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If it seems to you that more legislators are announcing their retirements than in the past, you're right, at least about the House.

With last week’s retirement announcement by Rep. Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, a total of 24 House members have either resigned or announced that they weren't running for reelection.

That compares to 16 state representatives who retired or resigned during the 99th General Assembly, a two-year period which ended this past January.

Seventeen House members retired or resigned during the 98th General Assembly. Sixteen retired or resigned during the 97th, and 17 resigned during the 96th. Members who lost reelection races and those who died aren't included in these figures.

So, that's an average of 16.5 retirements/resignations every two years. And we're already at 24 after only nine months of the 100th General Assembly.

Now, there are some caveats here. Two House members (Juliana Stratton and Litesa Wallace) are leaving to run for lieutenant governor. Another, Scott Drury, is running for attorney general.

Statewide bids by House members are pretty rare, mainly because their two-year terms requires giving up their seats. 

The Senate has so far seen seven retirements/resignations since January. Nine senators retired or resigned during the 99th General Assembly. Just one retired during the 98th. And 12 retired or resigned during the 97th, while six did so during the 96th GA. 

The House has twice as many members as the Senate, but more than three times as many House members have resigned or retired so far. 

The one senator we know for sure who quit because of the dysfunction was also the most high-profile resignation of the year: Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. Radogno sparred with the governor's campaign apparatus during the 2016 campaign season and then was repeatedly undercut by the governor and his team during her ultimately unsuccessful "grand bargain" negotiations with the Senate Democrats.

Just one Senate Republican, Dale Righter, voted for the income tax hike, and he is in the middle of a four-year term. But 15 House Republicans voted for that bill, although some didn't vote for the veto override. All of those Republicans were immediately denounced as essentially being Speaker Madigan-supporting traitors by the Illinois Republican Party. Gov. Rauner has since said that support for the education funding reform bill would cause him to forget the tax hike vote, but the damage was already done. The blowback from the folks back home was horrific.

Nine of the eleven House Republicans who've so far said they're not running again voted for the income tax hike.

Twelve House Democrats have so far either quit or announced they aren't running again. Several of those faced tough general election races next year if they ran again. Others said they'd just had enough of the war and wanted the heck out.

This sort of turnover (on top of any electoral losses next year) means that a higher percentage of House members will be newbies. So, remaining legislators with more experience (along with lobbyists and staff) will gain even more influence and power, unless those who are elected next year take much more independent stances - and that doesn't seem all that likely to me.

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Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and


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