Illinois Lawmakers Head Into Final Stretch
By Amanda Vinicky, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
Before the Illinois General Assembly adjorns on Friday, lawmakers still have several major issues to tackle, including pension reform, creating five new casinos in the state, and coming up with a concealed carry law.
What Illinois will do about each of these and other major issues remains unresolved.
Both chambers must agree on a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Illinois is also under a federal order to pass a law allowing gun owners to carry their weapons in public, but so far, there is no consensus on what that law should look like.
Guns are an issue that mostly splits legislators on a regional, not party-line, divide.
Nonetheless, before heading home for the weekend, Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) needled the majority Democrats for an update.
"What's the plan for concealed carry?" he said. "We're all going to go home for Memorial Day, we're going to be asked by mayors and others what Illinois plans to do for concealed carry. What are we supposed to tell them, Mr. President?"
After they march in parades, Barickman and other Senators will have the chance to get to work on it.
There are also differing plans between the two houses for reforming public employee pensions to close a $97 billion shortfall in what's owed to current workers and retirees.
There is a plan to expand legalized gambling and establish regulations for hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" for oil and natural gas.
The Senate convenes at 4pm on Monday.
The House gaveled in briefly on Sunday, though it took no action on the big outstanding issues. Representatives will be back at the capitol this Memorial Day afternoon.