Legislature Approves McPier Reform

Provisions include cost controls, naming rights, trade show czar

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Illinois lawmakers approved a plan Friday to keep Chicago a major destination for big conventions.

    The senate voted 51-6 to pass a series of changes to Chicago's top exposition center. The bill names Jim Reilly the trade show czar for a period of 18 months.

    "This is really going to send a message that we will not lose any more shows, but will gain traction to gain more shows," Senate Pres. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said while introducing the bill.

    The goal is to cut costs at Chicago's McCormick Place after a number of national trade shows threatened to leave.

    Supporter say the changes include capping the labor costs that can be charged to set up conventions. And exhibitors would now be allowed to set up and take down their own booths instead of paying for union labor. There's also a provision to sell naming rights to for McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

    The bill awaits Governor Pat Quinn's approval. A spokesman for the governor said he would reserve judgment until reading the bill.