- Associated Press - Friday, May 31, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Latest on action in the Illinois General Assembly (all times local):

1:10 a.m.

The Senate has adopted a $39.9 billion state budget and adjourned its spring session.

The spending plan represents a 2% increase over the current budget. The Senate finished work on the fiscal package early Saturday and adjourned until fall. But the House returns Saturday to complete its work.

Republicans agreed with majority Democrats that the budget is balanced. It provides education increases, fully funds pension payments and increases spending on child welfare.



The Senate also OK’d a $45 billion dollar statewide construction program for roads, schools and other public works. It calls for a variety of new and increased taxes, such as doubling the gas tax to 38 cents per gallon and increasing vehicle registration fees by 50% to $150.

The House only approved the outline of the operating budget. It returns Saturday to finish and to consider a massive gambling initiative, including legalized sports betting. Approval of that would necessitate a quick return by the Senate.

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11:40 p.m.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker hugged and congratulated sponsors of legislation to protect abortion rights in Illinois after the Senate approved the plan 34-20.

The Democratic governor has pledged to sign the bill sent to him Friday night. It makes Illinois’ abortion law among the nation’s most sweeping in response to action in at least six Republican-controlled states in recent weeks that sharply restricts access to the procedure.

The measure sponsored by Grayslake Democratic Sen. Melinda Bush would rescind prohibitions on some late-term abortions and 45-year-old criminal penalties for performing the procedure.

The restrictions adopted after the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion have never been enforced Illinois because of court injunctions.

Republicans and others opposed to abortion rights have worked furiously against it. They staged a rally in March that stuffed 4,000 protesters into the Capitol.

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10:20 p.m.

The Illinois House has approved a bipartisan state budget agreement . But work in the General Assembly will continue past Friday’s scheduled adjournment date.

The House voted 83-35 Friday night on a spending plan worth about $40 billion.

House Majority Leader Greg Harris presented the appropriations bill. The Chicago Democrat and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs agree it’s balanced.

Harris says the measure pumps $375 million into the public school funding formula which was revamped two years ago. It borrows more than $1 billion to put toward a lingering, $7 billion pile of past-due bills to save money on interest payments.

It invests $500 million in the popular needs-based Monetary Award Program college tuition assistance program. And it increases by $100 million funding for the Department of Children and Family Services. The agency is reeling from criticism over its inability to save three children in its care who have died this year.

The agreement came after a day of negotiating between Democrats and minority Republicans. Durkin thanked Democrats for agreeing to “respect our priorities.”

Friday was the session’s scheduled adjournment deadline. But lawmakers’ work continues Saturday.

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The bill is SB262

Online: www.ilga.gov

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5 p.m.

Friday is not the last day of spring legislative session for the Illinois House. With major issues to tackle and a midnight deadline looming, House leaders have announced the chamber will be working at least through Sunday.

The announcement came after a 3 ½-hour debate on legalizing recreational marijuana use. The House approved the plan 66-47 and sent it to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

But lawmakers face a midnight deadline to approve a budget, a massive state construction plan, patch together a plan to legalize sports betting, perhaps combined with a large-scale expansion of casino gambling, and consider statutory protections for abortion.

Passage of legislation after May 31 requires three-fifths majority votes in each chamber for approval. But Democrats control both the House and Senate with supermajorities.

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2:35 p.m.

The Illinois House has sent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker another victory by voting to legalize recreational marijuana use.

The 66-47 tally Friday would allow those 21 and older to buy marijuana at licensed dispensaries beginning next year. Residents could possess up to one ounce (30 grams) and non-residents could have 15 grams.

Pritzker called for legalization in his campaign for governor. He has pledged to sign the law.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s measure also includes opportunities for past convictions for possession of 30 grams or less to be cleared. The Chicago Democrat says “it is time to hi the ‘reset’ button on the War on Drugs.”

Private property owners could restrict use. Landlords could ban marijuana on their property. And employers would still be allowed to maintain “zero tolerance” policies toward marijuana use and the workplace.

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The bill is 1438.

Online: http://www.ilga.gov

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4:40 a.m.

The Illinois Legislature has one day to churn out a state budget.

Friday is the last scheduled day of the General Assembly’s spring session. Paperwork has moved in anticipation of adopting a spending plan of about $39 billion, but few details have emerged.

It promises to be a long day at the Illinois Capitol. Unresolved substantive measures join the budget. Legislation to legalize recreational use of marijuana has cleared the Senate and awaits action in the House. Statutory protections for abortion have House OK and await Senate action.

Neither a long-discussed measure to legalize sports betting nor a massive expansion of casino gambling has seen action.

And Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker has called for a $41.5 billion state construction program. But some say gambling expansion is necessary to fund it.

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