Illinois legislature could be called back ‘at any time’ during COVID-19 outbreak

The Illinois House could be called back into session “at any time” amid statewide efforts to stop the spread of a new coronavirus that has already resulted in widespread cancellations and closures.

A memo sent Monday to members of the Illinois House Democratic Caucus from the office of House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, provided guidelines for handling the COVID-19 outbreak, but it also said the “session schedule is being reviewed daily and should be considered ‘in flux.’ “

“Any call for session will not be made lightly – the greatest priority is the consideration of the health and safety of all our communities,” the memo said. “A call to return to Springfield amidst this public health emergency would only occur if necessary.”

The memo said members should consider transportation that presents the least possible contact with others and if session were called, members should “reduce possible exposure while in Springfield.”

“Our staff is communicating with the Governor’s Office and the other caucuses as we work to identify any needed legislation to address this situation, as well as anything that requires immediate action from a timing perspective,” the memo said.

A spokesperson for Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said the Senate was taking it one day at a time.

“This week’s cancellations bought us some time to examine priorities and schedules and ask ourselves some of the same questions you’re asking,” the spokesperson said. “Right now we’re taking it day by day.”

Both the House and Senate canceled this week’s scheduled session. It’s unclear when they will determine the following week’s scheduled days. They’re off for two weeks thereafter for Spring Break.

Various guidelines the House memo shared to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus included regular hand washing, avoiding close contact, and to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

Submit a Comment