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harmon mask 111020SPRINGFIELD — A renewed surge in COVID-19 infections forced the postponement of the upcoming General Assembly veto session at the Capitol, legislative leaders announced Tuesday.

“The front page in today’s Springfield paper warns of a COVID ‘tsunami’ sweeping the region and its health care system. This is not the time to physically bring together hundreds of people from all around the state. Given what’s happening, it was an obvious decision. It’s not safe or responsible to have a legislative session under these circumstances,” said Illinois Senate President Don Harmon.

 

The Springfield area’s rolling average positivity rate for confirmed COVID infections had skyrocketed to 14.4 percent in recent days, prompting concerns about hospital capacity in the capital city, which is the medical provider for the downstate region.

 

The veto session was scheduled for Nov. 17-19 and Dec. 1-3 to bracket the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The health and safety of the people who work for and serve in the Illinois General Assembly, and their respective families, is paramount. We will continue to monitor the situation, consult medical experts and do intend to schedule additional session days so we can finish our important work,” said Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The current 101st General Assembly wraps up business in January when the members of the 102nd General Assembly will be sworn in and the legislative process starts anew. The 102nd General Assembly begins Jan. 13, 2021.

The brief fall session of the General Assembly is known as the “veto session” and is when lawmakers traditionally resolve conflicts with the governor. However, there are no vetoes to address this year. Instead, the legislative agenda is dominated by a comprehensive effort to address systematic racism and social justice.

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, Chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, leads that effort. She said legislation will be ready when it is safe to return.

“We are still in the midst of a pandemic, and COVID-19 cases are surging across the state, making the risk too high for the General Assembly to gather at this time,” said Lightford. “While we will not be able to pass legislation as soon as we hoped, the urgency to bring an end to systemic racism remains. The moment to put forth this critical agenda is now, and I know President Harmon and Speaker Madigan share our concerns and our commitment to making a difference.”

ICYMI:

https://www.sj-r.com/news/20201109/6-deaths-hundreds-of-cases-in-virus-lsquotsunamirsquo-in-central-illinois