© 2024 NPR Illinois
The Capital's Community & News Service
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chapa LaVia's Perceived Slight Overshadows Charter Debate


  An Illinois lawmaker is apologizing for a racially charged remark she made Wednesday during a debate on charter schools. 

Rep. Linda ChapaLaVia (D-Aurora) was closing a long debate over charter schools. But just as she argued minority students sometimes get blocked from charters, she seemed to get frustrated with the noise in the chamber, and turned to address her fellow Democrats.

"There's starting to be a segregation of children between the haves and the have nots — listen to me, minorities! I'm over here because we're all over on this side, right?" *booing* "What you'll also find — We have a half, we have a half."

Those were House Republicans booing. Chapa LaVia's "half" comment was apparently aimed at Rep. John Anthony (R-Plainfield), the only black Republican in the legislature.

Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst) called for an apology.

"I don't think that's very fair, representative, what you did," he said. "That's terrible."

Chapa LaVia did apologize. Twice. Her proposal, however, failed, but a parliamentary procedure will keep it alive. Chapa LaVia, though, is no longer its sponsor. A Republican is.

Calls to her and Representative Anthony's offices were not immediately returned.

Hannah covers state government and politics for Capitol News Illinois. She's been dedicated to the statehouse beat since interning at NPR Illinois in 2014, with subsequent stops at WILL-AM/FM, Law360, Capitol Fax and The Daily Line before returning to NPR Illinois in 2020 and moving to CNI in 2023.
Related Stories