All this talk about who will become U.S. House speaker has us thinking about the Illinois House speaker — and just in time as lawmakers are back in Springfield for the fall veto session.
What Does the Illinois House Speaker Do?
Like the U.S. House, the Illinois speaker is chosen by fellow representatives. The leader formally calls votes, decides on parliamentary issues, and maintains decorum. That’s in addition to selecting the majority, deputy majority, and assistant majority leaders as well as appointing chairs of committees.
Indicted former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan in 2010. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Tribune / Getty)
But the Illinois speaker’s role was shaped by Mike Madigan, who held the position for 36 years before losing the speakership then resigning as state representative in 2021 amid a federal investigation into bribery and corruption charges.
Then–Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley had sent Madigan, a protégé, to be a delegate at the Illinois Constitutional Convention in 1970.
“The reason Mike Madigan knew the rules so well is because he wrote the rules,” Axios’ Justin Kaufmann told City Cast Chicago. As speaker and state Democratic party chair, Madigan exercised broad political power, from redistricting to patronage favors.
How is House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch Faring?
The west suburban lawmaker is in his second term as speaker, where he’s overseen the assault weapons ban and the SAFE-T Act as well as seen the House’s Democratic supermajority grow.
This veto session, Welch said he’d push a bill allowing legislative staffers to unionize after a group of his employees attempted to establish one.