By Patrick O'Brien
Illinois very likely is heading toward another overtime session. The House has 14 working days until the constitutional deadline for adjournment, May 31. The Senate has 13. Given that some legislative days have been cancelled — the House canceled this Friday, and the Senate cancelled today so some members could work for the presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in Indiana — legislators don’t seem rushed to finish business by May 31. (After that, both chambers need a three-fifths majority to approve legislation.)
History could be telling. David Dring, spokesperson for House Minority Leader Tom Cross, says the budget process mirrors last year’s, when each chamber passed a competing budget and a stalemate ensued. Lawmakers were called to Springfield at least once in all 12 months last year. This session, there haven’t been leaders’ meetings on the budget, yet. Leaders have met three times to discuss a statewide capital plan, although there’s little progress to report.
Dring added that he still thinks a May turnaround is possible if the political will is there. “A lot can happen in three weeks around here if people work together.”