Home Meeting notice Here’s what you need to know

Here’s what you need to know


State lawmakers resume their in-person meeting this week. It comes after almost a full month of virtual meetings. During this time, they introduced thousands of new bills.

What has happened so far this year?

In January, lawmakers met in person twice: the House and Senate met once on January 5, and the Senate met in person for about 20 minutes on February 2. They canceled in-person work due to COVID-19 and dangerousness. winter weather in central Illinois, continues to meet in committees via Zoom.

But that didn’t stop them from filing thousands of bills.

Since the start of the year, lawmakers have introduced an average of just over 76 bills each day, 2,368 in total. About one in four bills introduced since the start of last year were introduced in January, according to General Assembly records.

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These bills are not likely to become law. Since 2010, 10.32% of bills introduced have been signed by the governor. But some, especially those in the Republican minority, see the bill introductions “as a way to make their voices heard.”

representing Adam Niemerg, R-Dietrich, has introduced more bills than any other freshman lawmaker in 2021. He introduced two bills on Jan. 28, the last day to introduce substantive bills in the House. He presented four the day before.

“It can be demoralizing when you’re in Springfield and you’re pushing and pushing,” Niemerg said. “But when you walk around the neighborhood, it’s not at all demoralizing. There is a lot of hope.

The last day to introduce substantive bills in the Senate was January 21.

What types of bills have been tabled?

Not counting bills that are engineering changes or appropriations, lawmakers introduced 201 bills related to health care or COVID-19, 191 bills involving state government reforms, and 182 bills Education Act, according to an SJ-R analysis of General Assembly records.

The most popular category of bills for lawmakers has been criminal justice and policing. Since January 1, lawmakers have introduced at least 240 bills dealing with the subject.

Senate Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchieR-Hawthorn Woods, introduced a six-bill package that would provide police grants, increase penalties for carjacking and certain gun crimes and repeal an existing law that will eliminate cash bail in state over the next few years.

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“These are reasonable proposals that specifically target the major issues and needs within our communities and they deserve to be heard,” Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, said at a press conference last week. .

The package is a response to the SAFE-T Act, a sweeping package of criminal justice reforms introduced last year by Democrats that largely toed party lines.

Republicans have also introduced nine bills that would restore the death penalty for certain crimes.

Although they generate media buzz, these bills introduced by Republicans are unlikely to go anywhere without the support of Democrats.

Across the aisle, Democrats also acted on criminal justice. One of three bills passed so far this year was a follow-up bill to the SAFE-T Act that delays some of the original law’s timelines to make it easier for police departments to implement the changes. .

The other two bills were minor changes to the election code to accommodate the June primary and a bill creating a new map of judicial sub-circuits in the state.

Democratic bills are more likely to become law since the party controls both houses of the General Assembly and the Governor’s mansion.

Of the bills passed last year, 82.6% had two top Democratic co-sponsors. Republicans are solely responsible for sponsoring 8.6% of bills while 8.9% have had bipartisan chief co-sponsors.

But there are still recent Democratic initiatives that have so far stalled.

representing Anne Stava MurrayD-Naperville introduced a bill which would require police departments to release body camera footage of deaths involving officers. Sen. Ram VillivalamD-Chicago, introduced a separate invoice that would create a grant program for law enforcement agencies to purchase “micro-stamping”.

Neither bill was sent to committee, the first step for a bill to become law.

Besides crime, bills have been introduced to tackle the pandemic, LGBT rights, long-term care facilities and aging, and more.

Among local lawmakers, the Department of Child and Family Services has been a major issue since the death of DCFS investigator Deidre Silas.

“I’ve had two bills that speak directly to this,” the senator said. Doris TurnerD-Springfield.

One is a bill that has garnered bipartisan support and is set to have a hearing on February 8 – a critical step for a bill before it becomes law. the Invoice causing “grievous bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement” to a DCFS employee a more serious crime than it already is.

by Turner other invoice extends to DCFS workers the same benefits that the families of firefighters and police officers receive in the event of a workplace death.

Both are co-sponsored by bipartisan groups of lawmakers. Sen. Steve McClureR-Springfield and Sen. Sally TurnerR-Beason, signed both of Turner’s bills.

They are among 16 bills that somehow regulate DCFS.

What happens next in Springfield?

The Senate is expected to be in Springfield this week and House members will join them at the Capitol next week.

Despite returning to the Capitol, this legislative session will continue to be different for other reasons.

“We’re working on a compressed schedule,” Turner said. “In the days and weeks to come, that will be worked out.”

The legislative session is due to end on April 8, almost a full month ahead of the usual end date of May 31. This change was made to accommodate the June primary.

While Turner thinks that deadline will stick and the legislature will start to look like years past, Niemerg is less sure anyone can predict what will happen in the next three months.

“You just don’t know,” he said. “You really don’t know.”

Contact Andrew Adams: [email protected]; (312)-291-1417; twitter.com/drewjayadams.