Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (1/7)
97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY LAME DUCK SESSION – JANUARY 2013
ITHA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
The 2013 “lame duck” session of the 97th General Assembly – the session days immediately preceding the inauguration of the next legislature, and a time when many retiring legislators will be casting their final legislative votes without having to face the electorate in a future election - was originally envisioned to consider five major issues: (a) comprehensive pension reform; (b) gaming expansion; (c) gun control; (d) same sex marriage; and (e) supplemental appropriations to the FY13 state budget. Both chambers initially established a seven-day lame duck schedule, running from Wednesday, January 2 through Tuesday, January 8.
Despite the initial expectations of a “robust” lame duck session, on December 27, 2012, it became apparent that the legislative leaders still could not agree on how to resolve the major issues. With no agreement in sight, the Senate and House shortened their respective lame duck session schedules (each chamber meeting separately for three session days, with the Senate convening on January 2, 3 and tentatively 8, and the House convening on January 6, 7 and 8), with the growing expectation that any action on major issues would be delayed until the 2013 spring session.
In the weeks leading up to the 2013 lame duck session, ITHA leadership continued in negotiations on the revised gaming expansion legislation in the hopes that a final, acceptable proposal would be ready should the issue be allowed to advance during the lame duck session. The legislative leaders and the Governor have occasionally suggested that, during the lame duck session, any movement on gaming expansion would come only after a comprehensive resolution to pension reform was advanced. Prospects for immediate movement on gaming expansion were dashed after Senate President Cullerton made public statements that there continued to be significant unresolved challenges on both pension reform and gaming expansion, and that the later issue would advance early in the 2013 spring session (specifically in either February or March, 2013) instead of during the lame duck session.
On Wednesday, January 2, two measures were filed that were harmful to the horse racing industry: (a) Senate Amendment #2 to HB 4466; and (b) Senate Amendment #1 to SB 24. Together, these bills would have stripped $70.4 million (or 80 percent) from the current balance of 10th casino license monies dedicated to the horse racing industry, and transfer that money to the Chicago Public Schools (“CPS”) and the United Neighborhood Organization (“UNO”) for a school construction program in Chicago. ITHA opposed these measures in Springfield in strong collaboration with the other Illinois horsemen groups. ITHA, through its leaders and lobbying team, helped prevent both measures from advancing in the Senate - keeping those monies available for their original intended purpose to support the Illinois horse racing industry. ITHA leadership has also learned, through its legislative contacts, that there appears to be less support in the Illinois House than in the Senate to advance any measure that sweeps the 10th license funds and attempts to redirect those funds to any purpose other than for Illinois horse racing.
Senate Amendment #2 to HB 4466 also contained a six-month extension of the Advanced Deposit Wagering (“ADW”) law (ending July 1, 2013), with a provision to make the extension retroactive to January 1, 2013. In November, the Senate advanced a nearly identical bill - HB 2083 (Lang/Link) - although HB 2083 did not expressly provide for the measure to be retroactive (since it was originally anticipated that the House would pass HB 2083 during the November veto session and the Governor would sign the bill prior to the January 1, 2013 sunset date). As stated above, HB 4466 failed to advance due to the proposed sweeping of the 10th license funds - leaving HB 2083 as the only current option to extend the ADW law. ITHA leadership and its lobbying team are actively working during the lame duck session to advance HB 2083, or a revised measure to extend the ADW law.
ITHA President Mike Campbell, the ITHA leadership, and the ITHA lobbying team have been in Springfield throughout the lame duck session to ensure that the interests of ITHA and the Illinois horse racing community are fully represented and heard, and will continue to serve as strong advocates for the best interests of the Illinois horse racing industry.
Mike Campbell, ITHA President
Glen E. Berman – ITHA Executive Director and Counsel