Happy New Year and welcome to 2021! In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois legislature should resolve to make 2021 the year of accountability – accountability for the COVID-19 response, accountability to taxpayers, and accountability for elected officials with the passage of ethics reforms. From IDES failures, the forced closure of businesses, vaccine distribution, the biggest budget in state history, or the wide-ranging federal investigation into Speaker Madigan’s organization, we need more accountability in Illinois State Government. In this upcoming legislative session, the Illinois legislature must perform our oversight role.
Legislators to Return to Springfield for Lame Duck Session on Jan 8
House Republicans have been asking for the legislature to reconvene for months. Finally, at the end of this week (Friday, Jan. 8), lawmakers will return to Springfield for five days of “lame duck” session leading into the swearing in of the 102nd General Assembly.
House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Chief of Staff emailed legislators on December 30 to inform us that House members should return to Springfield and be prepared for session from January 8th through January 12th. We will meet at the Bank of Springfield Center just like we did in May for the final days of the 101st General Assembly. Speaker Madigan has been tight-lipped about the agenda.
I am eager to get back to work in Springfield. It’s been more than seven months since the legislature has met, and the Pritzker administration has been ruling the State via Executive Order for nearly ten months. The failures of the administration in running critical functions of the government has gone on unabated during this time. House Republican calls for audits and hearings have been ignored. Meanwhile, IDES has mismanaged its response to the pandemic so badly, that ten months into the pandemic my office is still hearing from Illinoisans who cannot obtain benefits owed to them. The delays, fraud, and the fact that people can’t even get through to talk to someone about any of these things is inexcusable.
Other areas of state government, including the processing of FOID cards and Concealed Carry Licenses (some people are experiencing delays of nearly a year) has been an unmitigated disaster. Legislative oversight hearings are needed to identify issues and make processes work better and faster for our citizens.
102nd General Assembly Inauguration January 13 in Springfield
The 118 members of the Illinois House of Representatives and 59 State Senators will take the oath of office in Springfield on Wednesday, Jan. 13. It remains the honor of my lifetime to serve you in the House of Representatives.
After we take our oath of office, the next order of business on Jan. 13 will be the election of a Speaker of the House. The question of whether or not Mike Madigan will be able to garner enough support to remain Speaker of the House in the 102nd General Assembly remains up in the air. If the 19 House Democrats who have said they will not support him stay true to that pledge, Madigan is six votes shy of the 60 votes needed to remain Speaker.
In the new 102nd General Assembly, I will continue to vote for measures that promote fiscal responsibility, better ethics, government transparency and economic growth, and will continue fighting against legislation that I believe hurts taxpayers or would do further damage to our state. I will also continue to be a loud voice that promotes oversight of the governor and his administration as we continue to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and political fallout.
Through this newsletter, I will continue to bring you the news you need to know from Springfield and beyond. I truly appreciate your continued readership and your comments, concerns, and suggestions. Please keep them coming!