fuel tax by 19 cents; $475 million with a $50 increase to vehicle registration fees; $4 million from a $233 increase to the registration fees for electric vehicles; $146 million from an increase in title registration fees; $50 million from a $100 increase to truck registrations and $78 million from a 5 cent increase for diesel fuel.

For vertical projects within the plan — which include buildings, such as schools and recreational facilities, rather than roads or bridges — $150 million would come from an increase in video gaming terminal taxes; $10 million from sports wagering revenue; $500 million from upfront license fees from casino and sports betting; $30 million from a tax on parking garages and lots; $68 million from an increase on the real estate transfer tax on commercial properties; $45 million from removing the sales tax exemption on traded-in property valued above $10,000; and $156 million from an increase on the cigarette tax by $1 per pack. 

And a House committee planned to take up a massive gambling measure Friday afternoon that would add six casinos in Chicago, Waukegan, the south suburbs, Williamson County in southern Illinois, Rockford and Danville. 

The Chicago casino would be able to have up to 4,000 gambling positions — three times more than any other casino in the state currently has — and slot machines would be allowed at O’Hare and Midway airports. Video gambling machines would OKed for larger truck stops. The Illinois Gaming Board would have oversight of regulating the Chicago casino, which would be privately run with revenue evenly split between the operator, the city and the state.

About royfmc

BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University's McCormick College of Engineering MBA from DePaul University's Kellstadt's College of Business JD from DePaul University's College of Law Website:
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