Session resumes after pandemic pause

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.