The first thing I would like to do is wish everyone a Happy New Year. I sincerely hope that 2006 is the best year yet for you and yours! With the New Year comes a new legislative session. It marks another chance to head back to Springfield and represent the people of the 109th Legislative District. I look forward to that honor and opportunity.
The first day of the spring session is Jan. 11. Since this is the second year of the 94th General Assembly, the amount of legislation that is considered will be substantially less than the first year. In fact, we have been informed that House Speaker Michael Madigan will limit all House members to choosing three bills to attempt to move through the General Assembly. In comparison, last year, 14 bills that I sponsored passed out of the House. The second year of the General Assembly session is meant to mainly consider the budget. That intent accounts for the speaker's effort to limit the number of bills.
There are some important dates and deadlines to consider this spring as well. The deadline to request drafts of legislation from the Legislative Research Bureau (LRB) is Jan. 6. With that deadline fast approaching, most representatives and senators are currently finalizing any requests. The House deadline to introduce any of these drafts as bills is Jan. 27. The deadline for all third readings of House bills is March 6. That leaves only about a month for bills passed out of the House to move through the Senate committee and legislative process.
After a short break the week of March 5, the House will consider Senate bills that have been passed over. The deadline for third reading of those Senate bills is March 31. We are scheduled to adjourn April 7.
Another important date is Jan. 18. That is the date that the governor will deliver his "State of The State Address" to a joint session of the House and Senate. The governor's budget address is set for Feb. 15.
The early adjournment date is really due to a couple of factors. First, last year, the final budget implementation act and the rescheduled payment obligation to the state's five pension systems produced enough revenue to cover both the FY06 and FY07 state budget. If all of the projections made regarding spending increases and revenue hold, the budget process will take substantially less time than in prior years.
The second reason that the session is short is that this is an election year. This year, we not only elect representatives and senators, we also elect constitutional officers including governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, attorney general and comptroller.
Although the length of the scheduled session is shorter than the previous three years, the number of legislative calendar days is almost the same. You can check the entire spring calendar on the web at firstname.lastname@example.org.