Democrats, Republicans clash on progress

Democrats, Republicans clash on progress


Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, speaks with Illinois Speaker of the House Emanuel "Chris" Welch, D-Hillside, after the close of session on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives at the Capitol on June 1. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

A “new day” of cooperation and collaboration between Democrats and Republicans promised by Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch in January has begun. Or it hasn’t.

It all depends on whom you ask in the chamber or in the governor’s office.

After the General Assembly’s spring session concluded last week, Democrats who hold super-majorities in the House and Senate say they succeeded, for the most part, in carrying out a legislative agenda focused on children, working people, racial and ethnic equity and ethics reform.

They said they did it all in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that limited in-person meetings and contributed to an end-of-session frenzy of activity, and the new House speaker believes a new day has dawned.

“I think it’s gone quite well,” said Welch, D-Hillside, who was chosen by House members in January after longtime Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, suspended his campaign for another two-year term. 

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