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Thu May 16, 2013

Republicans Demand Vote On Lion-Meat Ban

Credit Flickr.com/thebuffafamily

Just over two weeks remain before the Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn for the summer, on May 31st. They still have a lot to deal with in that time — like pensions, concealed carry, same-sex marriage, and next year's budget. But an incident Wednesday in the Illinois House shows tempers are already starting to flare.

The trouble began with a simple piece of legislation to ban lion meat — that's the slaughter and sale of lion meat. As it dawned on the sponsor that his legislation was heading for defeat, he withdrew it.

Republicans — eager to vote "no" — argued it was too late, that the vote had to proceed.

But the presiding officer, Democratic Rep. Art Turner, ruled against the GOP. Then, for the next bill, he stalled on a procedural matter in order to let more Democrats make their way to the floor.

That's when things got personal. Dwight Kay is a Republican from Glen Carbon.

"You're a better man than what you just did here," Kay said, prompting a Democratic chorus of boos.

There were more heated words on both sides of the aisle. But some lawmakers, like Republican Rep. Jim Durkin from Western Springs, had an eye on the legislature's lengthy to-do list.

"I think everybody needs too dial down a little bit; take a deep breath," Durkin said. "We can cooperate on a lot of things; we can get home; we can go back to our families. Let's try to do that."

But with two weeks to go and some of the toughest issues of the year still outstanding — more fights are sure to be in order.