Speaker Madigan calls state lawmakers to return for lame-duck session

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FILE – In this May 23, 2020 file photo, Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, talks on his cellphone from his desk during an extended session of the Illinois House of Representatives at the Bank of Springfield Center, in Springfield, Ill. ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced Friday July 17, 2020. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — In an email sent to House Representatives Wednesday afternoon, Speaker Michael Madigan’s Chief of Staff called the House members back to Springfield for a lame-duck session scheduled to begin on January 8th at the Bank of Springfield Convention Center.

The House convened session in the large stadium facility in May to afford members more space to spread out and maintain a social distance. The Senate met in the Capitol Complex but only went onto the floor in rotations to cast their votes.

The lame-duck session could last through at least Jan. 13. Legislators need that much time to move new bills through the process.

State senators have already been notified to be on standby for a possible return to the Capitol during the same dates, but President Don Harmon’s office has not yet officially called for members to return to Springfield. That word could come soon. The Senate has more flexibility in its rules to allow for remote legislation.

The Legislative Black Caucus has called for police reform proposals, which could be addressed during the short stint.

The new incoming statehouse members are scheduled to be sworn in on January 13th before they elect a House Speaker, Senate President, and begin the 102nd General Assembly.

Enough House Democrats have banded together to oppose Speaker Madigan’s re-election — 19 of them so far — and have enough leverage to deny him the gavel. So far, only Representative Stephanie Kifowit has publicly declared her candidacy to challenge Madigan, setting up a showdown that could divide Democrats in a bitter leadership battle to start the new year.

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