SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois General Assembly’s spring session is winding down, but significant issues are unresolved.
There is only five full days left in legislative session and major bills still have not been brought to the floor.
On Tuesday, redistricting hearings resumed with Republicans furious about Democrats’ new state legislative boundary map. The new maps were unveiled on Friday night.
“The initial maps that were submitted were nothing less than a Kindergartener’s artwork,” House GOP Leader Jim Durkin said.
Democrats consolidated state House and Senate districts forcing some incumbent Republicans to face each in 2022.
Make no mistake these maps were drawn solely for the Democrats to main their political power in the state of Illinois,” Durkin said.
Republicans are likely to challenge the maps in court possibly arguing that the maps are based on U.S. Census population estimates rather than the actual head count; data that won’t be made available until fall. The state Congressional map is still a work in progress.
Also left unfinished is the state budget.
Negotiators are faced with a 1.3 billion gap and are exploring budget cuts and looking at Governor Pritzker’s proposal for new revenue. The governor wants to eliminate various corporate tax breaks. Republicans call it a take hike on corporations.
The House did pass legislation lawmakers that would make the state’s recreational cannabis program more equitable.
“It’s so critical because right now this industry is monopolized by a few wealthy people and it has actually locked out the very people that this actual drug locked up,” LaShawn Ford said.
Ford is moving a bill that would resolve the state’s licensing process and expand the industry. Under the plan, the state would have three lotteries with 75 licenses issued during the first one, 55 during the second and 55 during the third lottery. The measure is headed to the Senate.
The deadline for the lawmakers is Monday night and it looks like they plan to work through the holiday weekend.