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Tough votes loom for state legislators

Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD (AP) – Illinois lawmakers left Springfield Friday for a two-week vacation before a final two-month push at resolving the state’s pressing problems, including the nation’s worst pension crisis.

After three months of debate, lawmakers finally showed some progress on tackling state employee pensions, but they have yet to move far a proposal allowing gay marriage, a federal judge’s order to permit conceal carry of weapons and an oil-drilling practice that could create thousands of jobs.

Also looming: Yet another push for an expansion of casinos and the need to approve a spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn laid out what he called “the most difficult budget Illinois has ever faced.”

Legislators will intensify efforts to address all of those issues in the eight weeks before their May 31 adjournment.

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