Ward Room
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Illinois Lawmakers Play Hooky for Softball Game

What budget crisis?

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It's a beautiful day for a ballgame -- especially for Illinois lawmakers cutting out of work early.

The state capitol has cut Wednesday's schedule short to make room for the annual House-versus-Senate softball showdown, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The House, which scored the trophy last year, will try for a repeat victory against the Senate team whose members include ex-NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris III.

In the past, things have gotten out of hand. Take, for example, the shenanigans of former state senator Rickey Hendon, who tackled U.S. congresswoman Robin Kelly -- a state representative at the time -- to the ground following the 2006 game. Hendon has since disappeared into semi-obscurity after resigning from office in 2011 over a federal investigation into shady government grants.

Both chambers adjourn May 31, which means crunch time for crucial decisions like extending the state income tax increase. Earlier this week, Gov. Pat Quinn, along with House Speaker Michael Madigan, fell short in an attempt to wrangle 60 votes from fellow Democrats and keep 2011's temporary state income hike in place past its Jan. 1 expiration date. (With midterm elections ahead, saying "yes" could be campaign Kryptonite.)

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