Lawmakers make bid for virtual session

State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago). (Photo courtesy: Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Except for four days in May, the Illinois General Assembly has not met since March. Now there’s a bill now to allow lawmakers to get to work virtually. It’s sponsored by State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago).

“Right now,” Williams said, “there are statutory parameters that limit our ability to do so, but we never expected a worldwide pandemic to happen.”

A lawmaker last week blamed Republicans for scuttling a similar bill during that brief May session — even though it took Democrats to get enough votes to kill it. Why?

“I’m not sure,” answered Williams. “I think the concept was a new one at the time, but now that the pandemic has worn on, and months have passed since we could meet as a body, people are really anxious to get back to work.”

The Senate allows virtual committee hearings but not a full session. The Senate has published a 2021 session schedule, but the House has not.

Asked whether any of the House’s seeming inaction has to do with beleaguered House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), Williams answered that it’s time for leadership.

Williams is one of at least nineteen House members vowing not to vote for Madigan to have another term as speaker.

Dave Dahl can be reached at 


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