SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois House voted to allow a tobacco and tobacco product convention to book the Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont for late next summer, if State Rep. Mike McAuliffe's amendment to SB 852 is adopted in the Illinois Senate.
While Republicans argued lifting the statewide smoking ban for two days at the Stevens Center would bring jobs to the area and encourage economic activity during the anticipated convention's two days, Democrat Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) encouraged her colleagues to oppose the exemption.
"This will weaken Illinois being smoke-free," Williams said. "Using the slippery slope argument, wouldn't you be concerned other towns would ask for a similar exemption?" she asked McAuliffe.
Rep. McAuliffe said did not expect any further legislation that would provide exemptions to Illinois' Smoke Free Act.
The Illinois Senate will need to concur with the changes made to SB 852 in the House before it would be sent to the Governor. The vote passed 78 to 35 in the House Friday.