The Illinois House spent $187,000 to rent out Springfield’s downtown convention center last week due to fears about conducting business at the Capitol during the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents disclosed to The Associated Press.
Lawmakers in the House have now spent a total of about $330,000 in taxpayer money to rent the center for less than two weeks during the pandemic because officials decided the House chamber does not allow sufficient distance between legislators to avoid transmission of the virus.
The House jammed months of work into last week at the convention center and anticipates 56 more days of legislative action between Feb. 2 and May 31. Considering it’ll likely be months before most people receive a COVID-19 vaccine, continuing the arrangement with the Bank of Springfield Center would be costly. […]
Like last week, the May session saw the House, with 118 elected officials and dozens of support employees, operated from the BoS Center. Facility rental is $5,000 a day, the standard rate, but with catered meals, security, audio-visual equipment and other incidentals, the four-day contract ran to $144,000, according to invoices disclosed under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. Add to that the $187,000 rung up for this month’s stretch, and it amounts to a daily rate of $30,000.
Click here for the invoice for last May’s special session.