Plan to Privatize DECO Moves Forward

(AP) A plan to privatize Illinois’ economic development agency and beef up its responsibilities has cleared the House. Representatives voted 60-6 Tuesday for the changes. The measure would allow the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to be turned into a public-private partnership, an idea Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner initially supported. The plan would also make the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum a stand-alone agency instead of falling under the Historic Preservation Agency, which would be abolished. The agency’s duties would be absorbed by DCEO. But the measure sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan contains a three-year sunset, which Republicans oppose. Advocates say the plan would make DCEO more efficient. But opponents say states have been plagued by scandal after reconfiguring economic development responsibilities.