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At a recent meeting, one of my colleagues took the chance to apologize to the rest of the House Republican Caucus by saying: "I am sorry. Most of you have no idea what it is like to truly be a state representative, because every two years more of your rights and responsibilities are stripped away by the speaker's House Rules."

We are supposed to be a representative democracy, where all Illinois residents from every House district are represented equally. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Every two years, the people of Illinois elect representatives from 118 districts across the state to serve as their voice in Springfield. Once sworn in, these representatives have the opportunity to take two important votes.

The first is to elect a speaker of the House, which typically goes to the leader of the majority party.

The second important vote, which occurs two or three weeks later, is to adopt a set of procedural rules to govern the House for the subsequent two years.

For 32 of the last 34 years, those rules have been drafted in a manner that consolidates control with one individual - Speaker Michael Madigan - allowing him to circumvent our representative democracy and make the House subject to the power of one.

For example, the speaker has authority over what bills are called for a vote and when. Rank-and-file members receive little or no notice and therefore don't have the ability to prepare for amendments to legislation that are about to be debated in a committee or legislation that will be considered for passage on the House floor. When considering that at any given moment there are hundreds upon hundreds of bills ready to be called for a vote, no one, including our constituents, benefits with these surprise or unplanned votes.

In addition, House committees can only be called with the consent of the speaker, meaning that the Democratic members serving as committee chairmen, each earning an additional stipend for their work, can't even convene their own committees when they deem fit.

Another example is the requirement to discharge a bill from the tightly-controlled Rules Committee.

The Rules Committee is controlled by three of the speaker's most loyal stalwarts who operate under his direction and can be removed by him at any time. This committee is important because the rules require that all legislative measures be immediately assigned to this committee when filed. Nothing may advance any further through the legislative process unless the Rules Committee approves it.

Needless to say, nothing gets through Rules Committee without the speaker's blessing, unless a discharge motion is successfully filed. This requires support from three-fifths majorities of both Democratic and Republican Caucuses. If you do the math that means it requires 72 votes, not 71, to simply discharge a bill from the Rules Committee, making it easier to override a veto than to discharge a bill from Rules.

The most egregious component of this, however, is that rulings of the speaker on such a motion may not be appealed. So, even if the requirements of the rule were met for the discharge of a particular bill, the speaker could, without cause, rule the motion out of order. No member can question this and it cannot be overturned.

There are other examples, many of which make Illinois an outlier when compared to other states, which prove that we owe it to those we represent to take a stand and restore the House as a true representative democracy.

The speaker is the speaker. It's his right to propose his own rules, just as he has for 32 of the past 34 years that he has been speaker. But that doesn't mean we have to support them.

Democratic members have spoken out publicly on the need for changes to the way the Illinois House operates, calling for a more open and transparent process. This is their chance to demonstrate their commitment to making positive change on behalf of all Illinois families.

We have the opportunity to return representative democracy to the people by rejecting Speaker Madigan's rules and making reforms to restore fairness that will allow legislators of both parties, to advocate for the people of their districts. I hope that when it comes time to vote, Democrats and Republicans will stand together and say, "Enough is enough," and oppose Speaker Madigan's rules. Let's return power back to the 118 members of the House and break the power of one.
GENEVA – State Representative Steve Andersson was appointed to the post of House Republican Floor Leader today, making the Kane County legislator the 51- member minority caucus’s point person during daily floor debates in the Illinois House of Representatives for the historic 100th General Assembly to be sworn in on Wednesday.

In making the appointment, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin lauded Representative Andersson’s leadership qualities: "Steve Andersson’s legal background, calm demeanor and keen ability to get to the heart of important policy questions make him ideally suited to become our next Floor Leader,” Durkin said. “Representative Andersson, although only a sophomore legislator, has earned the confidence and respect of his colleagues to serve in this important role on our leadership team.”

"Springfield needs less gridlock and more consistent good-faith efforts to find common ground,” Representative Andersson said. "I am grateful to accept this appointment as Floor Leader for the House Republican Caucus, a role that I will maximize to facilitate discussions amongst legislators of both parties in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect to find solutions to the common challenges that face the families we are privileged to serve, regardless of what part of the state we hail from. There is, after all, so much more that unites us than divides us. Becoming Floor Leader will allow me to highlight that.”
The start of a New Year often means a fresh start. For Illinois, the start of 2017 welcomes new laws that become effective. While state legislators considered thousands of bills during this year’s legislative session, the New Year reflects the couple hundred of laws that take effect January 1st. These laws include a variety of topics that impact the lives of Illinois residents with new changes, requirements and regulations.

Starting January 1st, 191 new laws take effect. To see what is changing for Illinois, and to view laws that may be of interest to you, click below.

State legislators will return to Springfield in January to convene the 100th General Assembly.
Rep. Andersson is pictured with
1st Place Winner Bill Clanton,
2nd Place Winner Fred Kimmel, and
3rd Place Winner Jim Weirman 
State Representative Steve Andersson recently hosted a Senior Spelling Bee finale at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin.

This fall, Rep. Andersson held senior spelling bee competitions at four senior communities throughout the 65th District. The top 3 winners from each of the four residences, representing The Carillon in St. Charles, The Holmstad in Batavia, Sun City Del Webb in Huntley, and Edgewater Del Webb in South Elgin, were invited to participate in the final competition.

Rep. Andersson was excited to see the large turnout of guests ready to cheer on the eager competitors.

“I have enjoyed hosting these events throughout my district to bring so many in our community together in a common interest,” said Andersson. “I am always impressed with their spelling, and how many rounds of words we go through for each competition. Tonight was no exception, and to see the excitement and comradery among the contestants in all the residences was inspiring.”

The lists compiled for the bee included beginner, intermediate, and advanced words. The final word spelled correctly by the winner, Bill Clanton from Sun City, was loquacious. The top three finishers from the finale were given gift certificates and a special prize from Rep. Andersson for their efforts.

Andersson is looking forward to hosting another round of spelling bees next year. Special Thanks to Advocate Sherman Hospital for their support in holding this fun senior event!

Veto session in the General Assembly came to a close Thursday, prompting legislators to leave the Capitol without discussing the ever present budget crisis.

While the leaders continue to meet, rank and file members of the House voiced their frustrations about the lack of urgency surrounding the state’s budget.  The end of the regular session brought a stopgap budget agreement, a temporary bridge to fund social services and education through the end of the year.  However, with the end of the year just 30 days away, there is no clear resolution in sight. 

Representative Andersson was one of many legislators frustrated with the lack of discussion and process surrounding the development of a comprehensive budget agreement.   “The stopgap agreement was a temporary agreement,” said Andersson. “There are 30 days left and we must act to find a solution to keep our state functioning and provide for the people of Illinois.   Leaving Springfield tonight knowing how much more should be done for our taxpayers is frustrating.”

Andersson has continually voiced his support for negotiation and compromise and today before leaving Springfield, he again called for action.  “I remain hopeful that we can find common ground and come together to make a comprehensive sustainable solution, and one our residents deserve.”

With many difficult decisions to be made, the Leaders will continue to meet through the week with the hope that a solution can be agreed upon before the close of the year.
Yesterday, the Illinois House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 2814, a measure that ensures nuclear power plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities remain running, promotes the state’s future energy sustainability, and protects competitive electric rates for Illinois consumers.

Representative Andersson voted in favor of the measure and voiced his support for the bill, calling it the right choice for the future of Illinois.

“This legislation is about choosing a more sustainable option, and is a step in making Illinois a power in green energy,” said Andersson. “By providing stability and securing the expansion of solar and wind power, this is the best choice to move our state toward improved efficiency through clean energy, while also reducing our carbon footprint.”

Not only does the bill provide for a sustainable future for the state through increased energy efficiency, it also preserves thousands of jobs for Illinois residents. Senate Bill 2814 will expand energy efficiency programs which will drive down energy costs for rate payers while also creating incentives for the expansion of other forms of clean energy.

The bill passed the House with 63 voting in favor of the legislation, and moves on to the Senate for further verification.

State Representative Steve Andersson recently held a 65th District Dialogue meeting with a small group of constituents. Any interested resident of Andersson’s 65th Legislative District are able to attend these gatherings that meet quarterly throughout the year.

The recent dialogue centered on energy policy, legislative reforms, and the state budget. Rep. Andersson was able to discuss current realities Illinois is facing and listen to residents express the affects these have on our community and residents. “Our conversations are in depth and meaningful,” said Andersson. “It is these small group discussions that really help get to the root of our resident’s concerns and help me gauge views on important issues.”

The 65th District Dialogue encourages meaningful discussion on any range of topics in State Government. If you are interested in attending a future meeting, contact Rep. Andersson’s District Office at (630) 457-5460.