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“Labor peace agreement” stalls gaming bill as McPier refuses temporary site - Plus: A Statehouse roundup

Thursday, May 26, 2011

* This was not unexpected

A House panel Wednesday dumped an 11th-hour bid to expand gambling in Illinois.

The measure, which would have added five casinos and allowed horse racing tracks to offer slot machines, failed to receive enough votes to emerge from the House Executive Committee.

The loss came just days after Gov. Pat Quinn said he didn’t support a massive expansion of gambling, despite the lure of as much as $1.5 billion in added revenue for the cash-strapped state.

The plan would have used the proceeds to pay down the state’s lengthy list of unpaid bills.

* Here’s why it was not unexpected

Lang blamed the downfall on a provision requiring tracks to reach peace agreements with organized labor. Republicans on the panel all voted against it.

The labor provision was opposed by Arlington Park Racecourse, which is attempting to reach a compromise with food-service workers over representation of additional workers that would be required for turning the racetrack into a “racino.” Arlington had long sought the OK to bring slot machines to the racetrack, but said it would oppose the bill mandating such agreements.

Lang said labor peace agreements had already been worked out among the rest of the state’s horse racing tracks. He said he would either work to encourage a labor settlement or seek other changes in the bill to allow it to advance before the legislature’s scheduled adjournment at month’s end.

What’s a labor peace agreement? From the bill

A “labor peace agreement” is an agreement in which the labor organization waives the rights of itself and its members to strike, picket, or otherwise boycott the operation for at least 3 years.

Anyway, that language will likely be pulled from the legislation today and reintroduced. Expect Mayor Emanuel to become more involved if and/or when this bill advances to the floor

“Mayor Emanuel has been upfront about his support for gaming,” Lang said. “I think he’s prepared to convince some fence-sitting legislators it’s the right thing to do.”

* What the bill contains

The measure would have allowed casinos in Chicago, Danville, Rockford, Park City in Lake County and a yet-undetermined location in the southern suburbs.

It also would have permitted slot machines at racetracks, including a new track and slot machines at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

Slot machine gambling would not be allowed year-round in Springfield, Lang said. It was to be legal only during the three to nine months of the year when horse racing would have taken place.

Slots at Chicago airports behind the security perimeters are also in the bill.

* Meanwhile, McPier has shot down a suggestion that it temporarily host a new Chicago casino in its McCormick Place East Building

“Lakeside Center is definitely not the place for a casino,” MPEA Trustee Jim Reilly said in a statement. “Our trade show customers do not want their attendees leaving the show floor during show hours.”

* Statehouse roundup…

* IL lawmakers OK tougher oversight of group homes

* Supporters, utilities try again with smart grid: Ameren and ComEd customers will pay about $3 more per month for the Smart Grid upgrades. Pramaggiore said ComEd customers would see a flat $36 per year increase. Ameren customers would see their bills rise quite a bit more. The monthly $3.40 charge would double each year, so that at the end of the 10-year Smart Grid program, Ameren customers would be paying $34 a month more.

* ComEd smart grid plan adds consumer protections: But Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the changes still allow ComEd to take advantage of customers. “Today, their legion of lobbyists continue to push legislation that will require consumers to fund billions more in guaranteed profits,” Madigan said. “This new proposal is just more of the same: a plan that hits consumers where it hurts the most — their wallets.”

* VIDEO: Dave Kolata of CUB on Smart Grid

* VIDEO: Kevin McCarthy on Smart Grid

* Measure would dismantle workers compensation system in Illinois

* State House committee wants to abolish workers’ comp: “Sometimes it’s easier to start from scratch than to try to fix something that’s so broken,” Bradley said. “We are continuing to work. There could be an announcement in the next matter of days, you know, or hours. But in the meantime, until we feel confident and comfortable doing that, we’re going to continue to move this into place.”

* Senate addresses acid attacks, murder registry, background checks

* Bill addressing safety of hotel patrons passes in general assembly

* Harrah’s Casino plans to re-open Friday

* Showing Support for a Rockford Casino

* Local leaders sign letter in support of bringing casino to Rockford: But Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, does not support a gaming expansion or a Rockford casino, saying the benefits are overstated. A casino may be an immediate benefit to the city, he said, but he doubts that there would be much benefit to the region.

* Broadcast museum moves offices into new building

* VIDEO: Rep. Lang on why gaming expansion failed in committee

- Posted by Rich Miller        

10 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 26, 11 @ 8:11 am:

    –“Lakeside Center is definitely not the place for a casino,” MPEA Trustee Jim Reilly said in a statement. “Our trade show customers do not want their attendees leaving the show floor during show hours.”–

    That would seem to be that. Among the other usual suspects, Navy Pier is already overcrowded and tough to get in and out of, the old Post Office was always a pipe dream — where does it go?


  2. - Montrose - Thursday, May 26, 11 @ 9:20 am:

    “That would seem to be that. Among the other usual suspects, Navy Pier is already overcrowded and tough to get in and out of, the old Post Office was always a pipe dream — where does it go?”

    Just turn over the Chicago Cultural Center to a temporary casino until they can turn Northerly Island into a little Monaco. They can stick the roulette table under the Tiffany glass dome to make it all classy.


  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 26, 11 @ 9:39 am:

    =They can stick the roulette table under the Tiffany glass dome to make it all classy.=

    Don’t forget to call it a fund raiser for a humanitarian cause!


  4. - JayKing - Thursday, May 26, 11 @ 9:53 am:

    Anyone know which Dems in Exec voted against the bill?


  5. - mokenavince - Thursday, May 26, 11 @ 10:20 am:

    Build it and they will come. Quinns has no idea
    how to make money only, borrow it and spend it.
    And give out Millions to large business. The small
    time guy dosen’t have a chance. Remember the flood victims, donate and pray.


  6. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, May 26, 11 @ 10:42 am:

    Read this carefully. The bill is stalled because the unions will not agree to not strike for the short-term transition period from the current status of the workplace to the new one.


  7. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 26, 11 @ 11:44 am:

    @Cincinattus -

    Re-read it. Labor-peace agreements are between the union and the employer, and require the employer to settle all outstanding contract disputes in exchange for a pledge from the union not to strike or boycott.

    Arlington is opposing the bill because they reject the GA’s enticement of slot machines in exchange for working things out with their union.

    From the union’s perspective, Arlington can expect a cash infusion from this bill and employees should share in that good fortune.

    Rejecting this deal is Arlington’s prerogative, but let’s be clear that its Arlington, not the unions, that are rejecting this deal.


  8. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, May 26, 11 @ 1:04 pm:

    - Read this carefully. -

    You must have to be pretty careful to only see what you and the rest of the tea partiers see when you read.


  9. - JayKing - Thursday, May 26, 11 @ 2:13 pm:

    This is consistent with what I wrote yesterday. Arlington is looking for ways to covertly tank the bill. It doesn’t need the slots nearly as bad as Hawthorne. Arlington keeps finding excuses to support bills that cannot pass, Hawthorne doesn’t get the money it needs and goes under, Arlington is the only thoroughbred track in the region and gets Hawthorne’s dates.


  10. - x ace - Friday, May 27, 11 @ 10:17 am:

    JayKing is on target


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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