It looks like the Mike Madigan era will end today, with west suburban Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch in line to become the first new Democratic speaker of the Illinois House in four decades.

Welch technically still is short of the 60 votes he needs. In a third roll call this morning, he had 55 with 17 present and one not voting, Madigan.

But one top inside source close to the matter tells me it’s over, that Welch and his only remaining foe, downstate Rep. Jay Hoffman, on the cusp of an agreement to end it. The 17 "present" votes are believed to have come from Hoffman backers.

“This will be done by 12,” that source says. “Jay and Chris will work it out. “

How they’ll work it out is not yet known in detail. But typically such arrangements are oiled with committee chairmanships, appointments to leadership spots and the like.

In confirmation that things are about to change, Madigan’s spokesman told Politico that the speaker, who has held office for all but two years since 1983, is packing personal effects in his office. That jibes with reports last night that packing had begun in Madigan’s office on the third floor of the capital.

A new Legislature is due to be sworn in by noon, and after sessions that went well into the early morning hours presumably just about everyone in Springfield would like to get this done.

The Legislature, or at least the House, could do little if anything legally without an elected speaker in the chair.  

Originally published on this site