Jan 4, 2023 - Politics

Lame-duck session underway in Springfield

Illustration of the Illinois State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Lawmakers report to Springfield this week to wrap up 2022 business and look ahead to the 2023 spring session, which begins Jan. 11.

Why it matters: This gives outgoing lawmakers a chance to vote on legislation before their terms end next week.

  • Even though the lame-duck session usually takes on smaller items, lawmakers in both chambers are trying to move forward on a bill to ban assault weapons statewide.
  • The bill has come in response to the shootings in Highland Park last Fourth of July, the house version of which was introduced by State Rep. Bob Morgan, a Democrat from the North Shore.

State of play: There's a good chance an assault weapons ban bill will be voted on before the new General Assembly is sworn in.

  • Democratic leaders in both chambers have super majorities, yet leaders are still wrangling the votes, according to Politico.

Yes, but: The Illinois Rifle Association's Richard Pearson told NPR the bill is unconstitutional and that the group will fight it in court if it passes.

Meanwhile, lawmakers could also address gasoline taxes. Gov. JB Pritzker suspended the gas tax because of inflation back in July 2022, but that ended Jan. 1.

  • If lawmakers don't counter the tax, drivers will continue to see an increase of 3.1 cents per gallon at the pump.
  • The overall tax on gasoline in Illinois is 42.4 cents per gallon, the second-highest in the nation, behind California's.
  • The grocery tax will remain suspended until July.

What they're saying: "Illinois residents are no strangers to tax increases, but the weight of inflation partnered with increased taxes isn’t sustainable," Rep. Chris Bos, a Republican from Lake Zurich co-sponsoring a House bill, said in a statement.

The intrigue: When the governor moved to suspend both the gas and grocery tax last July, Republicans called it an "election year gimmick."


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