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Illinois House: New day in Springfield or same style blocking GOP bills?

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State representatives passed many bills with bipartisan support Thursday, but Republican members blasted Democratic leadership for not calling their bills for votes.

While Democrats have a supermajority in the chamber, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said Democrats had a six to one ratio for bills called Thursday night. He stressed that Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch called for a “new day in Springfield” after taking over Mike Madigan’s throne, although he hasn’t seen it.

“I see a trend occurring,” Durkin said. “Yesterday’s tally was 45 Democrat bills call, two Republican. So, our freshman on the other side of the aisle who campaigned on these great hopes of bringing a new bipartisan approach to the legislative process, you’re now part of it.”

Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) was also frustrated after members debated several animal-related bills instead of major issues.

“Listen to your own words, listen to your Speaker’s words,” Butler exclaimed. “We’ve got a lot of people. We represent 5 million Illinoisans on this side of the aisle, 5 million. And our bills are being ignored. I’m sick of it.”

Butler threw his House calendar across the chamber during this statement. He also said Republicans were sick of the business style under Madigan. Butler feels Welch is using the same system to block Republican proposals now.

Democrats defended the Speaker for his attempts to work with Republicans. They also argued the GOP members weren’t acting mature on the floor. Rep. Thadeus Jones (D-Calumet City) alluded to situations where former state representative and current Congressman Mike Bost threw paper and ranted about Democrats.

“We’ve been down this road before where people have thrown things on the House floor. I think it’s time that stops,” Jones added. “We all have to recognize the decorum that we should operate under on the House floor and not act like little children and throw stuff. I guarantee you, you throw something at me…you’re gonna have a problem.”

Jones also noted there’s almost 4,000 bills filed in the House this year with 1,000 heard. He explained Republican bills appeared on the consent calendar along with the Democratic bills. Jones said Democrats had 68 bills called from the consent calendar and 48 Republican bills voted on from that list as well.

“Stop playing games, stop throwing things at people and trying to injure us and start using decorum. I mean paint the real picture and have your leadership tell you the real deal,” Jones said. “We’re all grown ups here.”

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Mike Miletich

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