Friday marks the final day of the legislative session for Illinois lawmakers, with several big items left on the agenda.
Some of the major issues left to tackle: the potential legalization of recreational marijuana, a strengthening of abortion rights, an expansion of casino gambling and Gov. J.B. Pritzker's proposed $41.5 billion capital bill to rebuild the state's infrastructure.
On cannabis, a House committee passed a bill Thursday night to legalize the purchase and use of recreational cannabis for Illinois residents age 21 and older.
That hearing went late into the night and included a statement of support from Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
"A criminal conviction for marijuana, even a misdemeanor conviction has long standing collateral consequences," Foxx said while testifying before the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee. "Consequences that, should this bill come into effect, people moving forward, will not have to share with the thousands before them: the ability to get housing, the ability to get appointment, the ability to get financial aid."
The committee voted 13-6 in favor of sending the measure to the full House, where a vote is expected by the end of the day. If it's passed and signed into law, the bill would also pardon those with prior convictions of up to 30 grams of cannabis.
Also before lawmakers Friday is a potential expansion of abortion rights. Democrats hold a super-majority in both chambers of the legislature, with the House passing a measure Tuesday - sending it to the Senate - to rescind prohibitions on some abortions and remove criminal penalties for doctors performing the procedure.
The bill was introduced as a response to some states across the U.S. passing laws to restrict abortion rights, with its sponsors warning that the protections would be necessary should the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade be overturned. It passed a Senate committee Thursday, with a full vote expected in the Senate Friday.
Also unresolved is a state budget - the first of Pritzker's administration, as well as Pritzker's multi-billion dollar proposal to rebuild the state's roads and bridges, plus a plan to legalize sports betting and construct six additional casinos across Illinois.