With over a decade of government relations experience in the halls of the State Capitol Building and non-profit association management, Illinois Capitol Group will:
- Strategically target issues involving state laws and regulations,
- Engage your members or client base through state and local grassroots,
- Handle your association membership and event management, and
- Obtain results that specifically address your interests.
In-depth research and statutory analysis is utilized to prepare legislative and regulatory proposals in addition to the management of internal association membership interests.
From the catacombs of the capitol building basement to hidden mezzanine offices, associations and businesses often need a helping hand when guiding their issues through the state legislature, and at a minimum, their representatives should know where they are at in the building. Click here for maps of the capitol complex.
Following the 2018 elections, Democrats increased their policy-making abilities in the already Democratic controlled legislative chambers, and also took back control of the Governor's office. During the course of the 2019 legislative sessions numerous hot button policies were voted on and passed in the legislature with varying degrees of support among the Democratic caucus members.
In reviewing voting roll calls in the House chamber, we can begin to see these distinctions that are so often portrayed during election season as simple Democrat versus Republican slogans. While a graduated income tax did receive near unanimous support among House Democrats, legislation involving a minimum wage, abortion rights, gun rights, and recreational marijuana were not voted on uniformly among Democrats or even Republicans.
The following House roll calls include a note regarding the policy being addressed by the Democratic legislative proposal and highlight in red where Democrats did not support the legislation along with two policies (i.e. recreational marijuana and gun rights) where Republicans arguably did not vote in line with their own party. From the most to least supported by the House Democratic members, the policies involved a graduated income tax, minimum wage, abortion rights, recreational marijuana, and gun rights. For the graduated income tax, the highlighted House Democrats include a note reflecting the final order of votes in support of the bill as well as one not voting.
And as much as Chicago Democrats often "control" legislative priorities at the Illinois capitol building, in the 2019 fall legislative session we saw how issues with gambling expansion and local construction projects can pressure Democrats and Republicans outside of Chicago to come together in a manner uniquely frustrating to Chicago Democrats when a technical gaming cleanup bill passed but a Chicago casino cleanup bill did not...
The process of lining up votes also occurs for those seeking a leadership position within a legislative chamber. One position of particular importance in setting legislative agendas that impact the entire state is the Senate President, and in January 2020 there was a new leader elected for the first time in over a decade.
Speaking of the importance of political leadership within a chamber, in July 2017, the Illinois legislature voted to end the longest budget impasse in state and national history. For those watching closely, we saw how controlled voting can be in the General Assembly and how essential it is to know where votes are being protected or available.
As a note for those who watch the video, 71 votes were needed in support of the veto override motion. This moment in Illinois history involved numerous political alliances, but the overarching story line was a political battle between the Governor, a Republican who vetoed the budget, and the Speaker of the House, a Democrat who has held that leadership position for over three decades. The budget proposal at issue in the summer of 2017 involved an income tax increase, so with the next election cycle less than a year away, legislators with potentially close races were cautious in their voting. With the voting open until the Speaker of the House gavels voting to a close, 71 votes slowly made their way onto the board, and once the threshold was met, legislators could safely vote against the motion knowing the budget would still pass.
Between 2004 and 2014, Illinois voters throughout the 102 counties were fairly consistent when going to the voting booth and choosing between the Republican (red) and Democratic (blue) candidate for a statewide or national office. Some of that consistency also meant that in many counties, the voting result averages were within a couple percentage points of swinging to one party or the other (purple).
Although the 2014 and 2016 election cycles shifted some of the state political map in favor of the Republican party, the 2018 General Election reversed those trends and resulted in additional control for the state Democratic party in both chambers of the legislature as well as every state constitutional office. As with every election, it is also important to watch for the evolution of political alliances within each party.
Nearly all of the Democratic gains in the 2018 General Election were in the the counties surrounding Chicago, which remains the core of the Democratic Party in Illinois. As a result, the 101st General Assembly may also be impacted by the 2019 municipal elections in Chicago, which had over 20 candidates running for an open mayoral seat and nearly all 50 wards with at least two candidates for the February "primary." The mayoral race as well as numerous aldermanic races required an April runoff due to candidates not reaching the fifty percent threshold; click below for more information.