Lengthy budget delay to dominate 2016 legislative session

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois has limped along without a budget since July, and solving that political stalemate will be the top priority for lawmakers as they return to work this week. The epic budget fight that’s crippling many state services will overshadow other key issues lawmakers want to address in the 2016 session, which begins Wednesday, including legislation to allow recall efforts against Chicago mayors and regulating fantasy sports gambling. The state’s budget for the current year should’ve taken effect July 1, but Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected the plan that lawmakers sent him. He says a budget agreement should include his priority reforms, such as curbing the union power. Democrats who control the Legislature want a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.