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Plan to Free Up Federal Money Passes in House

The House on Wednesday passed a bill freeing up nearly $5 billion in federal money. But Democrats failed to get enough support for an amendment to spend state dollars on some human services. After the vote, House Speaker Michael Madigan expressed frustration over the failed effort, but Republicans weren't buying it.

Amanda Vinicky joins us from Springfield with the latest on Chicago Tonight. Below, some highlights from our discussion.

On what happened to free up billions of dollars in federal money to keep the bill alive

The Democrats tried to run the bill with the additional state funding and took exception to it being called a “poison pill.” They said it’s money that would help people with disabilities and working parents who have a choice between going to their job or taking care of their children, and money that would be used for cancer screenings. Nonetheless, no Republicans were on board and the bill did not get the 71 votes that it needed. So the Democrats took away that funding that was offensive to the Republicans, ran the bill again, and it did pass through. This version does add in some extra money. The bill includes some programs that we had heard were mistakenly left off and there are some state dollars that are included to fund McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

On what happens next to the bill

Because there are these add-ons, the bill has to go back to the Senate in Springfield and we expect that to happen on Wednesday next week. The House has done its work and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said that he is on board with this “clean version.” However, fights that were heard on the House floor today had Republicans saying that they thought that the Democrats called this measure just to get them saying no to helping fund social services and that will be fodder later on for campaign mailers and brochures.

On the police reform bill signed by Gov. Rauner

This measure does not require police in Illinois to have body cameras, but it makes it easier for them to get the cameras. If you get pulled over and get a traffic citation, an extra $5 will be added onto that that will go into a fund. Local police departments can draw from the fund and then purchase body cameras. All cops would need to wear them when they are on-call and keep those recordings for about 90 days. Those recordings will be kept private from the public unless there is something that is considered news-worthy, like, for example, a gun going off. Some police departments are concerned about what they think might be onerous, as there will be a state database that keeps track of officers who are dismissed for doing bad work and also keeps track of any shootings.

Interview highlights represent a condensed version of our conversation with Amanda Vinicky. Watch the video to see the full discussion.