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GOP state reps segregated from IL House floor for resisting COVID mask mandate

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SPRINGFIELD – This week at the State Capitol, State Representative Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich) along with State Representatives Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville); Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur); Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City); and Chris Miller (R-Oakland) defied the Illinois House mask rules and were forced to vote on bills remotely instead of on the House floor.

The Democrat-controlled Illinois House continued imposing their two-year old mask mandate, despite less and less science that masks are effective in preventing the spread of COVID. Thursday, nine GOP lawmakers were ousted from the chambers in the following vote: 

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“For the third day in a row, we refused to comply with the House mask mandate because of our commitment to highlight the unnecessary school mask mandate and because we are tired of rules and policies that don’t make any sense," the lawmakers said in a statement issued Thursday.

"This time the Democrat majority followed through with their threat to remove us from the House floor and we were forced to vote on bills remotely instead of in person on the House floor."

At one point House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch stated that there were more important things to do than spend time on the House floor debating masks.

"His statement illustrates how out of touch the Democrat majority is when it comes to the frustration of parents across the state of Illinois," the lawmakers said. "These parents are tired of the cruelty brought on their children with these senseless mask mandates at schools. They are tired and frustrated and they want someone to listen to them. What can be more important than the concerns of parents about what is happening to their children?"

The five lawmakers then turned their message to the thousands of parents that the Democrats and their teacher unions continue to ignore and resist.

"Our message to Illinois parents is simple. We are listening to you. We stand with you, and we support you," they said.

The lawmakers said Democrats are feeling the heat because the public has had enough of the two years of the mandates and the disregard for their concerns.

"We must be resolved now more than ever to return Illinois to normalcy. We are going to keep fighting for your rights as parents to make healthcare decisions for your kids and we hope you will keep fighting too,” the five said. 

Later in the day, The Center Square reports what happened - 

Later in the day, attorney Thomas DeVore, who has a temporary restraining order against the governor's mask mandates in schools, filed suit against House Speaker Emanual “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, in Bond County Circuit Court. The lawsuit, DeVore said, is on behalf of his state Rep. Blaine Whilhour, R-Beecher City, and himself as an individual.

“Speaker Welch has no authority whatsoever to place quarantine measures on the peoples’ representatives to keep them out of that chamber,” DeVore told The Center Square. “It doesn’t even make any sense.”

Welch’s office didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

 

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