CHICAGO (CBS)– Illinois lawmakers return to Springfield for a three-day session.
Lawmakers are expected to discuss a state budget and critical issues surrounding COVID-19 relief, all while following social distancing guidelines.
“Everyone is a little on edge,” House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago) said. “On the other hand we all know that the best safety precautions are being taken.”
Harris says the House will meet in the Bank of Springfield Center, a convention center a few blocks from the Illinois Statehouse. The Senate plans to meet in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol.
The sessions come with safety guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Lawmakers will be required to wear face coverings and there will be temperature checks.
Officials are being asked drive alone and stay in separate hotel rooms.
“I have full confidence that we can go down there and effectively work but the policies and what comes out of Springfield is primarily my concern,” Representative Andrew Chesney said. “The budget is of great concern for everybody at least it should be. We’re looking at massive, massive budget shortfalls and significant cuts or extensive borrowing.”
There’s also the issue of re-opening the state. Governor JB Pritzker said it’s critical to reopen the state slowly, but some lawmakers have made it clear they want his stay-at-home order lifted for the entire state.
Chesney said he’ll support any bill that aims to do just that.
“I don’t think that the Illinois economy can stand even days more of the governor’s orders,” he said.
“We need to keep these safety guidelines in place and our social distancing in place, but all these requirements are about protecting others. We should not be selfish about it,” Harris said.
During the three-day sessions, lawmakers are expected to discuss a relief package for families and businesses across the state.