* After the remote legislating bill went down in the House, the Senate unanimously passed a new rule…
The President, in consultation with the Minority Leader, may establish a process by which Senators and members of the public may participate remotely in hearings for standing committees, special committees, subcommittees or special subcommittees, and service committees. […]
In times of pestilence or public danger, the Senate may adopt a motion to allow a member to remotely participate and vote in the regular and special sessions of the Senate, provided that at all times a quorum of members is physically present at the location of session.
If a bill clears the Senate with the bare minimum majority and one of those votes is a remote vote, you gotta wonder if someone will sue.
Thoughts on this?
By the way, the new rule also created a new Pensions committee, which doesn’t yet have any members. It also changed the Government Accountability and Pensions Committee’s name to the Government Accountability and Ethics Committee.
*** UPDATE *** Rep. Ann Williams…
Hi Rich, hope you are well and survived an interesting end of session. Wow. I agree it was not ideal and difficult to really get the work we need done. However, I am introducing a standalone remote meeting bill using the same or similar language that went down in the house. I certainly hope we never get to the point we have to use it, and it’s far from an ideal way to legislate, but I think the current crisis has taught us we need to be prepared for the unexpected and the unthinkable. If the pandemic were to get worse or a second wave were to hit to a degree we simply could not meet safely in person, we need to be prepared. By not doing so, we risk our ability to serve our communities in times of extreme crisis.
* Sen. Rob Martwick…
The past four days of special session were an incredible success. The GA came together, worked in the most collaborative and bi-partisan manner, passed legislation that is crucial to the response to and recovery from the pandemic, and provided for the continuity of essential government services. As wonderful as it was, there was one epic failure: remote operation of the General Assembly. I have underlying health conditions. If I contract Covid-19, I am at high risk of serious complications and death. So, I followed the IDPH guidelines and stayed home. When President Harmon told me the Chicago Casino bill was at risk of failing, I drove down to Springfield to do my part to ensure the bill’s passage. The revenue from the Chicago casino is crucial to stabilizing Chicago’s finances, securing pensions for our police and firefighters, and protecting our homeowners from huge property tax increases. Honestly, I was terrified, but I had to go. No one should be required to risk their lives to participate in democracy. However, put my personal case aside and consider what this means: While this “special session” was a huge success, there was NO regular session. There are thousands of bills and initiatives that did not get their due process. People in Chicago have been waiting a dozen years for an Elected Representative School Board, yet that, like so many thousands of other important measures, was not deemed “essential” legislation. We did not do the work of the people, and until there is a vaccine or effective treatment, we probably will not. Every legislative body in this state and in many other states have recognized that they must get back to work and have adopted virtual operations to allow them to do so. The technology supports it and it is working well. I am grateful for the leadership of President Harmon and Leader Brady in adopting rules that will allow the Senate to convene committees, take testimony, and vote to advance legislation. This is good for me, but we need to do more to ensure that there is seamless operation for every member of the GA to advance the interests of their constituents and I am committed to working with Ann Williams and my former colleagues in the House to ensure they, like the Senate, join this movement so that they can get back to work too.
* But check this out from the NRCC…
Fake Nurse Lauren Underwood recently voted along partisan lines to allow Members of Congress to collect their taxpayer-funded paychecks by sitting at home and phoning in their vote to the US Capitol instead.
Quite a few of Nancy Pelosi’s minions are already taking advantage of their proxy voting scheme.
So while nurses are on the frontlines risking their lives to treat COVID-19 patients, Fake Nurse Lauren and her Democratic colleagues can’t even show up to work.
Regional Press Secretary