CHICAGO - Legislation has passed the Illinois State General Assembly aimed at making McCormick Place more competitive with its lower-cost rivals in other states. If Governor Patrick Quinn signs off, it's expected to bring sweeping changes to a venue that has long suffered complaints about high costs and restrictive labor rules.

The legislation, awaiting the governor's signature, would name a trustee with broad decision-making powers and allow privatization of venue management. The bill includes the securing of a permanent funding base for the McCormick Place facilities, opens competition for key services including utilities, and mandates a series of exhibitor rights, which will make working in the building more comparable to other venues.

Full details, including the direct impact on IMTS exhibitors, will be detailed in correspondence from The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT) soon. AMT's Vice President-Exhibitions and Communications Peter Eelman was involved in the development of the bill and expects implementation to take place in the near future.