Illinois House of Representatives
|Illinois House of Representatives|
|Illinois General Assembly|
|New session started||January 9, 2013|
|Speaker of the House||Michael Madigan, (D)
Since January 8, 1997
|Majority Leader||Barbara Flynn Currie, (D)
Since January 8, 1997
|Minority Leader||Tom Cross, (R)
Since January 8, 2002
|Political groups||Democratic Party (71)
Republican Party (47)
|Authority||Article IV, Illinois Constitution|
|Salary||$67,836/year + per diem|
|Last election||November 6, 2012
|Next election||November 4, 2014
|House of Representatives Chamber
Illinois State Capitol
|Illinois House of Representatives|
The Illinois House of Representatives is the lower house of the Illinois General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Illinois. The body was created by the first Illinois Constitution adopted in 1818. The state House of Representatives is made of 118 representatives elected from individual legislative districts for a two-year term with no limits.
The state legislature has the power to make laws and impeach judges. Lawmakers must be at least 21 years of age and a resident of the district in which they serve for at least two years.
The Illinois General Assembly was created by the first Illinois Constitution adopted in 1818. The candidates for office begin to split into political parties in the 1830s, initially as the Democratic and Whig parties, until the Whig candidates reorganized as Republicans in the 1850s.
Abraham Lincoln began his political career in the Illinois House of Representatives as a member of the Whig party in 1834.  He served there until his election in 1860 to as president of the United States. Although Republicans held the majority of seats in the Illinois House after 1860, in the next election it returned to the Democratic Party of Illinois. The Democratic Party-led legislature worked to frame a new state constitution that was ultimately rejected by voters, except for provisions to ban black settlement and voting. After the 1862 election, the Democratic-led Illinois House of Representatives passed resolutions denouncing the federal government's conduct of the war and urging an immediate armistice and peace convention, leading the Republican governor to suspend the legislature for the first time in the state's history. In 1864, Republicans swept the state legislature and at the time of Lincoln's assassination at Ford's Theater, Illinois stood as a solidly Republican state.
Before the Cutback Amendment to the state constitution in 1980, the state was divided into 59 "legislative districts", each of which elected three representatives, yielding a House of 177 members. This unusual system was even more distinctive in that the election was conducted by a modified form of cumulative voting: each individual voter was given three legislative votes to cast, and could cast either one vote each for three candidates, three votes for one candidate (known as a "bullet vote"), or 1½ votes each for two candidates. A change adopted in the Illinois Constitution of 1970 formalized the arrangement by which each party would run only two candidates in each district. Thus, in most districts, only four candidates were running for three seats, guaranteeing not only that there would be a single loser, but that each party would have significant representation—a minimum of one-third of the seats—in the House.
The Cutback Amendment was proposed to abolish this system, and since its passage, representatives have been elected from 118 single-member constituencies formed by dividing the 59 Senate districts in half. This was done to save money and because the system was so unusual in the United States that it was seen as an embarrassing oddity.
Since the adoption of the Cutback Amendment, there have been proposals by some major political figures in Illinois to bring back multi-member districts. A task force led by former governor Jim Edgar and former federal judge Abner Mikva issued a report in 2001 calling for the revival of cumulative voting, in part because it appears that such a system increases the representation of racial minorities in elected office. The Chicago Tribune editorialized in 1995 that the multi-member districts elected with cumulative voting produced better legislators. Others have argued that the now-abandoned system provided for greater "stability" in the lower house.
After the political realignment of voters due to the Republican Party's Southern Strategy, Illinois started to become more Democratic in state elections. In 1994, the Democratic Party gained the Illinois House of Representatives and has held a majority of seats in the House since that date.
The Illinois House of Representatives meets at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. It is required to convene on the second Wednesday of January each year. Along with the Illinois Senate and governor, it is vested with the power to make laws, come up with a state budget, act on federal constitutional amendments, and propose constitutional amendments to the state constitution. The Illinois House of Representatives also holds the power to impeach executive and judicial officials.
A person must be a U.S. citizen and two-year resident of an electoral district of at least 21 years of age to serve in the Illinois House of Representatives. Members of the House cannot hold other public offices or receive appointments by the governor while in office.
Composition of the House
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of previous legislature||64||54||118||0|
|Latest voting share||60%||40%|
The current Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives is Michael Madigan of Chicago, who represents the 22nd district. The Democratic Party of Illinois currently holds a majority of seats in the House. Under the Illinois Constitution, the office of minority leader is recognized for the purpose of making certain appointments. Tom Cross of Plainfield, a Republican representing the 84th district, currently holds the post.
- Speaker of the House: Michael Madigan
- Majority Leader: Barbara Flynn Currie
- Deputy Majority Leaders:
- Assistant Majority Leaders:
- Majority Conference Chair: Dan Burke
- Minority Leader: Tom Cross
- Deputy Minority Leaders:
- Assistant Minority Leaders:
- Minority Caucus Chair: JoAnn D. Osmond
- Clerk of the House: Timothy D. Mapes
- Chief Doorkeeper: Lee A. Crawford
- Parliamentarian: Heather Wier Vaught
- Assistant Clerk of the House: Bradley S. Bolin
- White, Jr., Ronald C. (2009). A. Lincioln: A Biography. Random House, Inc. ISBN 978-1-4000-6499-1, p. 59.
- VandeCreek, Drew E. Politics in Illinois and the Union During the Civil War (accessed May 28, 2013)
- "Cumulative Voting: The great debate over Illinois' unique system of electing legislators: No-ii760912.html". Lib.niu.edu. December 2, 1999. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- "FairVote - Illinois' Drive to Revive Cumulative Voting". Archive.fairvote.org. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- "FairVote - Black Representation Under Cumulative Voting in Illinois". Archive.fairvote.org. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- "Cumulative Voting - Illinois | The New Rules Project". Newrules.org. January 12, 2005. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- "HeinOnline". HeinOnline. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Constitution of the State of Illinois, Article IV, The Legislature (accessed May 28, 2013)
- "Current House Members (98th General Assembly)". Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Illinois House of Representatives|
- Illinois General Assembly - House official government website
- Illinois House Republicans official party website
- Illinois House Democrats official party website
- Legislature of Illinois at Project Vote Smart
- Illinois campaign financing at FollowTheMoney.org
- Illinois House of Representatives at Ballotpedia