Republican Representative Now Suing After Being Kicked Off Illinois State House Floor For Not Masking

Republican Representative Now Suing After Being Kicked Off Illinois State House Floor For Not Masking

Last Thursday, several Illinois Republican representatives were blocked from the state House floor after refusing to comply with the state capitol’s mask mandate. On Friday, one of the lawmakers who was booted off the House floor sued to end the chamber’s mask mandate. 

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Hillside) is being sued by Republican state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) over the masking rules. 

“It’s a total lack of common sense,” Wilhour said on Thursday. “It’s a total lack of critical thought. The people of Illinois are done with it.” 

The Republicans who refused to comply were booted out of the chambers, but allowed to participate virtually after Democrats voted to kick them out. A motion by Rep. Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago) to kick out the Republicans for not masking passed 66-39. 

State Reps. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford), Tony McCombie (R-Savanna), Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City), Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville), Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich), David Welter (R-Morris), David Friess (R-Red Bud), Chris Miller (R-Oakland), and Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) were those who were voted off the floor. 

“Every minute we waste talking to you all while you are over there whining about wearing a mask, those people are still suffering and need your help,” Collins claimed. 

Despite the vote, Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) stayed and did not put on her mask while other Republicans left. “Mind your own business, mitigate your own risk,” she said. 

“I find it pretty unfortunate that this is the second vote we’re having to remove members of the body and we haven’t taken one vote or held one hearing on the governor’s mitigations,” Rep. Mark Batinick (R) said. “You guys have chosen to abdicate your duty to provide oversight. Live with it.”

The lawsuit was filed by attorney Thomas DeVore for both Wilhour and himself. DeVore has sued to block certain COVID-19 restrictions in the past. 

“They can’t kick my House member out,” said DeVore, who filed the suit in Bond County. 

Illinois’ statewide indoor mask mandate is slated to expire on February 28 for the majority of locations. 

This fight over masks was happening as states across the country are announcing ends to mask mandates, including many Democrat-dominated states.

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee (D) announced last week that the mask mandate for most indoor places, including schools, will end on March 21. 

“To those who think maybe it should end earlier, all I can tell you is we lost 1,000 people in January to this disease,” Inslee said. “And when we make decisions, it seems to me we ought to have a recognition of how dangerous and deadly this disease still is after this period of time.”

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) also announced last week the end of public indoor mask mandates in her state.

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