Pritzker, legislative Democrats announce budget agreement

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and Democratic leaders of the General Assembly announced Thursday they had reached agreement on a $45.6 billion budget package that would include $1.8 billion of mostly-temporary tax relief. Senate President Don Harmon, of Oak Park, and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, of Hillside, said they expect a vote on the […]

After the Madigan charges, Democrats lack an appetite for new ethics reform this spring

SPRINGFIELD — The day a 22-count federal corruption indictment came down against former Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, those controlling Illinois’ state government quickly reacted to the horrors of the racketeering and bribery allegations. Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker called the charges “deplorable and a stark violation of the public’s trust” and touted how state ethics […]

In a now-disavowed memo, Democrats were urged to criticize the feds’ Madigan case

CHICAGO — Publicly and privately on Thursday, top Illinois Democrats grappled with how to put a positive, election-year spin on federal prosecutors’ newly unsealed corruption case against their longtime leader, the former state House Speaker and party boss Michael Madigan. Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker even appeared to celebrate the federal case, saying he thought Madigan’s […]

House leaders preach civility as 3 Republicans removed again for not wearing masks

SPRINGFIELD – In the first half-hour of House session Tuesday at the Capitol, the leaders of each party made calls for civility, two lawmakers recounted their recollections of a House floor altercation, and three Republicans were removed from the floor for not wearing masks.   Both House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, and Minority Leader Jim […]

GOP state lawmaker sues over state Capitol mask requirements

SPRINGFIELD — A Republican state lawmaker has sued the Illinois house speaker over face mask requirements at the state Capitol. State Rep. Blaine Wilhour of Beecher City filed a lawsuit in Bond County after he and eight other Republican legislators were barred from the House floor for refusing to wear masks. The state has been […]

Lawmakers, governor returning to Capitol next week

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers will return to the Statehouse next week for their first in-person sessions since Jan. 4. House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, said Thursday that the recent decline in COVID-19 cases makes returning to the Capitol possible. “Our goal is to be productive while also keeping everyone safe, so masking and social […]

Welch reflects on first year as House speaker

SPRINGFIELD – One year after being named speaker of the Illinois House, Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch says he is proud of the accomplishments he and his colleagues achieved and he looks forward to building on that record. “I actually thought 2021 was one heck of a year,” the Hillside Democrat said during a recent interview. […]

Lawmakers prepare for shortened 2022 session

SPRINGFIELD – The 2022 session of the Illinois General Assembly will be even shorter than originally planned due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Democratic leaders announced. The session was originally scheduled to start this week with three meeting days – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. But leaders announced last week that they will meet […]

Democratic Leaders Seek To Dismiss Redistricting Lawsuits

SPRINGFIELD – Lawyers for Illinois’ Democratic legislative leaders last week filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit from Republicans and a Mexican American advocacy group regarding newly drawn legislative maps, calling the challenge “purely speculative” until full U.S. Census data is released. The motion, filed Friday, was an expected move following a Wednesday, July 14, […]

College Athletes Can Be Paid For Name And Likeness In Illinois Starting Thursday

SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers, collegiate athletes and athletic directors from some of the state’s most prominent universities on Tuesday hailed the governor’s signing of a bill allowing college athletes to be paid for the use of their name and likeness as innovative and equity-centric. University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman called Gov. JB Pritzker’s signing […]

Illinois Leaders Praise Guilty Verdict Against Derek Chauvin

URBANA – Most leaders from the Democratic and Republican parties in Illinois are saying publicly that they support the guilty verdict against a former Minneapolis officer. Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, the explosive case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism […]

Welch Becomes Illinois’ First Black Speaker Of The House

SPRINGFIELD — Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, will be the next speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives after days of closed-door meetings with fellow Democrats.  Michael Madigan, who has been speaker for all but two years since 1983, issued a statement congratulating Welch as “speaker-elect” minutes before lawmakers were set to make the vote […]

Dem Chairman Delays Further Hearings in Madigan Probe Until After Election

SPRINGFIELD — The chairman of the Special Investigating Committee probing Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s alleged role in a bribery scheme said Tuesday that he will delay any further meetings of that panel until after the Nov. 3 general election. “The committee will meet again in person on Nov. 5 in Springfield – without the […]