Committee passes bill to privatize state economic agency

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A House committee has approved a measure that would privatize the state’s economic development agency and turn the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum into a stand-alone institution.

The House executive committee on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation merging two ideas from House Speaker Michael Madigan and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Madigan has pushed for the Lincoln Library to be a stand-alone agency instead of under the Historic Preservation Agency, which would be eliminated under the proposal. Rauner proposed during his campaign for governor that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity be turned into a public-private partnership.

Advocates say the proposal would make the DCEO more efficient and transparent.

Opponents say states have been plagued by scandal after delegating economic development responsibilities to a nonprofit.