ILLINOIS — Lawmakers in the House passed a new rule requiring members of the state’s lower chamber to wear face coverings during the legislative session and removed a Republican who refused to comply.
In its first legislative session since March, the first order of business for the House was to vote on whether or not legislators should be required to wear a mask during the proceedings. The measure passed 97 to 12, but not without some controversy.
Some Republicans opposed the rule and said they would not wear a face covering or mask, but House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said anyone who did not comply could be temporarily removed from the Bank of Springfield Center where the House is meeting during the truncated special session.
After the vote, state Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, refused to use a face covering. After debate, a vote was taken on the removal of Bailey form the premises. The vote was 81 to 27 in favor. Bailey was escorted out after the vote
“I strongly believe these safety precautions are critical for us to gather in Springfield in a way that minimizes the risk of the infection among House members, their families, staff, the public, and subsequently in their home communities,” Madigan said in a statement.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Bailey had gone too far.
“The representative has shown a callous disregard for life, a callous disregard for people’s health,” the governor said during a news conference. “The representative has no interest in protecting others.”
Earlier in the day, Bailey had entered the Bank of Springfield Center through a public entrance, rather than the entrance for lawmakers. Protesters outside the center cheered Bailey as he walked through the crowd to enter the building.
Bailey was one of several lawmakers on the floor not wearing a face covering before the vote. Bailey submitted to a temperature check after entering the building.
The Center Square – Kevin Bessler