SPRINGFIELD - Despite the fact lawmakers will be returning to Springfield Tuesday, there's fairly broad consensus that nothing significant will take place until after January 1. In the new year, General Assembly voting requirements will lower back to a simple majority.
Thus, in the weeks after January 1 and before the newly-elected lawmakers are sworn in, the 15 Senate and 21 House members that will not be sworn in with the new General Assembly - referred to as "lame ducks" - will be free to vote with no constituent accountability.
Lawmakers are bantering about pension reform, same sex marriage, casino and gambling expansion, among other controversial topics that are likely to be voted on after January 1. In the new General Assembly House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) will each hold super, veto-proof majorities.
During the upcoming weeks, party caucuses in each chamber will begin discussing their leadership picks for next session. Both Madigan and Cullerton are expected to be re-elected to their spots, as is House Republican Leader Tom Cross, despite his caucus' especially devastating election results. There is some discussion as to whether Senator Minority Leader Christine Radogno will face a stiff challenge from Downstate Senator Kyle McCarter, but Radogno says she's confident she has the votes needed to retain her position.