Governor’s Office Says Democrats Hold Up Lottery Payouts After Rauner Compromise

NBC 5 News

After Gov. Bruce Rauner froze the funds that pay out Illinois Lottery earnings last month, the governor made a compromise this week to get the funds flowing again. Now, however, the governor's office says it's the Democrats who are holding up the payouts.

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25th) filed a motion to reconsider on House Bill 4305 after the House passed it yesterday with a 115-1 vote. The bill would free up tax money that has already been collected to disburse it to municipalities, emergency dispatch centers and lottery winners, among others.

The hold that Rep. Currie placed on the bill will not allow it to proceed to the Illinois Senate.

In October, the Illinois Lottery announced that anyone who wins more than $600 will not be able to get their money until there's a state budget. The bill would reverse this announcement, regardless of whether there is a budget.

Rauner's decision to allow the lottery funds to flow again is part of what Rauner spokesperson Catherine Kelly calls a series of compromises on the governor's part. On Monday, Rauner relented on previous cuts he made to the state's Child Care Assistance Program in light of Democratic pressure. On the eve of the House vote on the bill, the governor added an amendment that raised the income requirement from 50 percent to 162 percent of the federal poverty level. Previously, the income requirement was 185 percent of the federal poverty level.

It is unclear exactly what Rep. Currie hopes the hold will accomplish, but some House Democrats are wary of the governor's compromises, which kept them from potentially passing legislation that would deny the governor authority to make similar cuts in the future.

Rep. Currie was not immediately available for comment.

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