In the one-day return to Springfield for the Illinois General Assembly, the only big accomplishment was the seemingly minor shift of money to keep seven state facilities alive for the last seven months of the fiscal year. You might even be humming the old Peggy Lee standard, “Is That All There Is?”
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From his chamber’s point of view, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) would have no talk of it. “We passed virtually every bill that was on the calendar,” Cullerton said. Some major bills, including casinos and the Sears-CME deal, either failed in the House, didn’t get called in the House, or didn’t get signed by the governor. The House and Senate will be back Jan. 31, if not sooner. And legislation has a way of coming off the deathbed. “Everything is live around here,” said State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), who says a gambling expansion bill could come together after the New Year. Previous efforts – including one which passed both chambers but never made it to the governor – collapsed this year because of a dispute over slot machines at racetracks. The governor does not like that idea, but Link says a cash subsidy for the horse racing industry could be a substitute in a new bill.