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Welch appoints committee chairs, talks about future

Thursday, Jan 28, 2021

* I told subscribers about the new chairs early this morning, along with an interview of the new House Speaker…

Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch today announced the committees and chairperson or the 102nd General Assembly, including six new committees to work on pressing priorities facing Illinois residents during this time of crises.

“Illinois is facing a number of major challenges at once,” said Speaker Welch. “From the ensuring a robust economic recovery to undoing systemic racism, delivering on gender equity and women’s issues, and getting our fiscal house in order; we need committee leadership who know how to facilitate collaboration, bring forward bold ideas, get bills through committee, onto the House floor, and to the Governor’s desk for signature. I am confident this group of committee chairpersons will deliver for Illinois residents.”

By creating new special committees focused on ethics, housing, immigration, and restorative justice, Speaker Welch has organized the House to deliver the priorities front and center underserved communities across Illinois. These chairs are experienced leaders who know the intricacies of lawmaking and will work in consultation with Senate counterparts and the Governor’s office to make sure Illinois comes back as a stronger, more equitable state.

As a next step in this process, members will have the opportunity to indicate which committees they wish to be assigned to.

Additionally, after consultation with all member of both political parties, Speaker Welch determined to cancel the February 2-4, 9, 11, and 16-18 sessions of the House. Representatives will return to Springfield on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, for a one-day session to adopt House Rules for the 102nd General Assembly that will authorize of remote work and legislating for committees.

The February 10 session will be at the State Capitol, rather than the Bank of Springfield (BOS) Center. A system of rotating members between the chamber and their offices will be implemented to maintain social distancing. The BOS Center will be available as a backup option if chamber use is ultimately determined not yet feasible.

The full list of chairs is here. A memo to House Democrats from Welch is here. The likely remote committee schedule is, to me, the most interesting thing about that memo.

* Tribune

Newly inaugurated Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch has signaled some of his legislative priorities with the creation of special committees on ethics and elections, restorative justice, and housing and immigration.

“We want to continue to be the voice of the most vulnerable,” he said. “But I also think one of the things that we need to focus on is rebuilding trust in the legislature and the legislative process.”

Welch also canceled most scheduled House session days in February but did set one for Feb. 10, when representatives will vote on whether to allow them to work remotely. […]

Welch said one of his goals is to pass an ethics reform package before the General Assembly adjourns in May. The General Assembly in late 2019 created a 16-member commission to recommend changes to state ethics laws, and ethics were seen as a top legislative priority leading into the 2020 spring session.

* Um

Welch is breaking up the powerful Capitol (or appropriations) chair position so that the heads of various subject areas are in control of their budgets.

The Capital Approp Committee was created in 2019 because the state was on the verge of passing a massive capital plan. The House had six appropriations committees during the 101st General Assembly covering numerous state issue silos. It now has five. I do not understand how that sentence came to be.

* Sun-Times

Welch said the appointments are people who are experienced and “passionate about the job.”

“They’re knowledgeable,” the speaker told the Chicago Sun-Times. “They are people who I think will work well with people, and they’re gonna be able to hit the ground running after our rules are approved on Feb. 10. So, I’m excited. I don’t think anyone will be able to question the credentials and integrity of the people as they go through this list.” […]

Others, such as state Rep. Bob Rita will move up. The Blue Island Democrat will now lead the Executive Committee after serving as vice chair of that panel under Welch in the previous General Assembly. […]

The vice chairs and members on the House’s committees will be announced next week, Welch said.

Discuss.

…Adding… Back to Politico

And Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who felt there were too many questions about harassment allegations leveled at Welch earlier this month to support his speakership yet, was named chair of the Restorative Justice Committee (she previously headed Public Safety). Cassidy is now angling for a state Senate seat. […]

Rep. William Davis will head the Elementary Education Committee (a new position for him); Rep. Fred Crespo heads General Services

Rep. Cassidy recently chaired the Public Safety Appropriations Committee. Rep. Davis will head the Elementary & Sec Ed Appropriations Committee. He’s chaired an approp committee in the past. And Rep. Crespo will chair the General Services Appropriations Committee.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

9 Comments
  1. - DownSouth - Thursday, Jan 28, 21 @ 12:11 pm:

    I am little baffled by Harper for Ag and Conservation - can other readers help enlighten me to what I missing here?


  2. - research - Thursday, Jan 28, 21 @ 12:27 pm:

    == I am little baffled by Harper for Ag and Conservation - can other readers help enlighten me to what I missing here? ==

    She was the chair last session and has been on the committee since she joined the General Assembly. She has a passion for agriculture, particularly urban ag, and she’s done a lot to promote the topic throughout the state.


  3. - SaulGoodman - Thursday, Jan 28, 21 @ 12:28 pm:

    Harper chaired Ag last GA too. She’s very passionate and engaged around urban farming issues, and she’s been great as Chair of Ag.


  4. - facts matter - Thursday, Jan 28, 21 @ 12:29 pm:

    I spit my coffee reading Politico this morning. Does the author even bother to fact check or research anything before hitting send?

    The redistricting process is in the Constitution — it’s a publicly available document, easily accessible. Look it up.

    The committee list from last term and every prior term is available online, easily accessible. Look it up.


  5. - Drake Mallard - Thursday, Jan 28, 21 @ 1:03 pm:

    Mike Z. For finance is an excellent choice. Young Smart detail oriented Guy


  6. - High Socks - Thursday, Jan 28, 21 @ 1:38 pm:

    Downsouth, why are you baffled? No region has ownership over an issue and ag bills are more complicated and diverse than just farming issues. Expand your vision.


  7. - Rich Hill - Thursday, Jan 28, 21 @ 2:36 pm:

    Harper was also on Pritzker’s Agriculture Transition Committee, so she likely has good communications with the executive branch on how legislation in her committee will be implemented.


  8. - DownSouth - Thursday, Jan 28, 21 @ 2:54 pm:

    The Ag part I do understand but the conservation part I wasn’t grasping very well. Thanks everyone for enlightening me and helping me to understand better. Pardon me for having my conservation related tunnel vision going on.


  9. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jan 28, 21 @ 5:11 pm:

    No committee chair for Rep. Madigan? What’s up with that? The guy has seniority and tons of experience. (Politico pointed this out as a clear indicator of his impending resignation; because, why else wouldn’t he get to be chair of say, Energy and Env.) /s


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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