Illinois in Transition
What will one-party rule bring to Illinois?
Marty Green, Esq.
ICPAS VP of Government Relations
Illinois state government is in transition after Illinoisans voted in a Democratic trifecta,
electing Chicago Democrat J.B. Pritzker as governor and solidifying the Democratic Party’s
hold on the Illinois House and Senate. Will one-party rule bring needed change to Illinois
The Illinois Constitution provides that the governor-elect will be inaugurated on Jan. 14, 2019.
Following the inauguration, Pritzker will assume the reins of state government and deliver his
State of the State Address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly, which also sets
the stage for a future budget address. It is through these addresses that Pritzker will introduce
his immediate legislative priorities. The enormity of all of this for a newly elected governor is
further compounded by the fact that it all occurs within a few short weeks.
Recognizing the complexities of turning over state control to a new governor, chapter 15 of
the Illinois Compiled Statues provides for “the orderly transition in the Office of the Governor.”
Even before the end of a gubernatorial campaign, campaign policy staff begin establishing a
transition plan in the event of a victory. During the short time between the election and
inauguration, the governor-elect then must select a cabinet and staff and establish plans to
execute campaign platforms, govern, and lead the day-to-day functions of state government.
As someone who has experienced the transitioning of governors firsthand — I was a part of a
small team involved with transitioning Jim Edgar into office in 1991 — I can attest to the
Pritzker appears to have hit the ground running at least. The day after the election he
announced the formation of his transition team, chaired by Julianna Stratton, his lieutenant
governor, which includes a diverse, bi-partisan group of respected political veterans like former
Governor Jim Edgar, former Comptroller Dan Hynes, Rep. Christian Mitchell, and former
Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno.
While much comes with the changing of the guard at the governor’s office, the Illinois General
Assembly is set to undergo its own change. Over 40 new legislators will be sworn in for the
first time when Illinois’ 101st General Assembly is seated on Jan. 9.
This unprecedented and historic amount of turnover in the assembly is likely to change Illinois’
legislative landscape considering Democrats secured a veto-proof super majority in the House and further solidified their veto-proof super
majority in the Senate. With this influx of
new legislators, I foresee an increase in
legislation introductions, which could
potentially have far reaching impacts on
you, your business, and your clients.
Another part of the legislative transformation
comes with the selection of new majority
leaders in both the House and Senate. These
important leadership positions were vacated
due to retirements, creating an even greater
leadership vacuum. Veteran legislators who
currently hold key leadership positions as
committee chairs will most likely vie to
move up to the majority leader positions,
while new rank-and-file legislators will be
assigned to committees and other legislators
with seniority will angle for assignments on
So, what does all this mean for the CPA
profession? It’s difficult to predict just yet.
What I can tell you is that we’re reaching
out to the transition teams of Pritzker and
Attorney General-elect Kwame Raoul, and
all new members of the General Assembly,
to familiarize them with the Illinois CPA
Society and the CPA profession. We’ve
provided them with transition briefing sheets
on the regulations and issues important to
the CPA profession. More importantly for
now, we continue to communicate and
work with legislators and their teams to
position the Society and its members as
trusted resources. This is a crucial and
important time in state government as our
newly elected government leaders prepare
to assume their constitutional duties and
serve the people of Illinois.
We will continue to monitor cabinet
announcements and staff choices, we will
continue to keep you updated on the
reformation of our state’s government, and
we will continue to make ourselves
available as indispensable professional
resources to our state’s leaders.
We thank Gov. Rauner and Mrs. Rauner,
and all those who are exiting positions in
Illinois government, for their service and
wish them the best. And we welcome
soon-to-be Gov. Pritzker and Mrs. Pritzker
and their team, and all those new to Illinois
government, and the possibilities they
bring as they begin their new duties. Now,
let’s see what kind of change occurs.
Author’s Note: This column includes my
personal observations of the evolution of the
legislative environment and are not necessarily
the views of the Illinois CPA Society.