While the Illinois House Republicans made some decent points last week when arguing against the chamber’s new rules, they all but dismissed some pretty darned historic changes.
For years, decades even, the House Republicans have argued for leadership term limits. House Speaker Michael Madigan rebuffed them at every single turn. Heck, Madigan retaliated against members of his own party who dared broach the subject.
Remember in 2018 when labor union leaders loyal to Madigan revolted against then-Senate President John Cullerton when he aired TV ads for four suburban candidates who argued for leader term limits, including limits on the House Speaker? Cullerton was threatened so strongly with financial retribution that he had to pull down the ads and agree not to ever do that again.
The new rules also mean House committees will be allowed to meet virtually as long as the House isn’t in session. That’s a good step during the pandemic, but I’m not sure it’s something they should be doing after this nightmare is finally over.
The demand is also a clear and open invitation to parliamentary mischief. Republicans could easily flood the zone with bills and bog down every single committee in perpetuity. They did it many years ago and paralyzed the House with hundreds of floor amendments, before those rules were tightened up.
Most Republican legislators here are not that far “out there,” but empowering folks who say things like that just ain’t going to be very high on the Democrats’ agenda. Those characters could be ignored or even laughed at before the violent Jan. 6 insurrection. No longer.
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