Last updated on February 13, 2021
Illinois lawmakers are getting back to work this week. A good government group wants the public to have a seat, even if it’s virtual.
The Illinois House will meet in person Wednesday to pass House Rules. It’s expected that will include allowing for remote committees. Reform For Illinois Executive Director Alisa Kaplan said that’s a good first step for the House.
“It’s not ideal, it’s not perfect, but it’s definitely better than the alternative which as we’ve seen is for the legislature to essentially not meet despite all the problems that we have now to solve,” Kaplan told WMAY.
Kaplan said even with virtual hearings allowed in the Senate, the public still needs to be actively part of the conversation, not just a passive audience. She said at in-person hearings, it was simple for the public to offer testimony.
“But you can’t participate remotely as of yet,” Kaplan said. “So we’d like to see that held over so that people who don’t necessarily have the time to go down to Springfield and to participate will have the opportunity to.”
Another rule change in the House should address the years of rules former state Rep. Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, crafted in his decades as House speaker, Kaplan said.
“Stuff just goes into committee and cannot get out without his approval, so we’re really hoping that Speaker [Chris] Welch will take a look at these rules and try to figure out a way that individual legislators have a better chance of getting their legislation to actually see the light of day,” she said.
It’s expected the Legislature through the rest of the month and parts of spring session will hold virtual hearings on measures before returning for final action in either chamber.
This article was originally posted on House rules should allow public to testify remotely, members’ bills to get hearings