Illinois Senate leaders differ on readiness to return to Springfield

Illinois Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, is calling on legislative leaders and Gov. J.B. Pritzker to return to Springfield.

Illinois state lawmakers have not been in Springfield since mid-March. That’s when the COVID-19 pandemic kicked into high gear and shortly before the governor implemented social distancing guidelines as part of his stay-at-home orders that have been extended to the end of this month and expected to be extended to the end of May.

“Today I called the Governor, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate and told them Illinois Senate Republicans stand ready to return to Springfield to take up the timely and important issues facing Illinois and its residents such as the fair maps amendment and COVID-19 related issues,” Brady said.

Lawmakers have yet to approve a budget for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

A spokesperson for Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said bringing everyone to the capital isn’t conducive to social distancing

“Congregating 177 lawmakers, hundreds of staff, security, media and others in one building – and then sending them all right back to their families and communities – comes with potentially dire consequences that right now can and should be avoided,” said John Patterson, spokesman for the Senate President.

It’s unclear when lawmakers would return. They could come back to session at the call of the Speaker, the Senate President, or the governor could call for a special session.

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