One of the most significant pieces of legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly this week was a move to delay next year’s primary to June, but tucked inside of that bill was a provision to change the official elected title of members of Chicago’s City Council.
In the SB0825 bill, which passed both chambers of the General Assembly this week, a provision was included that will change all statutory references to “alderman” and “aldermen” to “alderperson” and “alderpersons.” All state laws that contain the word “congressman” will also be changed to read as “congressperson,” according to the legislation.
State Rep. Maurice West cosponsored the bill, and authored the provision along with State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, according to WTTW.
“We see a lot of ‘hes’ and ‘hims’ in state statute, and now we have not just women in office, but we have people who may not identify with any gender,” West said. “We want to make sure that our voting and our election cycle process is inclusive for everyone.”
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If signed, the bill would move the 2022 primary from the third Tuesday in March to June 28, 2022. Lawmakers said that the change was necessary because of delays in census data that will be used to draw new maps. That new data will not be released until August, according to officials.
State Republicans blasted the move, saying that it was designed behind “closed doors” to aid Democrats in drawing a more favorable legislative map.
“They did it behind closed doors. This is how power and control are maintained in Springfield,” Illinois House Republican Leader Rep. Jim Durkin said.