Legislators return to Springfield for lame-duck session – The State Journal-Register

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The lame-duck session, the final five days of the 102nd Illinois General Assembly, begins today at the state Capitol.

Much attention has already been given to House Bill 5855, the Protect Illinois Communities Act, which would ban the manufacture, delivery, sale or purchase of assault-style weapons among other changes to gun law.

Related:Supporters of assault weapons ban in Illinois tell lawmakers bill doesn’t go far enough

The bill from state Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, had two lengthy committee hearings last month in Chicago featuring testimony from proponents and opponents. In addition to a weapons ban, HB 5855 would increase the age to own a Firearm Owners Identification Card to 21 and set 10 as the limit of rounds per magazine.

As of Tuesday, the bill did not have a hearing scheduled. Lawmakers are scheduled to be in the Capitol today through Saturday.

The final day of the session will follow on Tuesday, after the inauguration of executive officers on Monday.

More than assault-style weapons

The lame-duck session is the final chance for legislative action on the thousands of bills introduced over the past two years. Even more bills have already been introduced this week including one from state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield.

Senate Bill 4251, which would amend the Mental Health Rehabilitation Act, pertains to detention standards for defendants with mental disabilities. Specifically, the bill would allow an individual charged with a misdemeanor to receive outpatient treatment instead of inpatient care unless deemed necessary by the court.

Other bills such as House Bill 5848 would appropriate $500,000 for the “acquisition, placement, and maintenance” of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statue. The statue, formerly at the intersection of Second Street and Capitol Avenue, was damaged after being toppled over in September. According to reports, the statue now is in a Springfield warehouse. Only the base remains at Second and Capitol.

The session brings with it the last days in office for lawmakers who are either stepping down or lost election bids in November.

Locally, those lawmakers include state Rep. Sandy Hamilton, R-Springfield, who lost a contentious Illinois Senate District 48 race to Turner. Multiple legislators seeking higher office will also end their terms such as state Reps. Dan Brady of Bloomington and Tom Demmer of Dixon and former gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey of Xenia.

Temporary legislators

Jason Huffman

Several legislators are set to serve as temporary replacements to conclude the General Assembly.

State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, officially stepped down from the House District 87 seat on New Year’s Eve after previously announcing his plans to do so. He has taken a position with the Illinois Railroad Association. On Monday, his replacement, Jason Huffman, was administered the oath by Associate Judge Kevin Tippey of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court at the Menard County courthouse in Petersburg.

Huffman is a Menard County deputy sheriff from Athens and will hold office until noon Jan. 11. Butler’s replacement in House District 95 will be decided this week by Republican central committee chairpersons in Sangamon, Christian and Macon counties. That vote is scheduled for Thursday at the Sangamon GOP headquarters, where the county holds the plurality of the vote share.

The passing of state Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, left a vacancy in Illinois Senate District 52. His wife, Dr. Stacy Bennett, will be his replacement for the lame-duck session.

Contact Patrick Keck: pkeck@gannett.com, twitter.com/@pkeckreporter.com

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January 4, 2023 at 06:33AM

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