News Local/State

Lawmakers Return To Springfield, Predicting Modest Agenda For Veto Session


Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are back in Springfield Monday for the start of what’s expected to be a relatively quiet veto session.

The agenda includes minor tweaks to major laws passed earlier this year, such as video gambling and marijuana, and a series of bills that may or may not get the support they need in the six days of session.

“I don’t expect it to be a dramatic veto session,” state Sen. Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, said. “I think we’ll take up a few technical bills.”

There had been more ambitious plans, including major energy legislation. But that was put on hold following a federal investigation involving Chicago-area utility ComEd. That sprawling investigation also included raids on the Capitol and district offices of Democratic state Sen. Martin Sandoval, as well as his home in Chicago.

Copies of the search warrants used by federal agents also refer to unnamed lobbyists, businesses, and local government officials — some of whom have been identified in subsequent press reports.

Meanwhile, the city of Chicago is also pressing for legislative action to help it deal with significant money problems. Among other things, it wants the authority to change the tax rate on real estate transactions — raising it for homes that sell for more than $500,000 per year, and lowering it on less expensive dwellings.

It remains to be seen whether state lawmakers will go along.

State Rep. Tom Demmer, a Republican from Dixon, says it’s not a matter of turning a “deaf ear” to Chicago’s problems.

“But they’re certainly not alone in Illinois with municipalities that are facing budgetary pressures and constraints,” Demmer said. “And we want to try to make sure that we’re dealing equitably with all the different municipalities in the state.”

Other potential legislation would ban flavored tobacco and vaping products, let college athletes make money from endorsements, and put a $100-per-month cap on the price of insulin for people with health insurance.