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SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Senate sent Gov. Pat Quinn a budget that cuts about $1.6 billion from his original proposal and the House approved a major gambling expansion Monday as legislators charged toward adjournment.

A Senate committee voted to abolish the state's expensive workers' compensation program, sending it to the Senate floor. Approval there would put the plan on the governor's desk and create confusion for Illinois workers and businesses.

The House also delivered bad news to Republicans by approving new boundaries for Illinois congressional districts. The map would put some GOP lawmakers into unfriendly territory or lump them into the same districts in an effort to reverse Republican gains in last year's election.

The spring legislative session is scheduled to end Tuesday night. If it doesn't, new rules kick in that would give the Republican minority a say in what passes and what doesn't.

The Legislature's Democratic majority took a major step toward meeting their deadline when the Senate voted Monday night to accept a series of budget bills that had already made their way through the House. This version of the budget rejects key parts of Quinn's spending proposal. It assumes lower spending, leaves out a huge borrowing plan and ignores some revenue measures he wanted.

Documents supplied by Senate Democrats said it would cut about $1.6 billion from Quinn's original proposal.

"We made tough cuts. We took action," said Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge.

Total education spending, for instance, would be $9 billion under the legislation approved by the Senate, down from $9.5 billion proposed by Quinn. Current education spending is nearly $9.3 billion.

Instead of Quinn's proposed $14.4 billion in human services, the legislation calls for $13.6 billion. That's up from the current $13.4 billion.

House Republicans backed the budget, but their Senate counterparts said it didn't go nearly far enough. Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, called it the "last piece of cement and concrete in a Democrat plan" to make the state's new tax increase permanent.

But this isn't the last word on the budget.

The Senate's Democratic majority also voted to add back about $430 million in spending, and it's not clear what the House will do with that proposal. In addition, the Democratic governor could use his veto powers to make changes.

The gambling expansion passed 65-50 and now goes to the Senate, which has approved similar plans in the past only to see them fail in the House.

Quinn has criticized the idea of such a large expansion, but it has the support of new Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and could produce $1.5 billion in one-time fees and $500 million a year in revenues - money the state badly needs.

The plan authorizes five new casinos, including one in Chicago. The others would be in Rockford, Danville, Park City in Chicago's northern suburbs, and a not-yet-chosen site in south suburban Chicago.

It allows horseracing tracks - even the one at the Illinois State Fairgrounds - to install slot machines and lets existing casinos expand to help make up for the new competition.

The Senate was poised to vote on abolishing workers' compensation, a move that would thrust about 50,000 injury cases into the court system each year. The push to eliminate the system, and its huge costs to businesses, came after a major overhaul was rejected in the Illinois House, largely because of Republican opposition.

A Senate committee approved the abolition despite fierce opposition from Republicans. Sen. Dale Righter, R-Charleston, called the back and forth a "testosterone-infused game of chicken."

If the measure passes on the Senate floor, it would go to Quinn's desk. The governor's aides repeatedly declined to say Monday whether he would consider signing it.

An attempt to cut government pension costs was sidelined, despite support from both House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego.

The pair wanted to reduce retirement benefits for public employees and require the workers to pay more, a move they said is necessary to stabilize the state's shaky pensions systems. But unions fought the idea fiercely, and Cross and Madigan announced Monday they are shelving the idea until autumn.

The House also voted to let power companies raise their rates so they could afford to modernize. The $3 billion plan would provide money to Commonwealth Edison and Ameren for basic infrastructure as well as the creation of "Smart Grid," a high-tech system for monitoring energy demand moment by moment.

Consumer advocates said the plan guarantees utilities too much profit and makes it likely that rates would climb every year.

The 67-47 House vote was not a veto-proof majority, however, so Quinn might be able to block the measure if the Senate sends it to his desk.

House Democrats pushed through the once-a-decade rewrite of congressional districts. Illinois is losing one of its 19 districts because of slow population growth, giving Springfield's Democratic leaders a chance to reshape the map for maximum political impact.

Republicans picked up several congressional seats in 2010, and this new map could make it possible for Democrats to reverse those gains.

Another House vote sent the governor legislation that would create a state panel to raise private money for college scholarships for the children of immigrants. Under the Dream Act, students could get the scholarships whether they or their parents were in the country illegally.

The measure passed 61-53 and now goes to Quinn, who supports it.

"I believe everyone has the right to a first-class education," the Democratic governor said in a statement. "This legislation will support our next generation of scholars, business leaders and innovators."

Associated Press writers Deanna Bellandi, Zachary Colman and John O'Connor contributed to this report.


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