Masks continue to stand in the way of the Illinois General Assembly from doing business.
In the first half-hour of House session yesterday at the Capitol the leaders of each party made calls for civility.
House Speaker Chris Welch and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin had a message for all the members of the chamber: the public is watching and it’s time to get to work.
Tensions have been high in the chamber. Tuesday to Thursday last week, several GOP members refused to wear face coverings, accusing Democrats of hypocrisy for enforcing mask requirements on the House floor, but not at fundraising events, and faulting the majority party for not taking votes on the governor’s authority to issue statewide mask mandates. That led to a Thursday motion by Rep. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, to remove nine Republicans from the floor for failing to comply with House rules.
According to Capitol News Illinois, three members were removed yesterday, Reps. Dan Caulkins of Decatur, Blaine Wilhour of Beecher City, and Adam Niemerg of Dietrich. All three were allowed to participate in remote voting. Wilhour currently has an active lawsuit about the removals, suing Welch for the mask mandate. Wilhour is being represented by Attorney Thomas DeVore.
The House rules about masks and temperature checks were approved last Spring when the House convened in an abbreviated session after canceling multiple sessions due to Covid-19’s delta variant surge.