General Assembly returns for lame duck session

Members of the Illinois House of Representatives returned to Springfield Friday with a schedule to work through the weekend.

The Illinois Senate remains on call to return at short notice. Any action of the current General Assembly needs to conclude by noon Jan. 13 when the 102nd General Assembly will seat members elected in November.

The largest issues on the agenda as of early Friday were several large bills addressing social justice and law enforcement reform. Speculation continues a spotlight could be put on the state’s continuing fiscal budget crisis, but nothing had surfaced by FarmWeek press time.

One of the largest questions facing the majority party is who will be Speaker of the House.

In November, Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, was renominated to serve as Senate president. Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, was nominated as leader of the Republican Senate caucus. In the House, Republicans renominated Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, minority leader. These leaders will be officially ratified Wednesday after the members take their oaths of office and are sworn in.

As for the speaker, 19 members of the House Democrat caucus have publicly stated they will not vote for Michael J. Madigan, leaving him without the 60 votes needed to be speaker. Three members of the House Democratic Caucus have officially expressed interest in becoming the next speaker. They are Reps. Ann Williams, D-Chicago; Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego; and Kathleen Willis, D-Addison. It is anticipated during the coming days the House Democratic Caucus will meet privately to determine who will be the speaker.