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Quinn still lukewarm on gambling expansion

Illinois Gov. PQuinn speaks with reporters his office Illinois State Capitol Friday June 1 2012 Springfield Ill. Quinn responds lawmakers

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn speaks with reporters in his office at the Illinois State Capitol Friday, June 1, 2012 in Springfield, Ill. Quinn responds to lawmakers challenging him once again with legislation that would expand gambling across the state, the failure to pass pension reforms and how lawmakers dealt with two measures affecting the state's overcrowded prisons. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

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Updated: July 6, 2012 10:45AM

SPRINGFIELD— Gov. Pat Quinn made clear — again — that he carries a tepid view of a gambling expansion package that narrowly passed and that would authorize a Chicago casino.

On Friday Quinn wouldn’t address whether he intends to sign or veto the measure that passed a day earlier — just that his priority is pension reform and little else.

“It’s obvious for me and I think the overwhelming majority of people in Illinois, until you resolve the pension issue, with its $83 billion unfunded liability, with its squeeze on our schools, in our health care, on our public safety, that’s the paramount issue and nothing else should take its place,” he said.

The Senate passed the plan that besides allowing a Chicago casino would authorize casinos in Lake County, the south suburbs and two Downstate locations. It eked out of the Senate on a 30-26 roll call, which was the bare headcount needed for passage but six votes shy of what it would take to override a possible Quinn veto or amendatory veto.

Supporters got to the 30-vote threshold, in part, when state Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) cast an “aye” vote for Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), even though she said she was against the package. Collins said she had left her seat when the vote occurred and came back to see that Trotter had voted her opposite of how she wanted.

Asked about the voting irregularity, Quinn said, “I don’t exactly know what happened. But if there’s anything untoward, it should be investigated.”

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