A Republican Illinois Rep. has been kicked out of the House after he refused to wear a mask despite the coronavirus pandemic, prompting the governor to respond that he has a ‘callous disregard for life’.
The Illinois House passed an order that required members, staff and visitors to the Bank of Springfield Center to wear a nose and mouth covering for the protection of others around who are potentially vulnerable or have loved ones at risk.
Asked to comply with the new rule announced by Democratic House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, Rep. Darren Bailey responded on the first day of the Illinois General Assembly’s special pandemic session: ‘I will not.’
‘[If] you want to send me or anyone else outside the doors today, I understand. Go right ahead,’ Bailey continued. ‘But know this: If you do that, you’re silencing millions of voices of people who have had enough.’
Illinois state Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Louisville, stands to leave the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield, Illinois on Wednesday
He was kicked out after he refused to put on a face covering despite new House rules requiring him to do so
Democratic Rep. Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch initiated the motion to remove him and House members voted 81-27 in favor of it.
‘Doormen, please remove Rep. Bailey,’ state Rep. Jay Hoffman (D) was heard saying before Bailey left smirking.
The only time House members are allowed to remove their mask is when eating and drinking but they told to stay at their socially distanced tables when doing so. However Bailey won a temporary restraining order against the governor which allows him to go mask-free.
The legislators have been gathering at the center, instead of in their chamber in the Illinois Capitol building a few blocks away, in order to have more space for social distancing.
Earlier in the day House Republican Leader Jim Durkin was seen speaking with Bailey for several minutes but didn’t appear to have any luck persuading him to wear a mask.
Durkin and a few other Republicans expressed annoyance at having to comply with the new rule but went along with it.
‘[If] you want to send me or anyone else outside the doors today, I understand. Go right ahead,’ Bailey said. He won a temporary restraining order last month that allows him to go against state requirements to wear a face mask in public
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin was seen speaking with Bailey for several minutes but didn’t appear to have any luck persuading him to wear a mask
‘We cannot ignore nor compromise the health and safety of every member of the General Assembly, their family members,’ Durkin said
‘We cannot ignore nor compromise the health and safety of every member of the General Assembly, their family members, every one of our staffers who works tirelessly for us,’ Durkin said, according to NPR.
‘I don’t think the people that sent us here to represent them today intended for us to focus our time on a mask showdown of whether you’re wearing it or you’re not,’ state Rep. Dan Brady (R) said.
However Rep. Dan Caulkins (R, Decatur) supported Bailey:’If someone chooses to exercise their right, I don’t think that we should take punitive action. I think this is a mistake,’
Bailey has been staunchly opposed to the protective measures and has claimed that wearing a face mask isn’t to protect others, despite what the CDC and coronavirus task force doctor Anthony Fauci has recommended.
‘This whole thing that it’s concern for other people? I don’t buy that at all,’ Bailey told the Washington Post Wednesday.
He claimed it’s not about health but ‘just another Democrat bullying tactic’. Bailey said he’d wear one if he was concerned for his own health but he’s not.
Democratic Rep. Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch initiated the motion to remove him and House members voted 81-27 in favor of it. Bailey is seen gathering his things in preparation to leave
Bailey leaves the center where legislators have been gathering instead of in their chamber in the Illinois Capitol building a few blocks away because it affords more space for to practice social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Illinois is the third worst affected state with more than 100,000 coronavirus cases and 4,525 deaths as of Thursday morning.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker blasted Bailey for his defiance.
‘The representative has shown a callous disregard for life, callous disregard for people’s health,’ Pritzker said. ‘You just heard a doctor tell you why to wear a mask in the first place. It’s to protect others. So clearly, the representative has no interest in protecting others.’
Last month Bailey sued Gov. J.B. Pritzker for extending the state’s stay-at-home order through until May 30.
Bailey claimed it was a violation of civil rights.
‘Enough is enough!’ Bailey said in a statement. ‘I filed this lawsuit on behalf of myself and my constituents who are ready to go back to work and resume a normal life.’
The case continues and is set to be heard on Friday.
On Tuesday hundreds of people gathered outside the Bank of Springfield Center demanding that the state reopen.
Bailey could return the House if he complies.
The Xenia, Illinois man hinted that he may change his mind when asked how he will represent his constituents if he isn’t on the House floor.
He responded to the Washington Post on Wednesday: ‘I don’t know. That’s something where I’ll have to decide whether I go back tomorrow and wear a mask or not.’
Protesters rally outside the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago, calling for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to reopen Illinois, Saturday, May 16
Illinois is the third worst affected state with more than 100,000 coronavirus cases and 4,525 deaths as of Thursday morning