Phillips voices opposition to Democrat-led House recess
Reggie Phillips, state representative for District 110, had hoped to keep working to solve the enormous problems facing the state of Illinois, but a motion made by State Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) last week to avoid a scheduled month-long recess was quickly dismissed by Democratic leadership.
“We should have been there working today, period,” Phillips said. “This video was from yesterday when we so desperately needed to stay and continue working towards getting Illinois on the right track. Instead we were adjourned for a month. Rep. Demmer practically begged for us to stay in session. House rules require this to be voted on. The speaker ruled the motion 'out of order' even though it wasn't. And we were adjourned -- for a month.”
On March 3, Demmer made a motion to avoid the scheduled break and asked for his fellow legislators to meet the following day to continue working to solve the pressing issues the state currently faces.
“Mr. Speaker, several times during today’s debate we’ve heard this is not a solution, that there’s still work to do, that we still have a lot of conversations to have and bills to work on,” Demmer said. “I’m asking that the House stand adjourned until tomorrow at 12 noon.”
House rules allow a motion to be made at any time, except when a prior motion has been defeated. According to Illinois House Rule 66 (e), “A motion to adjourn for more than three days is not in order unless both chambers of the General Assembly have adopted a joint resolution permitting that adjournment. Notwithstanding any other provision of these rules, a resolution filed under this rule may be referred to the Rules Committee by the presiding officer or may be immediately considered and adopted by the House.”
So in accordance with the rule, Demmer went on to request an official vote.
“If you vote ‘yes,’ you’re voting to keep working,” Demmer said. “If you vote ‘no,’ you’re voting to leave for more than a month and not come back until April. I ask that you stand with me. I ask for a recorded vote on a motion to adjourn till Friday, March 4, at the hour of noon.”
But Demmer’s motion was quickly dismissed by Democratic leadership before any formal discussion or vote was made.
Despite the motion being in line with House rules, Demmer’s motion was ruled as out of line with the rules, and the month-long break was announced.
“It’s egregious that House Democrats would find it acceptable to take a month off during the heart of legislative session, especially given the challenges we face,” Demmer told The Caucus Blog. “My motion to stay in session was legitimate and was made completely in line with the House rules -- the Democrats’ own rules.”
The session schedule is determined by House Speaker Michael Madigan, and some have questioned whether his decision to place a month-long gap in March was politically driven. The House will resume session on April 4.
Phillips was elected to serve as state representative in November of 2014.