FILE - Illinois State Capitol

The dome of the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

House to vote on new speaker

There may or may not be a new speaker of the Illinois House this afternoon when the new Legislature is seated.

The first action expected in the House is who should be Speaker. House Speaker Michael Madigan, who’s been in the role for all but two years since 1983, doesn’t have majority support. It is possible state Rep. Chris Welch could get the position, but that requires 60 votes.

If no candidate gets 60 votes, it could halt any other action until a leader is chosen.

Sweeping police reform measure advances

A measure that among other things could end cash bail and impose more restrictions on Illinois law enforcement passed the state Senate in the early morning hours.

A bill was amended just after 3 a.m. and passed before the sun came up, despite concerns from Republicans that it was being rushed without proper vetting.

State Sen. Elgie Sims sponsored the bill, saying it’s broad and bold on purpose. The measure must pass the House before the term ends at noon.

Smoking costs $2.6 million per smoker in Illinois

The total cost of smoking in Illinois is more than $2.6 million per smoker, according to consumer finance website WalletHub.

The total cost includes hundreds and thousands of dollars in out of pocket costs, healthcare costs and lost income per smoker, among other factors.

Across the country, Illinois came in at No. 41.

Madigan set to give up the gavel

It appears as though long-time House Speaker Michael Madigan's decades-long reign will end.

Illinois Democrats have reportedly agreed to make Hillside Democrat Chris Welch the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, making him the first Black man to hold the gavel in the state's history.

The official vote is planned for later today.

Lame-duck session to close at noon

Today is the final day of the 101st General Assembly and lawmakers have unfinished business.

Most notably, the Legislature could take up a sweeping set of police reform bills that the law enforcement community has fought but racial justice advocates say is needed.

Legislative panel approves Pritzker’s emergency mask rule for Illinois

An emergency rule requiring Illinois businesses to mandate masks and social distancing or face fines remains in place until June.

Democrats voted against a motion to suspend the rule Tuesday in the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

Staff Reporter

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.

Regional Editor

Brett Rowland has worked as a reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He most recently served as news editor of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He previously held the same position at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb.