The Illinois General Assembly will be full of business when it meets in the lame duck session this week. It marks the first time in 200 days lawmakers will be back at the capitol. The Senate is expected to meet at the Capitol, while the House of Representatives will meet at the Bank of Springfield Center. House Speaker Michael Madigan has denied access to the center for journalists who wish to cover the session.
100th District Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer says all of the bills in the session are Democrat-sponsored pieces of legislation: “The legislative session, I believe, we were called back so that Speaker Madigan could sure up his votes and his support for him to remain speaker, which is why I think he is pushing some of the crazy legislation that we are seeing come up. I believe that 140-some bills were released from the Rules Committee. All of them Democrat bills. None of them Republican bills. It’s just [business] as usual. Unfortunately, it’s just the Madigan show right now.”
Davidsmeyer says that he did not see any possible tax hikes in the list of 140 bills that have been passed out of committee for action. He says though that Madigan certainly has taxes on his mind: “We have not seen anything dealing with the tax hike. Of course that was one of [Madigan’s] promises when he spoke with the Black Caucus to gain their support. He said he will push through a tax hike and he will push through their agenda. I am seeing a lot of fissures from that side, and they don’t seem to be as together as they normally are, which I think is a good thing for the State of Illinois, but you never know what’s going to come up.”
Davidsmeyer largely believes that the session will be about Madigan coalescing his power among the Democratic caucus despite lacking majority support. Representatives Stefanie Kifowit and Ann Williams are among the top democrats who may have a shot at unseating Madigan in the Speaker’s chair. Davidsmeyer says that Republicans are standing behind their leader in the lower chamber: “Right now, [House Republicans] are all still supporting [House Minority] Leader Jim Durkin. There’s always an opportunity if the Democrats really want a change – there’s an opportunity for them to step across. As of right now, I think there is maybe 19 individuals who have said they will not be supporting Speaker Madigan. None of them have even that number of votes. So, right now, Leader Durkin seems to be the one with the most guaranteed votes and we are going to stick behind him right now.”
Davidsmeyer says that he and his Republican colleagues are going to stay vigilant to ensure that legislation that he characterized as “bad” doesn’t get rammed through the General Assembly. Davidsmeyer said it is business as usual when Democrats want to get things done. He says they speed it through both chambers to become law.