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New State General Assembly Begins Work

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Illinois State Capitol

Illinois State Capitol buillding in Springfield (AP Photo)

Democrats’ Majority Has Shrunken

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Hours after the old Illinois General Assembly voted to raise taxes, a brand-new one began work.

New members of the Illinois House and Senate were sworn in Wednesday and the 97th General Assembly officially got underway.

Democrats still control both chambers, but their majorities have shrunk.

Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago) was re-elected as Senate president. He promises to focus on improving education and reducing worker’s compensation costs.

As he has for every team but one since 1983, state Rep. Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), returns as House speaker.

Madigan and Cullerton were among those pushing for a 66 percent tax increase to help plug the state’s $15 billion deficit. Both houses have approved the tax hike, which Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign into law.

Madigan says the last session was among the most contentious and also most productive sessions in Illinois history.

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