The two-year General Assembly cycle began anew during the week of January 12-16, as lawmakers closed the 95th General Assembly and opened the 96th. Unlike most new legislative sessions, however, lawmakers made history immediately upon convening, according to Senator Tim Bivins.

Most notable was that the session was convened for the first time ever by a Governor who has been impeached by the House of Representatives and who will shortly stand trial in the Senate.

As required by the Illinois Constitution, Governor Rod Blagojevich convened the Senate January 14 while new Senators were sworn in and a Senate president was elected. Once the new Senate president had been elected, Governor Blagojevich left the Senate chamber after making only brief comments and congratulatory remarks to the lawmakers.

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