GOP Lawmaker Booted From Meeting For Refusing Wearing Face Mask

Posted 12 days ago


Downstate lawmaker Rep. Darren Bailey was booted from the Illinois House on Wednesday — with the help of some of his fellow Republicans — after refusing to wear a face covering during the first of three House sessions.

Bailey’s defiance was no surprise. The southern Illinois Republican had publicly said he would not cover his face. The lawmaker from Xenia is also suing Gov. J. B. Pritzker over his executive order that mandated a stay-at-home extension until May 29.

The Democratic governor offered his own opinion about Bailey on Wednesday, calling his decision to go maskless “a callous disregard for life, callous disregard for people’s health.”

Bailey’s ouster provided some drama in a day marked more by confrontations than legislation.

Just hours earlier, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin traded words with a protester outside the special session at the Bank of Springfield Center, taking her to task for a sign comparing Pritzker to Adolf Hitler.

The Western Springs Republican told the demonstrator that her “J. B. Hitler must go” sign was offensive and didn’t help her cause.

“They should be offended by our governor,” said Brittany Emel, the protester who Durkin confronted.

Inside the Bank of Springfield convention center, the House vote to remove Bailey after he refused to comply with newly-adopted House rules that required members, staff and visitors to wear a face-covering over their nose and mouth, if they are medically able to do so.

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, made a motion to remove Bailey from the House proceedings after he asked Bailey to comply, and he responded “I will not.”

During debate on the motion, state Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, urged fellow Republicans to comply with the rules, but argued “there’s more important things that we could be doing with our time right now.”

State Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, warned the 109 House members in attendance that there are no assurances that they won’t contract COVID-19 during their trip to Springfield.

“None of us can guarantee that we’re COVID negative over the course of the next three days,” Zalewski said, arguing the masks were to protect others. “So if you’re not going to do it for yourself, if you’re not going to do it for your colleagues, respectfully, as a matter of course, please do it for your staff and those that are working very hard to conduct the pe... (Read more)