The Illinois House will convene in Springfield for three days next week to take up a spring-session workload long delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
A letter from Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan to the House minority leader on Wednesday sets the session for May 20-22 with extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the highly contagious and potentially lethal coronavirus. They include pre-session testing of all legislators for COVID-19.
Eschewing the traditional Capitol setting, lawmakers will watch the gavel drop six blocks away at the Bank of Springfield Center in downtown Springfield, presumably to take advantage of the spacious convention center floor for social distancing.
“We are all looking forward to a return to some semblance of normalcy ... but we must also recognize that these are not normal times,” Madigan wrote in his letter to Rep. Jim Durkin, a Western Springs Repjblican. “A pandemic is not swayed by our speeches, by our desire for normalcy, or by political expediency. But as we all acknowledge, social distancing and medically guided precautions have saved lives.”
It’s not clear that the Senate will convene simultaneously, but Madigan indicates in his letter that he has consulted President Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, about his plans.