Gus Philpott, publisher of Woodstock Advocate, has been watching the General Assembly in action recently.
You can, too. Look here.
The last days of the session are particularly busy and often run late into the night.
And what do visitors to the chamber remark most about?
It’s staffers and legislators going from desk to desk to punch buttons when legislators are not at their seats.
In days past, that could be somewhat explained by members being on conference committees at the end of the session. Indeed, when the House chambers were remodeled, a glass walled room was constructed where such deliberations could take place within sight of one’s seat (at least if one were a House member of a conference committee).
Now the practice of ghost voting is visible on the internet.
It is made possible when members do not take their keys with them when they leave the floor.
Philpott writes of seeing it in the Senate here.
It’s not limited to the Senate.
You can read about how someone voted my switch when I was absent here.
When I was in my first year in the Illinois House–1973–one Democrat was on the floor so rarely that I thought he was a lobbyist. (Lobbyists were allowed on the floor then, at least at the edges of the floor. That was before House Speaker Bob Blair built plexiglass windows around the sides of the House chamber, earning him the nickname “Bulletproof Bob.”)
Thinking about the live broadcasting of House sessions reminds me of how I was fascinated by listening to WBBM radio on night in the late 1960’s. The station broadcast what the House was doing for several hours. It fascinated me.
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House Bill 332, by the way does nothing. It is a place holder for some subject matter on which sponsor House Speaker Mike Madigan might want some senator to amend something.
Bills like this make it virtually impossible for the public to follow what is happening in Springfield.
That is the entire point, of course.