A contingent of black lawmakers blocked a vote on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s watered-down proposal to impose tougher penalties for illegal gun possession, the latest example of a rift between the mayor and the African-American community.

The reversal came after the stage appeared to be set Thursday to approve one of Emanuel’s top legislative priorities of the fall session. Sponsoring Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, held a news conference where he predicted the latest incarnation of the bill involving mandatory minimum prison sentences would pass.

As the Illinois House came to order, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. gave the morning invocation and lawmakers dealt with a few routine matters. When the gun bill came up, Rep. Ken Dunkin, leader of the House Black Caucus, had used a surprise procedural maneuver requesting information on how much the measure would cost taxpayers. Read more . . .

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