House Rules Break Bipartisanship
Even though lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said they're going to work together this year, a simple vote on the rules the House has to follow when it conducts business was divided along party lines.
Republicans objected to the rules, saying they lack transparency and give too much power to lame-duck legislators. Representative Ed Sullivan, a Republican from Mundelein, wants to extend the time period that information is posted online before legislators can debate a bill. The rules require only a one-hour notice before a hearing.
"I want to talk a little bit about the voice of the public, those that we serve, and what their voice is within the rules, and their ability to have more transparency," Sullivan said.
House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie disagrees and says an hour is plenty of time.
"There is every opportunity for the public to participate in the first place in our budget debates through committee hearings, so I would urge that ours is a transparent, accountable process, and I see no reason for any changes," Currie said.
Despite the minority party's suggestions, Democrats stuck together and passed the rules easily. The main changes to previous rules give the Speaker more power to decide who is permitted on the House floor. Another says House employees must be given copies of Freedom of Information Act requests concerning them.