Final days of veto session to set stage for Jan.

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm •  Published: December 2, 2012
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"I don't think we should be doing legislation on gambling until we deal with eating our vegetables and spinach, and that's reforming the whole pension system," Quinn told reporters at an unrelated event Sunday.

Rep. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, said Thursday he could introduce legislation this week to get that process moving, though the bill would likely not take a final form until after New Year's Day.

Other legislation introduced last week included a proposal to allow driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, a bill Quinn has said he will sign if it gets to his desk. A Senate committee gave it initial approval, and the full Senate is expected to take up the measure this week. If lawmakers approve it the bill needs to go to the House, where for timing reasons a final vote couldn't occur until early January.

Supporters say the measure, sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton, would make roads safer and save money by ensuring more motorists are tested and have insurance. Opponents say it equates to the state encouraging illegal immigration.

The issue also comes with political implications. That's particularly true for Republicans, whose party lost big in the Nov. 6 election in part because Latino voters — whose numbers are growing in Illinois and nationally — turned out in force for Democratic candidates.

A measure to allow the use of medical marijuana by people with medical conditions such as cancer, HIV and glaucoma also could come to a vote. Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said he was just a few votes shy of what he needs in the House, and he planned to spend the weekend trying to secure those final allies.

"I think we have a reasonable chance to pass it (this week) in the House," Lang said.

The House also could get a bill that barely passed the Senate last week to require publicly traded corporations to make their Illinois income tax bills public. Cullerton has said it would help lawmakers and taxpayers determine whether the tax breaks given by the General Assembly are worthwhile. But Republicans criticized it as anti-business.

And Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, is counting votes to determine if, or when, to introduce legislation to allow gay marriage. Harris declined to say last week how the numbers were looking, but he said he is encouraged by what he sees as major shift in public opinion in favor of gay rights.

If the measure doesn't get a vote this week, it could come up in early January, when lawmakers on their way out the door have been known to cast votes in ways they may not if they were facing re-election.

In the final days of the 2011 lame-duck session, the legislature voted on some of the biggest issues in years: a major tax increase intended to bolster the state budget, allowing civil unions for same-sex couples and abolishing the death penalty.