Illinois House Votes to Remove Representative Who Refused to Wear a Mask in Session

May 21, 2020 Updated: May 21, 2020

A state lawmaker in Illinois defended his refusal to wear a mask meant to stem the spread of the CCP virus after his colleagues voted to oust him from the legislative session on May 20 because of it.

State Rep. Darren Bailey, a Republican, said he is “representing the people.”

In a bipartisan vote, the Illinois House of Representatives voted 81 to 27 to remove Bailey for refusing to wear a mask during the special session, with one representative voting present. People in Illinois are currently required under an order from the governor to wear face coverings in public places where a six-foot distance isn’t possible.

The Illinois House voted to adopt rules on Wednesday that included a requirement for members, staff, and visitors to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth during the special session. Bailey said he would not comply with the rules, and State Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, a Democrat, made a motion to remove Bailey from the House floor.

masks-on-display
Masks and hand sanitizers are displayed at a Hyundai Happy World supplements store during the CCP virus outbreak in Niles, Ill., on April 3, 2020. (Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo)

“I feel like I’m doing the genuine thing of standing up and representing the people and saying enough is enough,” Bailey later told CNN affiliate WCIA.

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, when asked about the vote at his daily COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday, slammed Bailey as having “shown a callous disregard for life, callous disregard for people’s health.”

“You just heard (Illinois Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike) tell you why people wear masks in the first place is to protect others,” Pritzker added. “So clearly the representative has no interest in protecting others.”

CNN has reached out to Bailey for additional comment.

J.B. Pritzker
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker listens to a question after announcing a shelter in place order to combat the spread of the CCP virus, during a news conference in Chicago on March 20, 2020. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo)

Bailey, who represents the 109th District in Southern Illinois, has been a vocal opponent of Pritzker’s stay-at-home order to curb the spread of COVID-19, challenging the order in a lawsuit filed last month in Clay County Circuit Court.

A judge ruled that Bailey was personally exempt from the stay-at-home order, asserting that Bailey “has a clearly ascertainable right in need of immediate protection, namely his liberty interest to be free from Pritzker’s executive order of quarantine in his own home.”

President Donald Trump tours face mask production facility in Phoenix, Arizona
President Donald Trump looks at a protective face mask being shown to him by Honeywell’s Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain Tony Stallings in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 5, 2020. The President toured Honeywell’s facility manufacturing masks for the CCP virus outbreak.  (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Bailey’s stance on Wednesday comes as a new national poll from Quinnipiac University released the same day found that 64 percent of voters say everyone should be required to wear face masks in public, including 87 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and 40 percent of Republicans.

The CNN Wire and Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.