Illinois legislators legalize marijuana, pass sweeping abortion bill but push past deadline on other issues including expanded gambling – Chicago Tribune

Illinois lawmakers approved a plan to legalize marijuana Friday and also passed a sweeping abortion bill and a new state budget, but they missed their deadline to adjourn and made plans to work into the weekend as debates continued over a new state budget, expanded gambling and a capital projects bill.

The Senate voted early Saturday 40-19, after the House’s bipartisan 83-35 vote, to approve a $40 billion state budget plan. The vote followed a series of meetings that included Gov. J.B. Pritzker and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.

Both chambers adjourned for the weekend after approving the budget, ensuring an overtime session.

The decision to push the spring session into overtime represented an embarrassment to Democrats who control both chambers of the General Assembly and Pritzker, whose election in November ended four years of partisan gridlock under Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

What was supposed to be the last day of the spring session was contentious and brought out tensions that had been building among Republicans over the dominance of the liberal agenda resulting from one-party Democratic rule under Pritzker. Democrats wanted GOP support on some issues to provide political cover.

The charged atmosphere in the Capitol was made clear by the reaction by rank-and-file Republicans to a state budget plan of more than 1,500 pages that was crafted by a group of legislators behind closed doors. The document was plopped on lawmakers’ desks midmorning Friday, just hours before the General Assembly was scheduled to adjourn for the summer.

“The process here is horrific,” Republican Rep. Grant Wehrli of Naperville said during an afternoon budget hearing that lasted more than three hours. “We should all be embarrassed by this process.”

Democrats criticized Republicans for drawn-out speeches and accused them of trying to stall the process until after midnight. After May 31, the rules require that three-fifths of lawmakers in each chamber are needed to pass legislation with an immediate effective date, rather than a simple majority.


Write a Reply or Comment:

Your email address will not be published.*