Out with the old legislators, in with the new - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Out with the old legislators, in with the new

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By Bill Miston

SPRINGFIELD (WREX) – Come Wednesday, Illinois' 97th General Assembly will convene, tackling state unemployment, pension problems and a budget deficit around $13 billion. 

As the state officers were sworn in today, members of house and senate will be sworn in Wednesday.  All will be challenged.

"Everybody's going to have to work together and work together quickly," said Rockford College Political Science Professor Bob Evans.  "Because there's just no alternative."

In remarks after his swearing in, Governor Pat Quinn praised the work of volunteers to the state of Illinois—adding it is them that make the state work.

"To make our state better, we must become an ethic of service, we must have many, many volunteers."

The house and senate will redraw districts for the Illinois house, senate and the U.S. house.  Particularly painful will be the loss of one U.S. representative seat.  Those results could affect state and federal policy—as well as the political make-up for the next 10 years.

"So as if the fiscal decision making wasn't hard enough, they're going to have to go at it over redistricting, and that's always a very, very divisive process," said Evans.

Evans says it's not possible to predict how the new legislators will fit in to the current political spectrum—it's something that will have to wait to be seen.

"The sate is going to have to right the ship and that's going to have to be done quickly, through painful decisions."

The next session officially begins on Wednesday, but lawmakers could be called in as early as tomorrow.

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