Illinois legislature to hold 1st special session since coronavirus pandemic began

Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — For the first time during the coronavirus crisis, the Illinois legislature plans to hold a three-day special session beginning May 20.

To maintain social distancing, the Senate will meet at the Capitol, while the House will meet at the Bank of Springfield center.

Other precautions include lawmakers getting tested for COVID-19, regular temperature checks and mandatory face coverings while in session. Legislators are also being asked to refrain from sharing meals or drinks.

Members are being asked to adhere to strict public health guidelines including:

  • Signing a safety pledge
  • Individual travel and lodging
  • Members and staff be tested
  • Members at a higher risk for COVID-19 asked not to travel
  • No spouses or children
  • Limited number of lawmakers, members of the public

The lawmakers are meeting in order to pass a budget, and will likely debate financial help for Illinois businesses and the unemployed. 

“Time and time again the Illinois Senate has shown its members can work together to solve problems and produce results for the people of this great state,” said State Sen. President Don Harmon (D).  “That cooperative spirit of bipartisan achievement is needed now more than ever.”

The announcement of this special session comes as Gov. JB Pritzker faces growing complaints about his “Restore Illinois” plan from lawmakers, mayors and businesses.

“It is vital the legislature be part of the decision-making process when it comes to maintaining the public’ health, reopening our state, moving our economy forward and overcoming a graduated income tax that would negatively impact Illinois families,” said Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady.

A state representative from the Rockford area has filed a petition for a temporary restraining order to stop Gov. JB Pritzker’s reopening plan.

Closer to Chicago, a coalition of mayors in McHenry County want out of the Northeast Region under Gov. JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan.

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