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Tuesday's Happenings at the IL Fall Veto Session

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By Ap/KWMU

Springfield, Ill. – Here is a rundown of action in Springfield, Ill. on Tuesday, where members of the General Assembly are in the middle of their fall veto session:

CAPITOL SECURITY

State representatives approved spending $5.6 million to increase security at the state Capitol. The vote, 92-19, was to endorse a plan pitched by Secretary of State Jesse White, which came after an unarmed security guard was fatally shot in the Capitol on September 20th.

The plan calls for metal detectors in key government buildings, security cameras and more guards. Detectors have already been installed in the Capitol.

The secretary of state police force will add 59 armed officers to patrol those buildings.

None of the changes would have prevented the shooting last month, though. In that incident, the shooter simply opened the door, aimed his gun from the foyer, and shot once.

That's why Republican Bill Black voted no. He said the money would be better spent on mental-health treatment, as the man accused of being the gunman has a history of mental illness and has been found unfit to stand trial.

GUN OVERRIDE

The Illinois Senate overrode a piece of gun legislation that Governor Rod Blagojevich had earlier vetoed.

The measure offers legal protections for homeowners who shoot intruders. It stems from a man in northern Illinois who shot a burglar and was then charged with breaking a local ban on owning handguns.

The governor has said the measure would weaken local gun laws, but supporters say it protects a person's right to defend him or herself. The Illinois House will consider the over-ride next week.

WINERIES

Illinois lawmakers sent Governor Rod Blagojevich legislation that would let wineries in the state sell other alcoholic beverages, along with their wine.

Supporters say it's an effort to give wineries the same rights as brew pubs, where locally made beers are not the only thing on the drink menu. They also suggest a possible boost for the economy in southern Illinois, where a number of wineries are located.

TRUCK SPEED LIMITS

The Illinois Senate also rejected the governor's veto of legislation that would raise the speed limit for big to 65 mph.

The legislation would set a standard highway speed limit for all vehicles. Senators voted 41-17 to override the veto, with supporters saying current limits leave trucks driving ten miles an hour slower than cars. They say that creates a dangerous situation.

Blagojevich argues that the true danger would be to let trucks drive faster. Spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch says the governor will urge House members to uphold his veto of the speed-limit bill.

RENTER'S ASSISTANCE

The Illinois House approved a new program to help an estimated 5,000 poor families pay for housing.

The legislation would add an $11 fee to the cost of filing real estate documents. The fees would raise about $30 million, which would be used to subsidize the rent of poor families.

In general, families would have to make less than $19,000 a year to qualify.

The measure now goes to the state Senate.

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