State Rep. Bob Rita will be at the Tinley Park Convention Center this evening holding another of his public hearings on proposed legislation to expand gambling statewide.
Rita became the point person on legislation to expand gambling in Illinois last spring when state Rep. Lou Lang stepped aside after years of writing — and rewriting and rewriting — bills that in the end never went anywhere. At that point, there were too many unresolved issues to get a bill through the Legislature in the 2013 spring session.
Since summer, Rita has been holding hearings trying to find the elusive middle ground that both the Legislature and Gov. Pat Quinn, who has vetoed two bills, can get behind. He hopes to put a bill together over the next few weeks. But after so many years of casino-bill debates, the odds of finding an entirely new approach sound to some Springfield veterans as akin to drawing that inside straight.
A Quinn spokesperson said the governor’s office is not aware of any movement on gaming legislation.
This this might not be the year that anything significant related to casinos gets momentum. In an election season, Quinn – who’s already accused of moving the goal posts in the past – wouldn’t have much incentive to give his Republican opponent the opportunity to portray Quinn as someone in the pocket of casino barons. If Quinn’s GOP foe doesn’t take that line, an anti-Quinn PAC might be more than happy to do it.
If Quinn wins, he might approve casino legislation during the veto session after the election. If he loses, probably not.