93rd District Representative Norine Hammond joined 95th District Representative Avery Bourne and the remainder of the Illinois House Republican Women’s caucus in a letter asking Governor J.B. Pritzker to call a special session of the General Assembly today. The letter asks the governor to exercise his constitutional right to call a special session under Article Four Section 5 to deal with special issues. The women’s caucus is asking for the governor to use the power in order to legislate what they call a safe and reasonable regional plan to reopen the state.
The women’s caucus has said the governor’s office has refused to answer questions regarding several major issues in government departments and IDPH coronavirus modeling. The letter accuses Pritzker of not reaching out to any of the women’s caucus to answer the questions or seek their input on any decisions.
The 8 women of the caucus have requested to meet jointly with the Governor to relay their ideas about their plans and to get answers to their questions.
Capitol News Illinois reports that the remainder of the House has begun taking steps to bring staff back to the State Capitol building yesterday. Draft versions of guidance by the Illinois Department of Public Health for the chambers’ operations have been made public. The guidance suggests attendance at future meetings be limited to state employees. Members of the public, including lobbyists and witnesses, can communicate electronically, with only legislators present for votes. State police should screen everyone entering for signs of a fever and regularly sanitize all commonly touched surfaces. The guidance also suggests lawmakers 65 and over should consider avoiding traveling to Springfield for the session.
Pritzker has regularly said during his daily COVID-19 press briefings that the General Assembly is considered essential and that the leaders of both chambers have the ability to reconvene the chambers to meet safely to decide on amending voting procedures.