As Republicans finished their official events this morning, word spread that Gov. Pat Quinn had vetoed the gambling bill outright. Some of the Republican lawmakers we spoke with this morning had supported the bill, others had opposed, but all seemed united in criticizing the way the governor handled the veto.
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno opposed the gambling bill, but said she felt the governor didn't make any effort to work with lawmakers to make it better.
House Minority Leader Tom Cross concurred.
"I would say to the governor, if you have concerns, you should've engaged the General Assembly, been a little more forceful,” he said.
“I’m really more disappointed that the governor wasn't involved on the negotiation side of the bill," said Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington), who supported the bill. "It’s easy to veto a bill, but to be in the trenches and negotiate, that was lacking."
The governor's spokesperson, Brooke Anderson, refuted those claims, saying that he has constantly told lawmakers he wouldn't sign the bill unless there were stronger ethical standards and oversight.
“He's made that clear, and the improvements that are necessary, to everyone repeatedly over the past two years,” she said.
None of the lawmakers could predict whether or not the bill had the necessary votes in the General Assembly to override the governor’s veto.
The bill would have allowed for five new casinos, including one in Chicago, and expanded slots at racetracks. Quinn says the bill lacked enough oversight, and should have banned campaign contributions to lawmakers from casino interests.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has long advocated for a Chicago casino and expressed his disappointment today. His office released this statement:
“A Chicago casino would create thousands of crucial jobs for Chicagoans and provide resources that would be used to rehabilitate neighborhood schools. Chicago loses $20 million a month and countless jobs to casinos in Indiana. Those jobs should be here in Chicago, supporting the families of our tradespeople and helping the entire city’s economic future. It is the responsibility of the Governor and all leaders in Illinois to stop this outflow of dollars and jobs. I spoke with the Governor this morning and we agreed, it cannot take another 20 years of discussion to draft and pass a bill that will be signed into law. I will continue to work relentlessly with all parties to pass a bill that will allow a Chicago casino to be built and implemented responsibly.”