Starting this month, the Illinois General Assembly will return to session, with a scheduled conclusion in May. During session, legislators spend a significant amount of time in Springfield. This can make it difficult for residents to engage with the legislative process, but there are options to stay involved.
Communicating with legislators is one of the ways residents can continue to stay involved and further engage. Elected officials offer email addresses, district and Springfield office locations, office numbers, and surveys that residents can utilize. In both district and Springfield offices, legislators have different staff that field calls, emails, and meetings with residents and then report back to the official. Each legislator has a varying set up, but typically, either office may be contacted to leave a message for the legislator.
Another way to engage is to utilize a legislator’s government social media and website. On these websites and applications, legislators update the residents of their district on daily and weekly occurrences with information on legislation, events, district updates, Springfield updates, projects, and resources. By following up with your legislators on social media and checking their websites, residents can see what their elected officials are working on, including outside of the scheduled Springfield session, by having access to direct posts and new releases organically.
An important tool to consider using when engaging with the legislature is the Illinois General Assembly (ILGA) website. This is a state website that encompasses all elements of bills, committees, legislators, audio and video, and more that is all crucial to the legislative processes. At the ILGA Illinois General Assembly Home Page (ilga.gov) website, residents can conduct an inquiry on the status of a bill, file a witness slip to submit testimony in support or opposition of legislation, find office information for an elected official, read current bills and laws, and watch or listen to session and committee hearings. The site is free to use and is updated frequently to reflect changes.
Below are some helpful tips and additional websites to help Illinois residents interact with their elected officials and stay involved with the legislative process in Springfield:
- How to Find Your Local, State, and National elected officials? Click on the map on the State Board of Elections – Find My Elected Officials webpage and enter your address. Or you can use the handy maps at this website: Find and contact your Illinois state senator, house representative or Chicago alderman | Illinois Policy
- Who are the current members of the Illinois General Assembly? Find them here along with phone numbers, short bios, addresses, bills sponsored, and committee assignments: Illinois General Assembly – Senate Members and Illinois General Assembly – House Members.
- Looking for an overall guide to the legislative process? This Citizen Guide provides a lot of helpful information.
- Interested in knowing all about witness slips or the process behind filing one? Find info here Microsoft Word – ILGA Dashboard User Guide.docx and here How to File a Witness Slip | Illinois State Bar Association.
- If you want to watch or listen to video and audio of lawmakers debating during session times, the Illinois General Assembly website has you covered, when the Illinois General Assembly in session or a committee is meeting you can watch or listen in here: House of Representatives Video/Audio.
- Voters seeking more information on their candidates, voting by mail, voter registration, election results and more can head to the State Board of Elections website.
- How to view a session recording after it has ended? Using the respective links for the House or Senate allows citizens to search for what day of session they would like to view.