How an Idea Becomes a Law in Chicago

How an Idea Becomes a Law in Chicago

Chicago is a home rule unit of government, presided over by a Mayor and City Council and divided into ‘wards.'  Each of the 50 wards is represented in the Council by an Alderman.  The Mayor is responsible for the administration of various city departments and submits proposals, recommendations and the annual budget to the City Council.  The process is governed by the Illinois Revised Statutes, the Municipal Code of Chicago, and the City Council’s Rules of Order.  
 
  • Legislation is introduced by Mayor, the executive department, one or more aldermen, a City Council Committee, or a citizen through the City Clerk’s Office.
  • The Clerk gives a brief summary of newly proposed legislation at a Council meeting, including sponsor and committee to which the legislation is assigned.
  • Committee chairmen schedule a meeting. 
  • Notice is posted in the City Clerk’s Office, on its website and outside the City Council Chamber.
  • Citizens wishing to testify at a committee meeting should contact the committee prior to the scheduled meeting.
  • The Committee reports to the full City Council on recommended action.
  • A roll call vote may be requested.
  • The Mayor may veto legislation by notifying the City Council of same before the next regular Council meeting occurring not less than five days after the vote. An override of such veto requires 2/3 of the elected members.
  • All meetings are open to the public.  City Council meetings are live streamed.