WBEZ | Illinois lawmakers http://www.wbez.org/tags/illinois-lawmakers Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Some Illinois lawmakers angry with U.S Sen. Kirk over immigration http://www.wbez.org/news/some-illinois-lawmakers-angry-us-sen-kirk-over-immigration-107685 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/immigration_130613_kk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Local lawmakers are calling out Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk for voting not to debate immigration reform at a federal level.</p><p>State representatives, senators, Chicago aldermen and community leaders met at Benito Juarez High School in Pilsen where Illinois lawmakers signed the Dream Act two years ago.</p><p>Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia said he is shocked and dismayed at how Kirk is representing Illinois when it comes to immigration.</p><p>&ldquo;This is about leadership. It&rsquo;s about the future of the country. It&rsquo;s about what is in Illinois&rsquo; best interest,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Sen. Kirk is out of touch with what is going on in Illinois and in the country.&rdquo;</p><p>Kirk has said he wants to see a bipartisan strategy to strengthen border security before moving forward for immigration overhaul.</p><p>Ald. Rey Colon (35th) said his drive to Benito Juarez from the Humboldt Park neighborhood was evidence of Latinos&rsquo; positive effect on a community.</p><p>&ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t help but notice the number of businesses that are immigrants - businesses that are fueling our economy,&rdquo; Colon said.</p><p>&ldquo;These are Sen. Kirk&rsquo;s constituents. The children in this school are Sen. Kirk&rsquo;s constituents, and all these people are crying out for reform,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he wants a final vote on the bill by July 4.</p><p><em>Katie Kather is an arts &amp; culture reporting intern at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/ktkather" target="_blank">@ktkather</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 13 Jun 2013 16:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/some-illinois-lawmakers-angry-us-sen-kirk-over-immigration-107685 Illinois Senate votes to legalize gay marriage http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/illinois-senate-votes-legalize-gay-marriage-105530 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS6806_AP217659454282-scr_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated: 3 p.m.</em></p><p>Illinois moved closer Thursday to becoming the 10th state in the nation where same-sex couples can legally wed, after the Senate voted to lift a ban on gay marriage.</p><p>Senators voted 34-21 to approve the measure, sending it on to the state House where Democrats also hold a majority. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has said he will sign the bill if the House approves it.</p><p>The bill&#39;s sponsor, Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, called it &quot;a vote for the history books.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We have the opportunity today to welcome all families in Illinois as equally valued,&quot; she said.</p><p>Before approving the measure, the Senate attached an amendment Thursday that explicitly states no church or other religious organization will be forced to solemnize same-sex marriages. It also says churches cannot be sued if they don&#39;t allow their parishes to be used for same-sex marriage ceremonies.</p><p>Some Republicans raised concerns that the bill would force religious organizations to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their fellowship halls, parish centers or even in their sanctuaries. Steans said even before the amendment was added that the bill made clear churches won&#39;t be forced to perform same-sex marriages.</p><p>Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Champaign, was the only Republican to vote yes. He said he worked with Steans on the amendment before pledging his support.</p><p>&quot;I think it was the right thing to do,&quot; Barickman said. &quot;It&#39;s a vote that I understand some have varying opinions on, but I feel that I voted in the correct way.&quot;</p><p>The Valentine&#39;s Day vote marked the first time gay marriage has passed on the floor of either chamber of the Legislature. Steans and other supporters tried to pass it during the January lame duck session. But after getting approval from a Senate committee, Steans opted not to call for floor action, saying it didn&#39;t have enough votes.</p><p>After picking up seats in November, Democrats entered the current legislative session with control of 40 seats in the Senate, where 30 votes are required to advance most measures. The Senate Executive Committee approved the gay marriage bill on a party-line vote last week, setting up the Valentine&#39;s Day floor action.</p><p>Jim Bennett, regional director for Lambda Legal, said supporting same-sex marriage is &quot;both politically smart and morally right.&quot;</p><p>Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said he &quot;the prospects are very good&quot; in the House, where he&#39;s the bill sponsor.</p><p>Harris said he hasn&#39;t spoken with House leadership about when a vote may occur in the House, but he said he hopes it will be soon. He wouldn&#39;t comment on how the roll call looks so far.</p><p>Polls show voters&#39; feelings shifting rapidly in favor of gay rights. President Barack Obama said last year he supports same-sex marriage, and in November voters in four states either approved or voted down bans on gay marriage.</p><p>&quot;I think it&#39;s a safer vote to vote with us than to vote against us at this point,&quot; Bennett said.</p><p>The issue has caused internal conflict among Republicans as the party works balance its efforts to appeal more to younger voters, minorities and women with the more socially conservative positions of some members.</p><p>After Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady announced his support for gay marriage during the lame-duck legislative session, saying it was a civil rights issue, some Republicans called for his ouster. Opponents of gay marriage pledged to fund primary challenges to any Republican who voted in favor of the bill.</p><p>Thursday&#39;s vote came two years after Illinois lawmakers approved civil unions, which provide legal recognition of a partnership between two people, regardless of gender. But gay marriage supporters said it wasn&#39;t enough.</p></p> Thu, 14 Feb 2013 10:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/illinois-senate-votes-legalize-gay-marriage-105530 Cullerton gambles on Internet gaming http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/cullerton-gambles-internet-gaming-99187 <p><p>One of Illinois’ top statehouse Democrats wants the state to become an international hub for internet gaming, the purpose being to draw new revenue into the state’s meager coffers.</p><p>Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) is aiming to move quickly on legislation that would both regulate and promote internet gambling.</p><p>Cullerton laid out his idea in a letter sent Monday to both parties’ leaders in the House and Senate.</p><p>The proposal calls for the creation of a new Division of Internet Gaming within the Illinois Lottery.</p><p>“To further capture new revenues available in the iGaming marketplace in a manner that protects consumers, provides logical and responsible regulation,” Cullerton stated in a news release.</p><p>The Internet gaming industry is estimated to be worth $40 billion. It is largely unregulated and untaxed, so overseas companies dominate the market.</p><p>“We estimate hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cullerton stated. “The state could organize the first major poker pool, garner worldwide popularity and position itself as a ‘hub’ for multistate and international iGaming.”</p><p>Cullerton said such a move can be done in an “ethical and socially responsible manner” while still generating millions for the state.</p><p>States such as California, Iowa and New Jersey are looking to regulate online gambling.</p><p>Cullerton’s push is meant to also prevent potential federal legislation that could supercede states’ own regulations and operations.</p><p>In March, Illinois became the first state to sell lottery tickets on the Internet.</p><p>So far, Cullerton’s idea seems to be getting nowhere with Gov. Quinn.</p><p>“We are wholly focused on pension and Medicaid solutions, which are essential to restoring fiscal stability to Illinois. Those are our priorities right now,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson stated. “We need to keep our eye on the ball and that is solving these two major issues that are consuming 39 percent of taxpayers dollars while squeezing out every other area of state government.”</p><p>Gambling industry supporters earlier this year introduced another gaming proposal that would allow for more casinos and slot machines at horse tracks in Illinois. That proposal has not gained traction in the Illinois House and Senate.</p></p> Tue, 15 May 2012 17:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/cullerton-gambles-internet-gaming-99187 Pay on the agenda as Illinois lawmakers return to work http://www.wbez.org/story/pay-agenda-illinois-lawmakers-return-work-88141 <p><p>Illinois lawmakers are likely to cut their pay when they return to the state Capitol for a brief session focused on public works projects.&nbsp;</p><p>The House has already approved legislation requiring lawmakers to take 12 unpaid furlough days and give up their annual cost-of-living increase. The Senate&nbsp; is expected to consider the bill when lawmakers meet Wednesday.&nbsp;</p><p>The furloughs would cost each lawmaker more than $3,000. Legislative aides say the total savings is about $564,000.&nbsp;</p><p>The cuts reach $1.2 million when furloughs for other state officials are included.&nbsp;</p><p>This would be the third straight year lawmakers have cut their pay.&nbsp;</p><p>Lawmakers are returning to Springfield to approve spending on construction projects across Illinois. Approval is usually routine, but this year it was held up by budget arguments.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 21 Jun 2011 19:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/pay-agenda-illinois-lawmakers-return-work-88141