The Illinois House of Representatives passed floor rules on Wednesday ahead of adjournment.
Democrats currently hold a super-majority in both chambers of the General Assembly. House Republicans have called for greater transparency, equity, and a fairer process for legislation introduced in either chamber.
Following a Wednesday afternoon vote on the new rules, House Republicans believe the rules adopted by the House, along party lines, ensure that the old way of doing business in the General Assembly will remain in place for at least two more years.
100th District State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer of Jacksonville took to the floor during debate to speak about rules changes proposed by Republicans that were rejected by Democrats: “I don’t think [our proposals] ties your hands on what direction to go. At the end of the day, I think these rules [we have proposed] are about fairness, about respect across the aisle, and about providing the equity that we discuss right here underneath this Capitol dome on this side of the Capitol. So, I hope that we can truly continue to work on this. This is a resolution that can be amended. I want to continue to work on these issues because none of these issues will effect your ability to continue to operate the way you have been operating. It will only provide more factual information by which we can make our important decisions.”
99th District State Representative Randy Frese of Quincy says that having a set of rules for one side and not for the other is problematic: “The rules are made by the majority party, passed by the majority party in favor of the majority party. It’s sometimes a difficult thing to wrap your brain around, but listen, if we don’t play by the rules, what’s the use of playing then. There is a set of rules for every engagement we have in life and when one side has to abide by the rules and the other side can suspend the rules when they so choose, it gets to be problematic for the people of the State of Illinois.”
Frese says that Democrats sometimes play by the rules they set and sometimes they don’t: “I think it’s ironic that two years ago, we passed the rules on the floor of the Convention Center, and I think the very next vote we took after that was to suspend the rules because [Democrats] wanted to move something. They are not always used as a last minute effort to try to get something through. Sometimes they are just used whenever it’s convenient for them. I don’t like it. Again, I think it’s an uneven playing field and it always favors the majority party.”
The House will remain in session the remainder of the month of February and into March, with the deadline for new legislation due on February 17th.