Wilhour: GOP has little chance to introduce legislation in current system
State Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Effingham) says he is concerned that Springfield is teetering on the brink of becoming a monarchy.
“The current process essentially empowers one man to decide what bills get to be voted on and which ones don't,” Wilhour told the South Central Reporter, referring to longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago). “There are 118 House Districts in Illinois. It seems heavy-handed to me that the current process makes it all but impossible for a legislator to bring a bill to the floor for a vote without the Speaker's permission. It is sad we could not get any Democrats to join us in making some reasonable rule changes.”
Wilhour’s diatribe was sparked by recent action taken by Democrats to give even more power to the House Rules Committee they control. Madigan would have even greater powers in Springfield based on a proposed five-member panel that would control the flow of all legislation.
“We can't get around the fact that the Democrats are in charge, but the current rules process makes it tough for the Republican members to even get a committee vote on their bills, let alone get them to the floor,” Wilhour added. “All we are asking for is a fighting chance to have our bills considered.
"Other states give the minority party far more rights than what is given to us as Republicans in Illinois. What makes this process even more egregious is that it is not just we as members who are being slighted. It is the people we represent who are losing out because of the rules the Democrats have established."
Wilhour is imploring voters to speak out as almost a last resort.
“There really are no checks and balances,” he said. “Democrats have a majority in both legislative chambers and they control all of the state offices and they have a majority on the Illinois Supreme Court. The only real check to the power the Democrats have in Illinois is the federal government.”