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Illinois Senate

NameIllinois State Senate
LegislatureIllinois General Assembly
Coa PicSeal of Illinois.svg
Session RoomIllinois State Senate.jpg
House TypeUpper house
Term LimitsNone
New SessionJanuary 12, 2011
Leader1 TypePresident of the Senate
Leader1John Cullerton
Election1January 14, 2009
Leader2 TypeMajority Leader
Leader2James Clayborne, Jr.
Election2November 20, 2008
Leader3 TypeMinority Leader
Leader3Christine Radogno
Election3November 19, 2008
Term Length4 years
AuthorityArticle IV, Illinois Constitution
Salary$67,836/year + per diem
Political Groups1Democratic Party (35)
Republican Party (24)
Last Election1November 2, 2010
(21 seats)
Next Election1November 6, 2012
(21 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative Control
Meeting PlaceState Senate Chamber
Illinois State Capitol
Springfield, Illinois

     Home | Legislature | Illinois Senate

The Illinois Senate is the upper chamber of the Illinois General Assembly, the legislative branch of the government of the state of Illinois in the United States. The body was created by the first state constitution adopted in 1818. The Illinois Senate is made up of 59 senators elected from individual legislative districts determined by population. Under the Illinois Constitution of 1970, senators are divided into three groups, each group having a two-year term at a different part of the decade between censuses, with the rest of the decade being taken up by two four-year terms. Depending on the election year, roughly one-third, two-thirds, or all Senate seats may be contested. In contrast, the Illinois House of Representatives is made up of 118 members with its entire membership elected to two-year terms. House districts are formed by dividing each Senate district in half.

The Illinois Senate convenes at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Its first official working day is the second Wednesday of January each year. Its primary duties are to pass bills into law, approve the state budget, confirm appointments to state departments and agencies, act on federal constitutional amendments and propose constitutional amendments for Illinois. It also has the power to override gubernatorial vetoes through a three-fifths majority vote. The Illinois Senate tries impeachments made by the House of Representatives, and can convict impeached officers by a two-thirds vote.

Voting in the Illinois Senate is done by members pushing one of three buttons. Unlike most states, the Illinois Senate allows members to vote yes, no, or present. It takes 30 affirmative votes to pass legislation during final action. The number of negative votes does not matter. Therefore the use of the present vote has the same effect as voting no.

The Democratic Party of Illinois currently holds a majority in the Illinois Senate.

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