January 20, 2021

Anxious Illinoisans make voices heard on first day of legislative session

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Lawmakers returning to Springfield for the first day of the legislative session were greeted by protesters.

Following Saturday where around 800 protesters ascended on the statehouse, anxious Illinoisans made sure their voices were heard as the stay-at-home order continues.

The Senate met at the capitol, while the House convened inside the Bank of Springfield Convention Center.

Members quickly changed the rules to require face coverings. But GOP Representative Darren Bailey, who sued the governor over the stay-at-home order, refused to wear a mask.

His colleagues voted to kick him out.

“Why did I need to be told to wear a mask?” Bailey said. “This is a free House. We live in a free country. I have nine grandchildren and this is about their future.”

Another Republican representative, who also sued, had a different take.

“I want to be respectful and want to make sure that we don’t put anybody at risk that we don’t need to,” Rep. John Cabello said.

Gov. Pritzker, now out of quarantine, is back at the statehouse. After consulting with senior lawmakers, Pritzker abandoned an emergency rule making business owners who violate his stay-at-home order subjected to a Class A misdemeanor.

“My administration has decided to withdraw this rule,” Gov. Pritzker said.

Democrats said they’re writing legislation to fine businesses that violate Pritzker’s orders.

Up next is a fight over what could be a $7 billion budget hole.