Lawmakers Fight Over Chamber Rules

Jan 31, 2013

The Illinois House of Representatives was back in Springfield Wednesday. But lawmakers only voted on one significant piece of business, and it was a bitter, partisan fight.

Democratic Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie

The one major debate was over a change to the House rules, which govern the ins and out of daily operations and how legislation moves through the chamber.

Any lawmaker can file a bill to do anything. But now Democratic leaders have more control over what can actually come up for a vote.

Democratic Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, from Chicago, says the change is meant to address "technical problems" and make the House more efficient.

"That we keep our eye on the prize, that we tend to our knitting, that we remember that our job here is not to be a Sunday afternoon debating society." - Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie

But Republicans, like Rep. Jim Durkin of Western Springs, say the rules deprive their constituents of representation.

"They want us to be equal partners in this process. These rules do not allow it." - Rep. Jim Durkin

Republicans took the opportunity to call out freshman Democrats by name, many of whom campaigned on pledges of independence from their party leaders. The rules passed on a party-line vote.

Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report