House Democrats denied Republicans the opportunity to offer amendments to toughen sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants and to deny most state benefits to illegal immigrants.
Republicans had already filed a measure with a get-tough attitude on illegal immigration, but Democrat Speaker B. Patrick Bauer refused to hand it down.
"Illegal immigration, behind property taxes, is the issue that constituents are most concerned. I want to be able to offer amendments that reflect the beliefs of House District 57," said Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville). "House Democrats tonight have denied us the opportunity to offer improvements to the bill. We were prepared to offer amendments that would deny in-state tuition and other state benefits to illegals. Instead, the Democrats used squirrelly interpretations of rules to shut out our voices.
"The rulebook for the House of Representatives is useless if the Democrats are going to just willy-nilly decide that a page in the rulebook doesn't count for the evening. The procedural maneuvers that took place tonight are a sad commentary on the House Democrat leadership. The events from tonight were preposterous, mysterious and just plain bizarre."