* The new House rules language has surfaced. I’m still going through it, but click here and go through it with me in comments. I’ll be posting updates as I read it.
First new language I noticed was Speaker term limits…
No member may be elected as Speaker for more than five General Assemblies, including any term in which the member was
elected to fill a vacancy in the office […]
The same term limit applies to the Minority Leader.
Updates to follow.
* Here’s a nod to bipartisanship. If for whatever reason the Assistant Clerk of the House position becomes vacant, the House Speaker is allowed to appoint the replacement. The new rules would require the Speaker to consult with the Minority Leader.
* “The Speaker and the Minority Leader shall not serve as members of
are each eligible to be appointed to the Rules Committee.”
* Remote legislating is in the rules. Here’s one…
Notwithstanding any other provision of these Rules, members of the Rules Committee may participate remotely in its
* More Rules Committee changes…
During odd-numbered years, the Rules Committee shall refer any House bill initially before it to a standing committee or a special committee prior to the deadline for House committee consideration of House bills, provided that referral shall not be required for a House bill that is introduced after the introduction deadline for House bills or for which the Principal Sponsor has submitted a written request to hold the bill in the Rules Committee.
That has been odd-numbered years practice for several years, but now it’s codified.
* Remote Participation in Committees and Task Forces…
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of these Rules, in the case of pestilence or public danger upon declaration of the Speaker, members may participate remotely in hearings for committees and task forces. A member of the committee or task force participating remotely shall be considered present and in attendance at the committee hearing, including for purposes of voting in accordance with Rule 49 and determining if a quorum is present. Action taken by a member of a committee who is participating remotely shall have the same legal effect as if the member were physically present when the action is taken.
(b) The Speaker may establish additional procedures for remote participation under this Section and shall designate the technology or software that must be used. The technology or software must, at a minimum, be sufficient to (1) verify the identity of a member who is participating remotely, (2) allow the public, including representatives of the press, to hear or view each member and witness who is participating remotely, and (3) allow witnesses to testify as permitted under Rule 26.
* Those who wish to testify in committee must now submit a form on the General Assembly website. The era of paper slips is over.
* No lobbyists at in-person hearings? Looks like it…
For meetings of committees during a disaster proclaimed by the Governor due to the COVID-19 virus, access to the room in which the committee is held shall be limited to members and officers of the General Assembly, majority and minority staff, and no more than 5 members of the public who are representatives of the press, except as otherwise authorized by the Speaker. The Speaker shall designate one or more locations outside of the committee room for the public to safely watch and listen to the proceedings of the House and its committees via a live audio/video broadcast. Access to such locations may be limited as necessary to maintain safety, including, but not limited to, requiring that persons at such locations follow the decorum requirements of Rule 51.5(a). Notwithstanding any other provision of these Rules, testimony at a committee hearing during a disaster proclaimed by the Governor due to COVID-19 virus may be limited to written testimony at the discretion of the Chairperson. This subsection shall only apply to meetings in which members are physically present and may not be suspended.
(This was in the rules change passed last year except for the final sentence.)
* This looks to be special language to reimburse folks for the challenge to Rep. Eva Dina Delgado’s appointment…
Adoption of Reports in Contests and Challenges […]
If the committee fails to file a final report prior to the end of the General Assembly term, each party may, within 60 days of the beginning of the next General Assembly term, file with the Clerk of House a request for reimbursement including a detailed statement of attorney’s fees and expenses incurred by that party in connection with the case. The request shall be referred to the Rules Committee which may refer it to a standing committee, special committee, or a committee created under this Article X for consideration. The committee may make recommendations to the House concerning reimbursement of attorney’s fees and the expenses of the parties. The recommendation for reimbursement under this Section shall not exceed a sum that is reasonable, just, and proper.
* Cleanup language after the experience of the Madigan Special Investigating Committee…
Notwithstanding any other provision of these Rules, if the Speaker is a petitioner or the subject of the petition, the highest ranking member of the majority caucus who is not a petitioner or the subject of the petition shall have the powers and duties of the Speaker in connection with the Special Investigating Committee, and if the Minority Leader is a petitioner or the subject of the petition, the highest ranking member of the minority caucus who is not a petitioner or the subject of the petition shall have the powers and duties of the Minority Leader in connection with the Special Investigating Committee.
The new rules would also allow chairs of those special committees to establish their own rules as long as they don’t conflict with the House’s rules.
* I think that’s it. Did I miss anything?
* A commenter noted that the House is now supposed to convene at noon instead of 12:30.
*** UPDATE *** HGOP spokesperson Eleni Demertzis…
“With the exception of allowing remote committee meetings during the pandemic, the House Rules are functionally identical to the Madigan-led sessions of the past. The Speaker retains centralized control over every bill, amendment, or motion. Nothing in these House Rules improve transparency or bring sunlight to legislative proceedings. The same problems previously pointed out by good government advocates—like taking a midnight vote on a several-hundred-page amendment or budget only moments after it has been filed—are allowed by and re-authorized in these Rules for the next two years.”