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{{Illinois budget process}}
{{Illinois budget process}}
===Cost-benefit analyses===
::''See also: [[Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study]]''
{{Pew cost-benefit study|State=Illinois|Rank=Middle}}
==Ethics and transparency==
==Ethics and transparency==

Revision as of 08:58, 6 June 2014

Illinois General Assembly

Seal of Illinois.png
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 29, 2014
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Senate President:   John Cullerton (D)
House Speaker:  Michael Madigan (D)
Majority Leader:   James Clayborne (D) (Senate),
Barbara Flynn Currie (D) (House)
Minority Leader:   Christine Radogno (R) (Senate),
Jim Durkin (R) (House)
Members:  59 (Senate), 118 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 2 years (House)
Authority:   Art IV, Illinois Constitution
Salary:   $67,836/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012
59 seats (Senate)
118 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Illinois General Assembly has control
The Illinois General Assembly is the state legislature of Illinois, created by the first Illinois Constitution adopted in 1818. It works beside the executive branch led by the state governor and the judicial branch led by the Illinois Supreme Court. The Illinois General Assembly consists of the Illinois House of Representatives, the lower chamber, and the Illinois State Senate, the upper chamber.

The Illinois General Assembly convenes at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Its first official working day is the second Wednesday in January each year. Its primary duties are to pass bills into law, approve the state budget, confirm appointments to state departments and agencies, act on federal constitutional amendments, and propose constitutional amendments for Illinois. It also has the power to override gubernatorial vetoes through a three-fifths majority vote in each chamber.

Illinois Ballot Question 1 in 1980 altered Section 1 of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution to reduce the number of members of the Illinois House of Representatives from 177 members to 118 members beginning with the elections in 1982.

As of April 2015, Illinois is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas.

See also: Illinois House of Representatives, Illinois State Senate, Illinois Governor


Article IV of the Illinois Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to be in session. Section 5 of Article IV states that the General Assembly will convene its regular session on the second Wednesday of January.

Section 5 also creates rules for the convening of special sessions. The section allows the Governor of Illinois to convene the General Assembly or the Senate alone. When the Governor calls a special session, the General Assembly can generally only deal with matters related to the purpose of the session, as stated by the Governor's proclamation of the session, but they can also deal with impeachments or confirmation of appointments. Section 5 also allows the presiding officers of both houses of the General Assembly to convene a special session through joint proclamation.


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 29 through June 2.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included the pending expiration of a temporary income tax, corporate tax incentives, Chicago pension reform and capital construction.[1]


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 9 to May 31.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included regulation of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, concealed carry, same-sex marriage, and pension reform.[2][3][4][5]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 11, meeting throughout the year.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 12-June 1. A special session was called by Governor Pat Quinn to settle disputes regarding Illinois construction projects on June 22, 2011.[6]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the General Assembly was in regular session from January 13th to May 7th.

Role in state budget

See also: Illinois state budget

Illinois operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[7][8]

  1. In September of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year, the governor sends budget instructions to state agencies.
  2. In October and November, agencies submit their budget requests to the governor.
  3. Agency hearings are held in November and December.
  4. Budget hearings with the public are held from February through May.
  5. On the third Wednesday in February, the governor submits his or her proposed budget to the Illinois State Legislature.
  6. The State Legislature passes a budget in May.

Illinois is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[8]

The governor is constitutionally required to submit a balanced budget. In turn, the legislature must pass a balanced budget, and the budget must be balanced in order for the governor to sign it into law.[8]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Illinois was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.[9]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[10] According to the report, Illinois received a grade of B+ and a numerical score of 88, indicating that Illinois was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[10]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Illinois was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[11]



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Illinois House of Representatives are paid $67,836/year. Additionally, legislators receive $111/day per diem.[12]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Illinois legislators assume office the second Wednesday in January.


See also: Redistricting in Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly is responsible for redistricting. If the General Assembly fails to meet the deadlines to have a redistricting plan in place, an 8-member back-up commission is used. Illinois is one of a few states to enact a hybrid method of redistricting.

2010 census

Illinois received its 2010 local census data on February 14, 2011. The state population increased from about 12.4 million to 12.8 million residents, a 3.3 percent growth.[13] The state's Latino population grew by 33% from 2000 to 2010, reaching 2 million. Meanwhile, non-Latino population declined by 0.8%.[14]

2011 was the first time under the current state Constitution that one party -- namely the Democrats -- controlled the state House, Senate and governorship during redistricting. A number of Republicans expressed concern that Democrats would draw partisan maps to serve their own interests.[15] Democrats released their proposed Senate map on May 19, 2011, and their House plan the following day. Democrats defended the new maps while being criticized from nearly all sides. Republicans said the maps would likely guarantee a Republican minority for the next decade. The new lines merged a number of current Republican districts, potentially leading to runoffs between incumbents in several districts.[16]

Republicans released counter-proposals on May 26, saying their maps were more fair. Democrats, however, easily passed their plans in both chambers, 35-22 in the Senate, and 64-52 in the House. Governor Pat Quinn (D) signed the new maps into law on June 3.[17]


The Illinois State Senate is the upper chamber of the Illinois General Assembly. It is made up of 59 senators elected from individual legislative districts determined by population. Each member represents an average of 217,468 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[18] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 210,496.[19] There is a movement to modify senatorial districts on a geographic basis in order to more accurately reflect the cultural, racial and political makeup of outstate and downstate. In order to avoid complete turnovers in Senate membership, under the Illinois Constitution of 1970, some senators are elected to two-year terms while others are elected to four-year terms. Senate districts are divided into three groups. One or two of these groups are elected every two years for either a two or four year term. The placement of the two-year term in the decade varies from one district to another, with all districts’ terms defined as 2-4-4, 4-2-4, or 4-4-2.

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 39
     Republican Party 20
Total 59

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Illinois State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Illinois State Senate.PNG

House of Representatives

The Illinois House of Representatives is the lower house of the Illinois General Assembly. It is made of 118 representatives elected from individual legislative districts for a two-year term with no term limits. Each member represents an average of 108,734 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[20] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 105,248.[21]

Before the Cutback Amendment to the state constitution in 1980, the state was divided into 59 "legislative districts," each of which elected three representatives, yielding a House of 177 members. This unusual system was even more distinctive in that the individual voter was given three legislative votes to cast, and could cast either one vote each for three candidates, all three votes for one candidate (known as a "bullet vote"), or even 1 1/2 votes each for two candidates. After the passage of the Cutback Amendment, this system was abolished and representatives were elected from 118 single member constituencies.

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 71
     Republican Party 47
Total 118

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Illinois State House of Representatives from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Illinois State House.PNG


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Illinois
Partisan breakdown of the Illinois legislature from 1992-2013

Illinois State Senate: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Illinois State Senate for 12 years while the Republicans were the majority for 10 years. The final 11 years of the study depicted a shift in the Illinois senate with all 11 years being Democratic trifectas.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Illinois State House of Representatives: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Illinois State House of Representatives for 20 years while the Republicans were the majority for 2 years. The Illinois State House of Representatives is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. During the final 11 years of the study, Illinois was under Democratic trifectas.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Illinois, the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Illinois state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

Illinois was one of eight states to demonstrate a dramatic partisan shift in the 22 years studied. A dramatic shift was defined by a movement of 40 percent or more toward one party over the course of the study period.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Illinois state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. For a period of two years (1995 and 1996), Illinois had a Republican trifecta between two periods of divided government (1992-1995 and 1997-2002). Between 2003 and 2013, Illinois has had a Democratic trifecta. For four straight years, Illinois was in the top-10 in the SQLI ranking between 1997 and 2000 under divided government. Illinois slipped into the bottom-10 in the ranking in the year 2012 (41st) under a Democratic trifecta. The state had its most precipitous drop in the SQLI ranking between 2006 and 2007, dropping nine spots. Illinois had its biggest leap in the SQLI ranking between 1996 and 1997, rising eight spots in the ranking.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 27.10
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 11.50
  • SQLI average with divided government: 11.78
Chart displaying the partisanship of Illinois government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Roles and responsibilities

Amending the constitution

Main article: Amending state constitutions

The Illinois state legislature under Article XIV of the Illinois Constitution can begin the process of amending the state's constitution in two different ways:

  • A constitutional convention can be held if 60% of the members of both houses of the Illinois General Assembly vote to place such a question on the ballot.
  • An legislatively-referred constitutional amendment can be proposed if 60% of the members of both houses of the Illinois General Assembly vote to put in on the ballot, with some constraints which include:
  • The legislature can only propose to amend up to three articles of the constitution in any one election.
  • The legislature is not allowed to propose any amendments when a constitutional convention has been called up through the time that an election is held on any proposed amendments or revisions that arise from that convention.

Whether the question at hand is about holding a constitutional convention, ratifying an amendment proposed by the Illinois General Assembly, or adopting an initiated constitutional amendment, these ballot questions are only considered successful if voters say "yes" by a supermajority vote of 60% of those voting on the question or a majority of those who cast a ballot for any office in that election.

Joint Legislative Committees

The Illinois General Assembly has three joint standing committees.

External links


  1., "Illinois lawmakers focus on budget issues with election-year legislative session set to begin," January 19, 2014
  2. Chicago Sun-Times, "Lame-duck session ends with no pension reform," January 8, 2013
  4. [, " Illinois passes bill to allow concealed firearms; last U.S. state to have such a ban," June 1, 2013]
  5., "Will Ill. Legalize Gay Marriage Before Legislature Adjourns?," May 30, 2013
  6., General Assembly to hold special session next week, June 15, 2011
  7. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," accessed April 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  9. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  11. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  12., "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  13. The Daily Journal, "Census: Cook County losses slow Illinois population growth ," February 15, 2011
  14., "Latinos Fuel Illinois Population Growth," February 17, 2011
  15. Illinois Statehouse News, "Minorities could have more influence in new political map," March 7, 2011
  16. Lake County News-Sun, "State House Democrats reveal new legislative map," May 21, 2011
  17. My FOX Chicago, "Gov. Pat Quinn Signs Off on New Illinois Legislative Maps," June 3, 2011
  18., "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  19. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
  20., "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  21. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001