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Chicago casino bill could finally surface in Illinois Senate committee

SPRINGFIELD —And, then again, maybe not.

A casino expansion proposal that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has portrayed as a cure for at least some of Chicago’s pension debt woes was to get a hearing in the state Capitol Thursday afternoon but has been pulled due to “ongoing discussions,” a Senate spokeswoman said.

State Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, was expected to call the measure — SB1382 — at Thursday’s Senate Executive Committee, said Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman to state Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago.

However, discussions regarding details within the proposal are still ongoing.

The measure was to also propose four other casinos statewide.

Even if the measure is called, it faces an uphill climb. It must advance from committee then be fast-tracked through the Legislature before the body’s scheduled Sunday adjournment. Sources say even if it passes committee, it is unlikely to be called for a vote before the full Senate this legislative session.

The proposed measure would authorize a Chicago-owned casino and allow the city to keep all the revenue for seven years to help pay down pension costs.

Contributing: The Associated Press