With two weeks left, Illinois lawmakers to tackle budget and legislative maps

With two weeks left, Illinois lawmakers to tackle budget and legislative maps

SPRINGFIELD, IL — When lawmakers return to the capitol for session Monday, they’ll have less than two weeks to accomplish major issues like a state budget. They could also take up draft maps redrawing the state’s political boundaries. The Senate returns Monday after being in session for 30 minutes Friday. The House Friday was in session for six minutes before adjourning. They return to session Tuesday. House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said Thursday there’s good news on the budget front with more revenues than expected and billions in federal taxpayer funds to decide how to spend, but there’s still a budget hole of more than a billion dollars.

“As our budget groups work this weekend in the House, it’s Republicans and Democrats working together, making adjustments to the budget,” Harris said.

State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, said Friday they don’t feel there is bipartisan cooperation this late into the session.

“When you have the true negotiations going on behind other doors in this capitol and one of our lead budget negotiators is not part of that, that signals to us that we’re not really included in the meetings that matter,” Brady said.

Lawmakers will also have to determine how legislative districts are redrawn, but there’s conflict over what data is being used to draft the boundaries as the full Census data isn’t expected to be released until this summer.

Assistant House Majority Leader Elizabeth Hernadez, D-Chicago, said lawmakers are providing their input.

“It’s compiling all this information and really sifting through this to finally get a map for the public to review,” Hernandez said Thursday.

State Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, has been critical of what data is being used and said Friday with majority Democrats providing input behind closed doors, saying it’s transparent is a hoax.

“It is a hoax from the heartland and the activities that are going on now are anything but transparent,” Spain said.

Republicans demand at least two weeks of public review of draft maps. Democrats said those drafts could be released any day now.

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