SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) – The state House sponsor of Illinois’ concealed carry measure isn’t pleased with the governor’s decision to veto the measure should it reach his desk, but he’s not necessarily surprised.
State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) says his measure is the closest it’s ever been to passing a chamber. It needs 71 votes to pass, and he says he’s a couple of votes away. HB148 will likely be called for a floor vote this Thursday.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Alex Degman reports
Phelps worries the governor’s threatened veto may have cost him a couple of votes.
“It didn’t help anything, I’ll tell you that,” says Phelps. “I’ll be honest with you, you know me I’ll tell you like it is. But that’s why they did it because they know it’s close. They’ll do anything and everything they can to beat this, because they know it’s close.”
The House Agriculture Committee agreed to amend the bill to prohibit concealed carry on college campuses, inside government buildings and other public places. Business owners would also be able to decide whether they want to allow guns in their buildings.
Phelps says he and fellow downstate lawmakers have gotten the short end of the stick this legislative session, and have very few public policy victories to tout. For example, Phelps says civil unions passed and the death penalty was abolished, both of which he adamantly opposed.
Now many downstate lawmakers want concealed carry, and they might not get it. Phelps says if the governor wants to play politics with this issue, then he can play politics with another issue: the budget.
“I can’t speak for all my caucus, but I can tell you one thing right now. It’s going to be hard for me to pass anything without this,” says Phelps. “Downstate needs something to hang their hat on.”