A push to expand gambling in Illinois fell short on the final day of the legislative session. State Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island), chief sponsor of the bill in the House, says he negotiated well into the morning of the final session day, trying to hash out a deal, but there were too many hurdles to clear. Late in the day Friday, he conceded defeat, opting not to bring the measure to the floor, but vowed to keep working toward a compromise.
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State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), a longtime gambling expansion proponent, knows how hard it is to pass a plan that makes everyone happy: He has been trying to do so for 20 years. “It’s not easy,” said Lang. “There is a lot of people that have opinions, lot of people that come to the table.” The latest proposal would include casinos in Chicago, the south suburbs, Park City (near Waukegan), Danville and Rockford, and slot machines at racetracks.
Meanwhile, a day after the Illinois House approved new rules governing fracking, the Illinois Senate followed suit. Both chambers touted the regulations as the toughest in the country. Horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is already happening under antiquated regulation in Southern Illinois, is the process of drilling underground using high-pressure fluids to force trapped oil and gas to the surface. Environmentalists are concerned about the effect on the land and the water supply, in terms of contamination and the volume of consumption.