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Quinn hints at early return for legislature
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Quinn hints at early return for legislature

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SPRINGFIELD - Illinois lawmakers could return to action more than a month earlier than expected, but it likely won't be to deal with the state's woeful budget situation.

Rather, Gov. Pat Quinn said Tuesday the General Assembly could convene to enact new work rules for crews setting up conventions at Chicago's McCormick Place.

The call for a possible Sept. 13 session at the Capitol came after Quinn met Tuesday with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and legislative leaders in an attempt to bring an end to a lawsuit the governor thinks could hurt the state's largest city in its attempt to attract and retain conventions and trade shows.

Quinn said the issue cannot wait until late October when the House and Senate are scheduled to return to Springfield.

"This is a jobs emergency," Quinn said.

Quinn told reporters in Chicago that legislative action on issues such as the state budget and his decision to deny raises to more than 30,000 unionized state workers could wait until the start of the fall veto session. He said his administration would continue grappling with budget issues that have left most state vendors waiting months to get paid for providing services to the state.

"We will continue to work on those sorts of challenges," Quinn told reporters in Chicago.

The focus on resolving a Chicago issue before dealing with some of the state's problems rankled some downstate lawmakers.

"Probably 97 or 98 percent of the people in my district don't know what McCormick Place is," said state Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro.

Representatives for legislative leaders said it was too preliminary to discuss whether other issues will arise if lawmakers return in September.

"I think it's just too early to speculate," said Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont.

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