One step closer:
The House Revenue Committee voted 9-1 Wednesday to approve the plan, which would raise billions of dollars for statewide construction projects. The measure now goes to the full House.
The legislation calls for turning the lottery over to a private company for 50 years or more. The state would get at least $10 billion, plus 20% of lottery revenues.
Most of the money would pay for improvements to Illinois roads and bridges. Some of it would replace the money schools now get from the lottery so that they don't suffer financially.
UPDATE: Actually, I spoke too soon. The lottery privatization bill passed the House last night 75-38. But there's still a ways to go. Much more context on the political landscape here:
And any budget restorations, as well as the lottery lease, still need approval from an antagonistic Senate, just the latest in a back-and-forth battle between the chambers that has kept lawmakers shuttling to and from Springfield for much of the past two years.
The lottery lease, approved 75-38, was a major step forward for House Democrats, who acknowledged they have warmed to the idea because they can't get agreement on any other way to fund a long-delayed capital construction program.
But Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie pointed out that it could be a year before all the pieces are in place to hire a contractor. And when it comes to how to spend the proceeds, they're holding out for a project-by-project list driven by their distrust of fellow Democrat Blagojevich.