FILE - Illinois State Capitol

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

Illinois lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were told that they couldn’t ask all the questions they wanted amid an effort by legislative leaders to meet deadlines over the holiday weekend.

That meant lawmakers were voting on significant legislation over the Memorial Day weekend, even though sometimes opponents from both sides of the aisle were not allowed to question legislation and public opposition was not named.

Lawmakers were in a hurry because June 1 is the first day that passing legislation requires three-fifths approval in the General Assembly, instead of a simple majority.

Democratic Assistant Majority Leader Will Davis’ had issues with minority representation in unions in a bill that would expand union presence.

“We know that pathways in aren’t always receptive to people of color, they just aren’t,” he said before being interrupted by the committee chairman to move onto other legislation.

Davis, D-Hazel Crest, was concerned that the bill, which would essentially require unionization in a number of private industries across the state, didn’t go far enough to include minorities in private sector unions.

The hearing was scheduled shortly before the full House session and the chairman still had to call two bills before he could adjourn.

On Sunday night, a controversial bill expanding abortions was filed, assigned to a committee, and voted on in a matter of two hours. Republican Tom Demmer said the rules were being exploited to minimize opposition.

“No one from my district could have made it here to testify on this bill with one hour’s notice,” he said.

In the same hearing, state Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Raymond, objected to being told to wrap up her questioning of a newly expanded abortion bill.

“We are talking about over 100 pages of a bill that we saw less than three hours ago,” she said.

Another committee was held up when the sponsor of a bill that would require unionization in a number of private businesses left in the middle of the debate, leaving Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, to have him called while a number of committee members already voted and also left.

“I would like to ask the bill’s sponsor some questions, but he appears to not even be in attendance for this entire panel,” he said, referring to multiple comments that supporters of the legislation are already planning a follow-up bill to address potential issues with the bill as written.

House Democrats spokesman Steve Brown said the complaints lacked merit. He said the schedule had been out for six months and that "the whining is increasingly lame."

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.