Senator Martwick to skip legislative session as a precaution due to underlying health concerns
by BRIAN NADIG
State Senator Robert Martwick (D-10) will be skipping this week’s legislative session, as the Illinois Department of Public Health is urging legislators with serious health conditions not to make the trip to Springfield due to the pandemic.
“I have three of them …coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and diabetes,” the 54-year-old Martwick said Tuesday afternoon. The session is scheduled to run Wednesday through Friday, May 20-22, with the state budget as one of the agenda items.
“My health conditions are well-managed, but with with this disease it’s not known if the management (can be effective) or it’s just the fact that you have it,” said Martwick, who suffered a heart attack in 2016. “The information on this is so new and still developing.”
Martwick said that when he saw the department’s warning for those with underlying conditions “in all caps,” he decided it was best for him and his family to stay home. He added that he believes government policy on the pandemic should be based on science and expert health advice so it it only made sense for him to follow the department’s recommendation.
The coronavirus can be “very, very dangerous, if not fatal” for those with his underlying conditions, Martwick said.
Martwick plans to follow the proceedings remotely and be actively engaged, although only those legislators who are at the Capitol can vote. He said that very few legislators will be on the floor at any one time and that they will be working mostly from their offices.
Some other legislators also are expected not to be at the Capitol due to health concerns.
At least two Republican legislators have said that they would not commit to wearing a face mask or covering while in session. House Speaker Mike Madigan has said that all legislators and staff should wear face masks or coverings.
Martwick said that since being elected as a state representative in 2012 he believes he may have the top attendance record, having missed only two days of a session and never leaving early. In 2019, he was appointed to the senate.