The Illinois House on Wednesday erased A Democratic lawmaker’s wish to mix a “broth of Legionella” bacteria to infect the “loved one” of her Republican colleague, who said the she would be “in custody” for the comment had she made it anywhere else.
Rep. Stephanie Kifowit caused uproar over her remark towards Republican Rep. Peter Breen during a floor debate on Tuesday concerning the deadly Legionnaire’s disease crisis at a veterans’ home, prompting calls for resignation.
“To the representative from Lombard, I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated and ultimately die,” she said.
The Illinois Republican Party called on Kifowit to resign, claiming “she literally wished death upon Rep. Peter Breen and his family.”
The Democrat initially defended herself, saying her remark was mischaracterized, but she later backtracked and apologized for “the comments that were personally directed to Rep. Breen.”
The state House took a rare step to expunge the remark from the record, with the measure passing without any objections from other members of the House.
The last time the Illinois House removed someone’s comments from the record was in 2001 when a former Democratic used the hypothetical example of a phalloplasty, or penis enlargement procedure, that was used by a Republican state House leader.
Breen accepted Kifowit’s apology, but said “she’d be in custody” had she made the remark elsewhere. Instead, he said, her declaration was “met with applause instead of handcuffs.”
“We can continue down our current path of worsening threats and even violence, or we can make the difficult decision to take the path upward to civility and decency,” Breen said. “On our current downward course, we are headed toward mob rule.”
Republican state Rep. Grant Wehrli said he hopes the incident will be encourage better discourse in the chamber. “I hope that this is a first step for all of us to move toward, even in vehement disagreement, a higher and more professional discourse,” he said.
Thanks to Lukas Mikelionis.
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