Lawmakers' Light Spring Calendar Allows For Campaigning

Jan 29, 2014

  Legislators will descend on the capital city Wednesday, to hear the governor's annual state-of-the-state address. It's the first day they'll be in Springfield this year.

The General Assembly had a jam-packed 2013. It started with new members being sworn into office, and ended with new laws legalizing same-sex marriage and overhauling state pensions.

This year has started at a slower pace -- the House and Senate are only scheduled to meet 14 times until mid-March. Chris Mooney, the director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, has a couple of theories about why.

"They've just been so busy, they've dealt with so many things," he says. "It may just be some sort of fatigue effect at work."

But there are other reasons too. The main one? The primary election on March 18.

Mooney says until then legislators will spend most of their time campaigning.

"They're going to be busy knocking on doors, and doing the various things they do to get re-elected," he says.

Session ramps up afterward—though the specter of the general election will be sure to dominate what legislation does, and does not, pass.