With the end of the COVID-19 in sight, and having let the governor micromanage the state under emergency orders, it appears the General assembly may now seriously consider authorizing itself to meet remotely.

Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) and Sen. Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) are introducing companion bills in the House and Senate to authorize remote sessions. We don’t agree with them often, but better late than never, so props to them for moving on what’s long overdue. As COVID-19 has made clear, lawmakers obviously should be able to meet remotely during emergencies. The authorization should have been in place long ago.

Currently, House sessions must be in-person and the Senate permits remote participation only if a physical quorum is present. Senate rules also allow for virtual committee hearings.

In May, the House narrowly voted down a similar proposal, as reported by Politico. Why? It seems pretty obvious that lawmakers have been perfectly happy with shirking their authority off to the governor. The regularly scheduled fall veto session was cancelled entirely.

Under the proposed bills, according to the Sun-Times, the House speaker and the president of the Senate would have to issue a joint proclamation to allow for the emergency remote session and committee meetings.

Deferring the decision to those two top lawmakers would be unfortunate because it would again allow individual lawmakers to shirk off their responsibility. Hopefully, that part of the bills will change. A majority of members in each chamber should have the power, making them more individually responsible.

Let’s also hope that the final bill mandates procedures that assure transparency, full debate and minority party participation that are at least as robust as for live sessions – hopefully, more so.

-Mark Glennon

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Aaron
29 days ago

They must not have the votes for something BIG. Deep fake votes needed.

Fed up neighbor
30 days ago

Legislators you are a day late and a couple billion dollars short.

Thee Jabroni
30 days ago

These people in office could care less about the problems of this state,most of them sit around on their fat rear ends still collecting a paycheck while many illinoisans and businesses are suffering and going belly up,but the legislators wont convene cuz theyre scared the covid bug might get them!

Illinois Entrepreneur
30 days ago

As for “why now,” these people aren’t exactly beacons of leadership.

They are there for the “prestige” and the check, benefits and pension. They do not want to confront the many pressing problems of Illinois, and they certainly don’t want to rock the boat. When the public unions need them, they will call.

The public unions and Madigan will set the agenda. Everyone else — just relax.

Thee Jabroni
30 days ago

Amen brotha!!

Benicia
30 days ago

While the geniuses are at it, howz about taking the away the Tyrant’s ability to string emergency proclamations together ad infinitum without legislative assent?

Goodgulf Greyteeth
1 month ago

Just as easy for the cabal of lickspittle legislators who continue to perpetuate Illinois’ bankruptcy of finances and governance to vote-as-they’re-told from home as it is for them to sit on their thumbs in Springfield-n-vote as they’re told there.

I suspect that all this bill tells us is that the public employee unions, the Medicaid Industrial Complex, Governor Tax Cheat and Mad Mike have finally decided on how they’d like their legislative puppies to wag their tails.

For my part, as a taxpayer, I’d like a blindfold and a cigarette, please.

Rick
1 month ago

Doesn’t sound very “woke”. Most of their black, hispanic and blue collar constituency still has to schlep their butt to their jobs. Why cant the assembly do the same? Dont they know working from home is like talking to their constituents from their place of privilege?

LessonLearned
1 month ago

Hey Illinois, do whatever you want. You’re no longer my problem. Bye Bye.

dom
1 month ago
Reply to  LessonLearned

We left in 2018 We don’t worry about such nit=wit action…