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Government of Illinois facts for kids

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The government of Illinois, under the Constitution of Illinois, has three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch is split into several statewide elected offices, with the Governor as chief executive, and has numerous departments, agencies, boards and commissions. Legislative functions are granted to the General Assembly, which is a bicameral body consisting of the 118-member House of Representatives and the 59-member Senate. The judiciary is composed of the Supreme Court and lower courts.


The executive branch is composed of six elected officers and their offices as well as numerous other departments. The six elected officers are:


The government of Illinois has numerous departments, agencies, boards and commissions, but the code departments, so called because they're established by the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois, provide most of the state's services:

  • Department on Aging
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Central Management Services
  • Department of Children and Family Services
  • Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Department of Corrections
  • Department of Employment Security
  • Emergency Management Agency
  • Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
  • Department of Healthcare and Family Services
  • Department of Human Rights
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of the Lottery
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Department of Public Health
  • Department of Revenue
  • Department of State Police
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs

Regulations are codified in the Illinois Administrative Code. The Illinois Register is the weekly publication containing proposed and adopted rules.

Capital city

Springfield is designated as the Illinois capital. Many State of Illinois bureaucrats work in offices in Springfield, and it is the regular meeting place of the Illinois General Assembly. All persons elected in a statewide manner in Illinois are required to have at least one residence in Springfield, and the state government funds these residences.

As of 2014 none of the major constitutional officers in the State of Illinois designated Springfield as their primary residence; most cabinet officers and all major constitutional officers instead primarily do their business in Chicago. A former director of the Southern Illinois University Paul Simon Institute for Public Affairs, Mike Lawrence, stated that many of the elected officials in Illinois "spend so little time in Springfield". In 2012 St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Pat Gauen argued that because major state politicians such as the Governor of Illinois, as well as the Attorney General, Speaker of the House, the minority leader of the House, President of the Senate, the minority leader of the Senate, the Comptroller, and the Treasurer, all live in the Chicago area; because they work from the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago and that "Everybody who's anybody in Illinois government has an office in Chicago"; and because in March 2011 Governor Pat Quinn only spent a 68-day-40-night period in Springfield as per his official schedule, "in the reality of Illinois politics, [Springfield] shares de facto capital status with Chicago." University of Illinois researcher and former member of the Illinois legislature Jim Nowlan stated "It’s almost like Chicago is becoming the shadow capital of Illinois" and that "Springfield is almost become a hinterland outpost." Lawrence criticized the fact that state officials spent little time in Springfield since it estranged them from and devalued Illinois state employees based in that city.

In 2007 Illinois state representative Raymond Poe criticized Illinois agency heads who commute to Springfield with state financing while maintaining their primary residences in the Chicago area. He sponsored House Bill 1959, which proposed ending state financing for travel to Springfield.

According to Gauen, "Illinois seems rather unlikely to move its official capital to Chicago".

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