Illinois General Assembly meets in special session. The May 2020 special session, which partially replaced the abbreviated spring 2020 session, was held in Springfield under conditions of coronavirus social distancing. Instead of meeting in its traditional State Capitol chambers, the Illinois House of Representatives convened at the Bank of Springfield Center, a convention center on in downtown Springfield. The convention hall, a spacious location, allocated square footage for all House members. Support personnel set up separated desks and voting pads for their use. In addition, all of the House members were required to wear facemasks and were strongly advised to undergo COVID-19 testing before the start of the session. In addition, House members were be advised to self-quarantine for up 7 days after the end of the session. The Illinois House met in Springfield starting on Wednesday, May 20, through Saturday, May 23.
Two of the men who tried to steal Abraham Lincoln's body,
Jack Hughes (left) and Terrence Mullins (right). Photos from the
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.
It was early on the sad morning of May 3, 1865, when a nine-car train, draped in mourning and carrying the bodies of the murdered President Abraham Lincoln and that of his son Willie who had died in Washington three years earlier, at long last reached Lincoln’s adopted hometown of Springfield. The train had carried the body of the Great Emancipator on a two-week, 1600 mile journey through the north, finally arriving in Springfield for his burial.

After a two-day funeral in the state’s capitol building, Lincoln was carried by a hearse to Oak Ridge Cemetery, north of downtown, to what was intended to be his final resting place. A temporary vault held the President’s remains while his more ornate tomb was completed. It was expected that this was where Lincoln would lay in repose permanently, but within a decade a band of Chicago thieves had made other plans.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 
Six weeks after the surrender at Appomattox, the Union soldiers who had triumphed in the Civil War participated in a two-day victory parade through the nation’s capital city. This Grand Review of the Armies lasted for two days and was attended by top northern leaders, from the President on down. It included soldiers from the eastern army on its first day and the western army on its second, May 24, 1865. Included among both groups, but more so the second, were thousands of soldiers from Illinois who had worn the blue uniform and done their part to save the republic.
Today the Illinois House of Representatives convened at the Bank of Springfield Center in downtown Springfield to resume the 2020 spring legislative session that was paused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first meeting of the House since March 5, and its first meeting at a site other than the Capitol building at 2nd and Monroe (with the exception of the biennial inauguration ceremony at Sangamon Auditorium) in more than a decade. The fall veto session of 2006 and the opening of the 2007 spring session were held at the Old State Capitol in Springfield due to renovation work in the House chamber.

The House was forced out of the chamber it has called home since 1877 due to the coronavirus outbreak and the need for enough space to conduct business and still be accessible to the public, all while observing social distancing guidelines.

The day began with a press conference by House Republicans calling for a legislative vote on the Governor's Reopen Illinois plan. Members expressed their concern with the lack of local input in the Governor's initiative and lack of legislative involvement in major policy decisions affecting their constituents. Read more about the press conference.

Shortly after the historic session began at the Bank of Springfield Center, the administration withdrew its Emergency Rule that would have imposed a Class A Misdemeanor on owners of small businesses who were out of compliance with the Governor's Stay-at-Home Order. The controversial provision had evoked considerable public outcry and pushback by House Republicans who felt the Governor had overstepped his authority.

At his 2:30 press conference, the Governor announced that on May 29, the state would be moving into Phase 3 of his Restore Illinois plan allowing gatherings of 10 or fewer people, possible outdoor seating at restaurants, and the opening of gyms for personal training among other openings. Read more about Phase 3.

The House is due to take up the state budget in the coming days.

The Illinois General Assembly and the re-opening of the state. The Illinois House and Senate will reconvene in Springfield on Wednesday, May 20. The House will move its meeting location from the historic House chamber in the Illinois State Capitol to the 7,700-seat Bank of Springfield Center in downtown Springfield. Meeting in the convention hall will allow all 118 House members to gather while maintaining social distancing.  
While the seat of state government at 2nd and Monroe in Springfield has been closed to visitors since mid-March by the coronavirus outbreak, residents and visitors to the capital city still have the Capitol building and its distinctive dome as a familiar sight on Springfield’s cityscape.

It won’t be long before legislators and members of the public once again gather beneath the dome. They will be keeping alive a long tradition: for nearly 150 years, the dome of the Illinois State Capitol building has welcomed visitors and residents alike as they arrive in the capital city.
House Republicans propose safe economic recovery plan. The next phase of combating the global COVID-19 pandemic is to repair the economic devastation it has wrought in its wake. It is a monumental effort that will only be successful if Legislative and Executive branches work together. The Illinois General Assembly is a separate but co-equal branch of government. We strongly believe it is the responsibility of legislators to work with the Executive branch to implement a plan to re-open Illinois’ economy on a safe, responsible, and regional basis.
Tonight Illinois and the rest of the nation will be lit by a full moon, which some believe can be a harbinger of strange occurrences. In thousands of years of Illinois history, it is not hard to find a good-sized collection of unusual and unexplainable places and events. Some of these curious tales and unique places have been studied and explored, while many of those which remain unexplained are compiled in Troy Taylor’s 2005 book Weird Illinois.
State Reps. Dan Swanson and Dave Swanson describe how the legislature is taking on Lyme Disease, a tick borne disease affecting thousands of Illinoisans.

Modified stay-at-home order begins. The new order covers the month of May and will be in place until May 30. The new order put in place this week requires all individuals to wear a mask in any public place where a six-foot social distance cannot be maintained. Essential businesses and manufacturers are now required to provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain social distancing of six feet from other people.