State Representative Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, issued the following statement today following the adoption of House Resolution 36 on Wednesday, a bill containing the Rules package for how legislative business will be conducted during the next two years in the new 103rd General Assembly:
“House Republicans asked for several reforms in the rules the House uses to hold itself accountable, some of which were included in the overall Rules package. We are pleased to see an end to remote voting, a return to in-person committee hearings, and curbing the majority’s abuse of the consent calendar, meaning that each piece of legislation will be considered individually instead of jamming through up to 80 bills at a time on a single vote. These moves are long overdue,” Rep. Keicher said. “While these small steps in the right direction are welcome, more reform is needed. For example, the Rules Committee will keep the same type of unilateral power that it exercised during the long-time reign of former Speaker Mike Madigan. This undermines Speaker Welch’s promise of a “new day” in Springfield. The Rules Committee decides which legislation is allowed to be considered, and which bills are left to die without even a hearing. This is fundamentally undemocratic.”
Additional rules changes offered by House Republicans by rejected by majority Democrats included:
- Revisions to the consent calendar, in the event it is reinstated during session; specifically, to limit the number of bills that may be on the daily consent calendar to 20-30 per day, down from the current limit of 80. The reduced amount will ensure that members can review all the bills on the consent calendar before passage and are able to change their vote in the allotted time. In addition, the provision in Rule 42 requiring a motion be adopted by the committee to place a bill on the consent calendar should be enforced.
- Revise the Rule limiting chairpersons and spokespersons to those in their third terms to allow for members in their second terms to be eligible under certain circumstances. If a member is required to be a chairperson or spokesperson for three or more committees, then the leader of that caucus may appoint a member in their second term to be a chairperson or spokesperson of a committee.
- If a bill has at least 5 co-sponsors from both House caucuses, then the bill shall get a vote in a substantive House committee. A bill that has significant bi-partisan support should at least get an opportunity to receive a vote in committee.
- For all bills that will cost the State money, there shall be a mandatory 24-hour waiting period after the bill or amendment is posted before the chamber may vote on the legislation. In cases like the State budget, the general public should have at least 24 hours to review the bill or amendment after it is filed before we take a vote on the bill.
House Resolution 36 was adopted on Wednesday by a vote of 74-35. Rep. Keicher was among those voting No on the Rules package despite speaking during debate to acknowledge support for the incremental steps taken to reform the House’s COVID-era policies.