The seminar was a guide to the legislative process in Illinois.
On a practical note everyone interested in following legislation in this state should have the Illinois General Assembly website marked as a favorite or part of their homepage. Here is the link.
Under the "Reports & Inquiry" section on the home page there is a subsection "My Legislation". If you click on that and register "this feature allows you to create, store, and maintain customized lists of bills to track. It also allows you to create, store, and maintain customized queries to produce your own reports on legislation."
But while you are tracking legislation you have to beware of the "shell bills" which seem to be the legislative equivalent of the shell game.
Here is the definition of shell game: 1.gambling game: a form of the game thimblerig in which spectators bet on the final location of an object hidden under one of three walnut shells or cups that have been shuffled. 2.fraudulent scheme: a scheme for defrauding or deceiving people.
Here is a description of the use of the shell bill from a September 26, 2011 post from halfwayinteresting, a champaign county community blog. HalfwayInteresting.com is owned and operated by Eric Bussell & Associates LLC Here is the link to them.
"In the Illinois Legislature, there are deadlines for filing bills to be considered by the General Assembly...There are a whole group of bills called 'shell bills' that may be amended at any time.. Some estimate that as much as 10% of the bills introduced in the General Assembly are 'Shell Bills', and these are used by both parties in the legislature.
...Shell Bills frustrate lobbyists and advocacy organizations. Here's what the National Association of Social Workers lobbyist said: Unfortunately, for those of us who try to track legislation, there are hundreds of "shell" bills in both houses controlled by legislative leaders. A "shell" bill is a bill with only technical changes that could be used at a later time for substantive amendments. We simply have no idea what might be amended onto these shell bills. So, while we think there is a "process" and deadlines for moving bills along, the reality is that we are in the dark about potentially significant legislation that might appear on short notice in a shell bill amendment."
Back in June 2003, I believe it was the use/misuse of shell bills that resulted in the bill regarding the O'Hare Modernization being run through a late evening public hearing process so that there could be a rush vote at night. Not the way to run a democracy.
The Illinois General Assembly website.