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House will convene Aug. 17 on Smith's fate

The Illinois House of Representatives will convene for one day next month to consider whether to expel one of its own.

A day after a special House committee recommended that Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, lose his seat, Speaker Michael Madigan told members to be in Springfield on Friday, Aug. 17.

Smith has been indicted on federal bribery charges, accused of taking a $7,000 bribe in exchange for helping an FBI informant posing as the owner of a daycare center get a grant. He denies the allegations and has rejected calls to resign.

But, as House Democratic spokesman Steve Brown says, a bipartisan panel of representatives considered the evidence and voted 11-1 on Thursday “... to recommend to the full house that he be expelled. That report will be filed with the House and will be taken up on the 17th."

Will lawmakers try to do anything else in that session? Brown would only say it's up to the members. Madigan's memo to legislators makes clear he's only calling a one-day session.

Downstate lawmakers want to override Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of money to keep prisons open in Tamms and Dwight. And Quinn has hinted he might call a special session in August to deal with pension underfunding.

There's one potential wrinkle: Smith remains on the November election ballot. He already won his primary after being arrested.

Regardless of what lawmakers do that day, Smith remains on the November ballot. Even if he's expelled, if he wins the election he may re-seated in January.

And the Illinois Constitution says "a member may be expelled only once for the same offense."