(Springfield, IL) — December 2, 2010. Illinois State Senate-approved legislation to expand Illinois gaming faces a thorough review and likely changes in the Illinois House, according to House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie).
Lang, Speaker Michael Madigan’s point person on gaming, said, “I congratulate the Illinois Senate on its successful effort to push the bill through the chamber, but I intend to thoroughly review their plan, and I expect to be making some changes.”
Lang lauded his Senate counterpart, State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), for reworking crucial revisions to Senate Bill 737 to address concerns that Lang had had in an earlier draft.
“Senator Link revised a number of provisions to improve the legislation, revisions that go a long way to make it a better bill,” said Lang.
Lang pointed to economic development money for depressed communities, minority and female employee hiring and ownership goals, minority and female contract goals of 20% and 5% respectively, and no designated south suburban location for one of the four proposed casinos outside of the City of Chicago as key improvements.
“Addressing minority investment, employment and contracting has helped vastly to improve the bill,” said Lang.
Additionally, Link’s bill allocates $200 million to help pay a portion of the state’s $6 billion backlog of unpaid bills, aiming to leverage that money to capture federal Medicaid matching dollars, which could amount to as much as $1 billion, which pleases Lang.
“However, even with these changes, I am withholding judgment on the bill until I have reviewed each provision line-by-line,” said Lang. “I expect that I will propose changes to the bill.”