Illinois State Senate

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Illinois State Senate

Seal of Illinois.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 9, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   John Cullerton, (D)
Majority Leader:   James Clayborne, (D)
Minority Leader:   Christine Radogno, (R)
Members:  59
   Democratic Party (39)
Republican Party (20)
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art IV, Illinois Constitution
Salary:   $67,836/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (59 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Illinois General Assembly
Meeting place:
Illinois State Senate Chamber.jpg
The Illlinois State Senate is the upper house of the Illinois General Assembly, the legislative branch of the government of the state of Illinois. The body was created by the first state constitution adopted in 1818. The Illinois Senate is made up of 59 senators elected from individual legislative districts determined by population. Under the Illinois Constitution of 1970, senators are divided into three groups, each group having a two-year term at a different part of the decade between censuses, with the rest of the decade being taken up by two four-year terms.[1] Depending on the election year, roughly ⅓, ⅔, or all of the senate seats may have terms ending. In contrast, the Illinois House of Representatives is made of 118 members with its entire membership elected to two-year terms. House districts are formed by dividing each Senate district in half. The Senate meets at the State Capitol in Springfield Each member represents an average of 217,468 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[2] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 210,496 residents.[3]

As of May 2013, Illinois is one of 12 Democratic state government trifectas.


Article IV of the Illinois Constitution establishes when the Illinois General Assembly, of which the Senate is a part, 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 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 9 through May 31.

Major issues

Legislators failed to move on the state's $95 billion pension crisis during the previous legislature and must address it once again. Same-sex marriage is also expected to be a major issue.[4]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 11, meeting throughout the year.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 12-June 1. A special session has been called by Governor Pat Quinn to settle disputes regarding Illinois construction projects. The session is slated to begin June 22, 2011.[5]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

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



See also: Illinois State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Illinois' state senators were held in Illinois on November 6, 2012. The primary date was March 20, 2012.

The filing period was from November 28, 2011 through December 5, 2011. Petitions could be circulated starting on September 6, 2011.[6]

All 59 seats were up for election, as the election is the first following redistricting.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Illinois State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Illinois State Senator were held in Illinois on November 2, 2010. Seats in every third district (1, 4, 7...) and also district 51 are up for election in 2010, for a total of 21 of 59 districts.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was November 2, 2009, and the primary election day was February 2, 2010.

In 2010, the total amount of contributions raised in state senate campaigns was $19,051,437. The top 10 donors were: [7]


Article IV of the Illinois Constitution states: To be eligible to serve as a member of the General Assembly, a person must be a United States citizen, at least 21 years old, and for the two years preceding his election or appointment a resident of the district which he is to represent.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

Whenever there is a vacancy in the Illinois State Senate, the Illinois Constitution mandates that the seat must be filled by appointment when allowed by law. The appointment must be made within 30 days after the vacancy. If a vacancy by a member of the Illinois Senate has more than twenty-eight months remaining in the term, the appointment is interim until the next general election and in this case, a special election must be held to fill the balance of the unserved term. All other Senate vacancies and vacancies in the House of Representatives should be made by appointment with the person appointed being a member of the same political party that last held the seat[8].

The vacancy must be filled by the respective party organizations covering the legislative district[9]. This must be voted on by the respective committeemen and committeewomen representing the legislative district[10]


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.[11] The state's Latino population grew by 33% from 2000 to 2010, reaching 2 million. Meanwhile, non-Latino population declined by 0.8%.[12]

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.[13]

Democrats released proposed maps of the 59 Senate districts on May 19.[14] 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. Republicans released their counter-proposal on May 26, saying their map was fairer than the Democrats.[15] The Senate passed the Democrats plan by a vote of 35-22.[16] Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill on June 3,[17] [18] but GOP leaders filed a federal lawsuit on July 21 alleging the legislative maps unfairly targeted Republicans and discriminated against African-Americans and Hispanics. It was ultimately dismissed.[19]



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.[20]

When sworn in

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

Illinois legislators assume office the second Wednesday in January.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of May 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


Current leadership

Current Leadership, Illinois State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate John Cullerton Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Terry Link Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Antonio Munoz Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader John Sullivan Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Donne Trotter Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Caucus Leader majority Caucus Chair Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate President Pro Tempore Don Harmon Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Whip William Haine Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Whip Mattie Hunter Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Whip Iris Martinez Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno Ends.png Republican
State Senate Deputy Minority Leader Matt Murphy Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Bill Brady Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Kirk Dillard Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader David Luechtefeld Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Dave Syverson Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Caucus Chair Pamela Althoff Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Caucus Whip Tim Bivins Ends.png Republican

Current members

Current members, Illinois State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Antonio Munoz Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
2 William Delgado Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
3 Mattie Hunter Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
4 Kimberly Lightford Electiondot.png Democratic 1998
5 Patricia Van Pelt Watkins Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
6 John Cullerton Electiondot.png Democratic 1991
7 Heather Steans Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
8 Ira Silverstein Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
9 Daniel Biss Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
10 John G. Mulroe Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
11 Martin Sandoval Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
12 Steve Landek Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
13 Kwame Raoul Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
14 Emil Jones Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
15 Napoleon Harris Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
16 Jacqueline Collins Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
17 Donne Trotter Electiondot.png Democratic 1993
18 Bill Cunningham Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
19 Michael Hastings Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
20 Iris Martinez Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
21 Michael Connelly Ends.png Republican 2013
22 Michael Noland Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
23 Thomas E. Cullerton Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
24 Kirk Dillard Ends.png Republican 1993
25 Jim Oberweis Ends.png Republican 2013
26 Dan Duffy Ends.png Republican 2009
27 Matt Murphy Ends.png Republican 2007
28 Daniel Kotowski Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
29 Julie Morrison Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
30 Terry Link Electiondot.png Democratic 1997
31 Melinda Bush Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
32 Pamela Althoff Ends.png Republican 2003
33 Karen McConnaughay Ends.png Republican 2013
34 Steve Stadelman Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
35 Dave Syverson Ends.png Republican 1993
36 Mike Jacobs Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
37 Darin LaHood Ends.png Republican 2011
38 Sue Rezin Ends.png Republican 2010
39 Don Harmon Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
40 Toi Hutchinson Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
41 Christine Radogno Ends.png Republican 1997
42 Linda Holmes Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
43 Pat McGuire Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
44 Bill Brady Ends.png Republican 2002
45 Tim Bivins Ends.png Republican 2009
46 David Koehler Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
47 John Sullivan Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
48 Andy Manar Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
49 Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
50 William "Sam" McCann Ends.png Republican 2011
51 Chapin Rose Ends.png Republican 2013
52 Mike Frerichs Electiondot.png Democratic 2006
53 Jason Barickman Ends.png Republican 2013
54 Kyle McCarter Ends.png Republican 2009
55 Dale Righter Ends.png Republican 2003
56 William Haine Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
57 James Clayborne Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
58 David Luechtefeld Ends.png Republican 1995
59 Gary Forby Electiondot.png Democratic 2003

Standing Senate Committees

The Illinois Senate has 24 standing committees:[21]


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

In May 2013 Ballotpedia conducted a study of the partisan control of state government from 1992-2013. During those years, 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 544 Democratic and 517 Republican State Senates from 1992-2013.

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 have 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

External links


  1. Article IV of the Illinois Constitution (Section 2a describes term length for senators)
  2. Population in 2010 of the American states
  3. Population in 2000 of the American states
  4. Chicago Sun-Times, "Lame-duck session ends with no pension reform," January 8, 2013
  5., General Assembly to hold special session next week, June 15, 2011
  6. Confirmed via email with Illinois Board of Elections, February 28, 2011
  7. Follow the Money: "Illinois Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions
  8. Illinois General Assembly "Illinois Constitution"(Referenced Section Article IV, Section 2(d))
  9. Illinois General Assembly "Illinois Election Code"(Referenced Statute 10 ILCS 5/25 6 (a), (c))
  10. Illinois General Assembly "Illinois Election Code"(Referenced Statute 10 ILCS 5/25 6 (d))
  11. The Daily Journal "Census: Cook County losses slow Illinois population growth ," February 15, 2011
  12., "Latinos Fuel Illinois Population Growth," February 17, 2011
  13. Illinois Statehouse News, "Minorities could have more influence in new political map," March 7, 2011
  14. IL Senate Redistricting Committee, "Senate Redistricting Proposal," May 19, 2011
  15. Quad-City Times, "Republicans unveil their own redistricting plan," May 26, 2011
  16. Chicago Tribune, "Senate Dems send new legislative map to governor," May 27, 2011
  17. The News-Gazette, "Map awaits Quinn's signature, may face Republican court challenge," May 29, 2011
  18. My FOX Chicago, "Gov. Pat Quinn Signs Off on New Illinois Legislative Maps," June 3, 2011
  19. Chicago Tribune, "Assembly GOP leaders sue over Democrats' redistricting map," July 21, 2011
  20., "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  21. Illinois General Assembly, "Senate Committees 97th General Assembly," accessed March 21, 2011

Note: Parts of this article were taken from this article on Wikipedia under its GNU license.