What does an Illinois State Rep do?


Ever wonder what a member of the Illinois State House of Representative does, how much time they devote to this "part time" job andhow much they get paid? Here are some answers to those questions. 

The Legislature
Illinois's legislature is bicameral, the upper chamber is the Senate and lower is the House, like our Federal structure. The Senate has 59 members, currently 37 Democrats and 22 Republicans. In the House there are currently 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans (total 118).  

State Representatives are elected every two years and State Senators are voted in every four years. 

Both houses operate under the 1970 Illinois Constitution Annotated for Legislators, Fourth Edition.

According to the Illinois Constitution, "The General Assembly shall enact laws only by bill. Bills may originate in either house, but may be amended or rejected by the other…No bill shall become a law without the concurrence of a majority of the members elected to each house. Final passage of a bill shall be by record vote. In the Senate at the request of two members, and in the House at the request of five members." 

"Laws that have passed the legislature are referred to as public laws or statutes," as explained in Understanding the Illinois Constitution, 2001 Edition, by Frank Kopecky and Mary Sherman Harris. 

"A series of laws on the same topic are known as acts or codes. There are various types of bills that the legislature considers. 

"Most bills are amendments changing laws that were passed in previous legislative sessions. The legislature often undertakes a major revision of the laws and enacts an entire code or act such as the Juvenile Court Act, passed in 1966; the Environmental Protection Act passed in 1970; and the Code of Corrections, passed in 1973…Occasionally, the legislature passes a bill known as a codification bill that places laws that are found throughout the statutes in one particular code. 

"The constitution places special restrictions on revenue and appropriation bills. A revenue bill raises taxes and an appropriation bill authorizes the spending of money." 

Representatives have fiscal responsibilities as well. The budget is part of that responsibility. It is where the State’s priority programs and plans are outlined. High priority programs are given increased funds, while low priority programs are not increased or are reduced. 

The budget must be approved by the legislature before it becomes effective. The legislature then passes appropriations bills, which authorize State spending. 

Each Representative has roughly 108,734 constituents as a result of the 2010 census. 

Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, 22nd District, has served in the House since 1983 and has been speaker all those years except for two. 

The House is in session between January and May and the number of days they are in session in Springfield ranges. In 2015 it was 85; 2016 it was 65; and 2017 it was 97. 

Each Representative is provided $69,000 for staff and office expenses annually. They may use campaign money to supplement their office expenses. 

Ranked 5th in the country in salary amount paid to reps, their base salary is $67,836. States ranking higher in base pay are California, $100,113; Michigan, $71,685; Pennsylvania, $85,339; and New York, $79,500. 

In addition to the base salary, those who take leadership roles receive an additional stipend. All receive health care benefit, dental benefit, mileage for travel reimbursement, $111 per diem when in session and Taxpayer-paid portion of normal pension cost. 

In 2016, Cynthia Soto was compensated with a total of $109.031 while Speaker Madigan received $128,327.00. 


Opportunity to Meet the Candidates for the 4th District Illinois State Rep will start at 6:30 p.m. at 1420 W. Augusta. It is your opportunity to answer your questions.


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