Specific Bills & Topics

The Legislative Process in Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly, our state legislature in Springfield, consists of a Senate (59 members) and a House of Representatives (118 members). The current General Assembly is the 97th; the 98th General Assembly will convene in January, 2013. Each General Assembly is two years in length. The session of the General Assembly begins in early January, and ends in late May. The General Assembly reconvenes in the fall for a veto session, during which it focuses on bills that have been vetoed or amendatorily vetoed by the governor. New bills may also be considered at that time.

Bills are introduced in both the House and Senate during a period of several weeks at the beginning of each session. Bills then move through a rule-governed process of readings, debate and committee hearings. Bills may be amended as they move through either house, sometimes to the extent that they no longer resemble the originally introduced bill. If the House passes a House bill, it goes to the Senate for passage, and vice-versa. Bills introduced into the Senate begin with "SB" and House bills begin with "HB"; a bill retains its original "HB" or "SB" identifier as it moves through both houses. When both the House and Senate have passed a bill, it is sent to the Governor to be signed into law. The Governor may sign a bill, veto it, or decide on an amendatory veto in which he makes specific recommendations for change. The Legislature can either accept the Governor's changes or override them.

Information about specific bills can be found at http://www.ilga.gov, the Illinois General Assembly website. In order to search for a specific bill, enter its number (i.e. SB500) in the search box in the left margin. This search provides a synopsis of the bill as it was first introduced and the progress of the bill through the legislature. The full text of a bill, as well as the text of any amendments, may be accessed by selecting "Full Text" at the top of the bill's page. Links to the Legislative Guide and Legislative Glossary appear in the left margin; these provide helpful information about using this site.

The Illinois Speech, Language and Hearing Association (ISHA) employs a lobbyist in Springfield, Jim Morphew of Sorling, Northrup, Hanna, Cullen & Cochran, Ltd. Jim identifies and monitors legislation that could impact our members and their clients, and works with legislators on our behalf, to further ISHA's interests at the state level.

Contacting legislators to inform them on the issues that are important to professionals and clients in the area of communication disorders is very important! You can easily identify and contact your state legislators, as well as your legislators in Washington via the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) website at http://takeaction.asha.org/asha2/home/. By entering your zip code/address you may search for your legislators, and then directly email them, or request that your contact be sent in letter form. Illinois legislators and their contact information are also listed on our state website at http://www.ilga.gov.

ISHA's Legislative Pairing Project

ISHA's Legislative Pairing Project consists of ISHA members willing to communicate with a specific legislator from their home district on an ongoing basis, in order to increase our grassroots lobbying efforts. A group of approximately 70 ISHA members are participating in this lobbying effort and are assigned a legislator from their home district. As a result, legislators will be contacted periodically by ISHA members via email/phone/personal visits. ISHA participants receive information and legislative updates via email to use in contacting their legislators. If you are interested in participating in this project please send an email to ISHA's Executive Director at executivedirector@ishail.org.