The Illinois House cleared its packed calendar in a one-day overtime session Wednesday, thumbing its nose at Gov. Rod Blagojevich on several key issues.

The Illinois House cleared its packed calendar in a one-day overtime session Wednesday, thumbing its nose at Gov. Rod Blagojevich on several key issues.

House Democrats successfully pushed for leasing the state Lottery to pay for a capital construction program that hasn't been created yet, restoring millions of dollars in budget cuts made by Blagojevich and reversing the governor's changes on a major ethics reform bill.

House Speaker Michael Madigan thanked House members Wednesday evening for their hard work before sending them home

"We should do things like this more often," Madigan said.

But he cautioned the House's work until the scheduled November veto session might not be done.

All of those House actions still require Senate action, and the Lottery and budget cut measures can't easily be changed by the Senate. That could lead to even more back-and-forth between the two chambers.

Here is a closer look at those major items the House approved.

Lottery

The House approved the Lottery lease as a way to pay for the long-stalled capital construction program. But one lawmakers who supported the idea immediately criticized its intent.

"This is just a symbolic vote that says you want capital," said Rep. David Leitch, R-Peoria.  "This isn't going anywhere in the Senate.  I think it's political cover for some members ... This is still just gamesmanship."

The House voted 75-38 on Senate Bill 2595, which calls for leasing the Lottery for 50 to 60 years, with the state collecting at least $10 billion from a private operator.  Construction projects would get $7 billion, while the remaining $3 billion would be set aside to ensure schools get the $600 million a year they do now from the Lottery.

But the House didn't pass a spending plan for construction projects. Many House members complained they were only doing half the job.

"The audacity of anyone calling this a capital bill is insulting," said House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego.

Cross urged leaders to sit down and work out a spending plan by October or this would be the "biggest political hoax we've seen so far this year." He then voted for the lease idea.

Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero agreed that Illinois needs a jobs bill now.

But Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said there is no point in passing a spending bill until the state knows how much money it will get from a Lottery lease or if an operator will even meet the state's $10 billion threshold.

"We cannot spend money we do not have and may never get," Currie said.

She said a lease will take six to nine months, so passing a spending bill now could raise false hopes that projects will start soon.

Budget cuts

The House voted to restore hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of budget cuts and help pay for that by dipping into dozens of specially designated funds. The so-called "fund sweeps" would generate a little more than $221 million, and House members authorized spending virtually all of it.

That money would allow all historic sites and state parks to remain open, said the plan's sponsor, Rep. Gary Hannig, D-Litchfield. State officials recently announced two dozen state parks and historic sites would close because of budget cuts.

Leitch said the proposal wouldn't restore $828,200 in funding for Wildlife Prairie State Park near Peoria, which isn't one of the parks slated for closure. Blagojevich eliminated the money when he made $1.4 billion in budget cuts.

"We're still in limbo," Leitch said. "Not looking too good."

The state has hundreds of funds that receive fees for regulating professions and industries and paying for programs not funded by the budget. Democrats have swept what they call "surplus" money out of the funds repeatedly in recent years to pay for other state needs.

Funds targeted this time include for child support administration, forestry development and drycleaners' environmental response. The vote on Senate Bill 790 was 97-16.

The measure restoring the cuts, Senate Bill 1103, was approved 113-0. Another measure that would restore cuts to hospitals and other needs, House Bill 6350, passed 101-12. But Hannig said the House still needs to work with other leaders on finding a money stream to reverse those cuts.

Ethics

The House undid in about two minutes the sweeping ethics reform rewrite Blagojevich spent two months putting together.

The House voted 110-3 for the original version of House Bill 824 that lawmakers passed in May. That version would bar people with state contracts worth $50,000 or more from making political donations to state officeholders overseeing the contracts.

Blagojevich last month used his amendatory veto power to expand the contractor donation ban to lawmakers and all state officeholders. He also tried to change how pay raises would be voted on, bar lawmakers from holding most other government jobs and require them to more fully disclose any lobbying work they do.

Rep. John Fritchey, D-Chicago, said lawmakers should consider those changes in separate bills that he filed Wednesday, not in a take-it-or-leave-it vote.

"Let's go ahead and give the people of the state of Illinois what they want and what they deserve," Fritchey said.

The vote came just hours after Blagojevich had urged lawmakers not to override his changes because he fears they will be stalled if they're put into separate bills.

If the measure isn't voted on in the Senate within 15 days, the entire bill and the changes die. Senate Democrats have said until they see what the House does, they don't have plans to return to work until November.

Fritchey said Senate leaders have repeatedly promised to call an override for a vote in that chamber and hopes they live up to that commitment.

Even if the bill dies, a version of the contractor ban will still be in effect. Blagojevich also issued an executive order effective Jan. 1 barring people with high-dollar contracts with agencies under his control from giving donations to any state officeholders or lawmakers.

Adriana Colindres and Ryan Keith contributed to this report. Doug Finke can be reached at 788-1527 or doug.finke@sj-r.com.