So far, though, the experience has been mostly a letdown.
Unable to reach an agreement on a new state budget and weeks into an overtime session, Governor Rod Blagojevich and the four legislative leaders have invited rank-and-file members to their budget meetings the last few days.
Leaders and members are split on whether the practice is helpful in producing a budget agreement, or even whether it should continue.
Some argue it's a benefit to the process to have more people involved in decision-making.
Others say it's mostly a gimmick that isn't advancing negotiations but instead is delaying more serious negotiations.