In other news, the Senate resumed its work at the Capitol during the week. Committee meetings were held using a combination of virtual and in-person meetings. While a limited number of reporters were granted access, citizens and lobbyists were not allowed to attend.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, real, interactive, face-to-face citizen-involved government has unfortunately been put on hold. The January “lame-duck” session was particularly controversial for its lack of transparency.
Senate Republicans continue to push for improved transparency. With this goal in mind, Senate Republicans are publicizing Senate Committee hearings to help keep the public informed about legislative proposals that impact their lives. To watch or listen to the hearings go to https://www.ilga.gov/senateaudvid.asp.
Members of the Caucus continue to advocate for additional ways to make state government more open and accessible to the people of Illinois. A recent article from the Daily Line underscored the need for improvements in Illinois. In the article, reporter Joel Ebert noted, “According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Illinois is one of just four states that don’t provide easy access to archived floor and committee meetings. As other state legislatures have modernized their technological capabilities, Illinois maintains an outdated system that critics say limits the public’s ability to engage with their government and fuels residents’ distrust of the General Assembly.”
To date, nearly 7,000 new proposals have been introduced that create new laws or change existing laws. You can see the list of legislation introduced this year at http://www.ilga.gov.