State Representative Andrew Chesney took little time in Springfield to sharpen criticism of the process by which legislation is considered and debated in the Illinois House. Chesney joined Republican colleagues in voting NO on the Rules- the mechanism by which business is conducted in the House.
“The previous and new House rules stifle debate and give the Speaker total control, despite our status as a representative democracy,” said Chesney, who was sworn into office at the end of the 100th General Assembly. “The rights and responsibilities of legislators to represent their constituents and attempt to pass legislation on their behalf has been under attack in these rules for decades. That must end to move our state forward.”
Under House Rules, the all-powerful House Rules Committee has the ability to sideline any proposal not supported by Speaker Madigan and his legislative majority. Public Posting requirements are lax or non-existent and there are no limits on the amount of terms a legislative leader may serve.
“It is no secret that Speaker Madigan controls the agenda in Springfield, but whenever people ask how it can be stopped, I tell them there are two votes to do it- the vote to decide who is Speaker and the vote on the House Rules for each General Assembly,” Chesney declared.
In a counter-proposal supported by Rep. Chesney, public review and notification would be required for legislative business and all bills with bipartisan support would be required to have an up or down committee vote. As one might have come to expect in Illinois, this counter-proposal was assigned the House Rules Committee, where it died and was not debated by the Illinois House.
The Madigan-supported House Rules passed with no Republican votes 73-42. No Democrats joined Republicans in dissenting against Madigan’s Rules.