Gambling proponents looking for votes to override Quinn
SPRINGFIELD -- Even before the plan is debated by the Illinois Senate, some gambling expansion supporters already are counting votes to see if they could override a veto by Gov. Pat Quinn.
"I would predict that we'll have the votes to override the veto," said state Rep. Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie. The plan passed the House Wednesday with 69 yes votes, two shy of the minimum number required for an override.
Despite Gov. Pat Quinn's harsh statement Wednesday blasting lawmakers over gambling, state Sen. Terry Link said Thursday he'd still like to think Quinn could be persuaded to sign a huge gambling expansion plan into law if it makes it to his desk.
"We are still open to having the governor sign the bill," said Link, a Waukegan Democrat and sponsor of the proposal.
The plan still has to make it through the Illinois Senate in the coming days, and lawmakers would have a shot at overriding Quinn if the governor vetoed the proposal. It would allow for 1,200 slot machines at the Arlington Heights track, as well as new casinos in Lake County, Chicago, the south suburbs, Rockford and downstate Danville.
Quinn was unequivocal in his opposition to the plan Wednesday, leaving doubt to whether an agreement could be made.
"This new bill falls well short of the ethics standards I proposed in my framework last October," Quinn said in a statement. "Most importantly, it does not include a ban on campaign contributions as lawmakers in other states have done to keep corruption out of the gambling industry."
But Link and Lang said they'd still aim to have Quinn approve the plan through continued talks or a trailer bill to ease some of the governor's concern.
"I'd like to put this bill in front of the governor and have him sign it," Lang said. "I'm not looking to have an argument with the governor over this."
Link, who plans to introduce the proposal for a vote early next week, has seen support continue to grow for gambling expansion.
"We're seeing more of a will to vote for this than we've ever seen," he said.