An Illinois Republican state lawmaker is suing the state's House Speaker over the chamber's mask mandate.

Attorney Thomas DeVore filed a lawsuit on behalf of him and state Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R) Friday morning, one day after the lawmaker and eight of his GOP colleagues were removed from the House chamber because they would not wear a mask, according to The State Journal-Register.

The lawsuit was filed against Illinois House Speaker Emmanuel Welch (D) in Bond County, according to The State Journal-Register. DeVore, who lives in that county, reportedly filed the lawsuit there in accordance with the theory that lawsuits should be pursued in places where the repercussions are felt.

Democrats in the Illinois state House voted on Thursday to remove a number of Republicans from the chamber after they refused to comply with the mask mandate. The motion passed 66-39, largely along party lines.

Most of the lawmakers who were barred from entering the chamber because of the mask mandate rejoined the legislative session through Zoom.

Wilhour, before being removed from the chamber, said "it's a total lack of common sense," according to The State Journal-Register.

"It's a total lack of critical thought. The people of Illinois are done with it," he added.

Jaclyn Driscoll, a spokesperson for Welch, said it is "disappointing" that Republicans are opting to use the chamber for "political theater." 

"It's disappointing that instead of doing any of the work they were elected to do, the Republicans would rather use the House chamber as a stage for political theater on the taxpayer's dime," Driscoll said, according to The State Journal-Register.

This is not DeVore's first lawsuit in Illinois. In 2020, he unsuccessfully filed lawsuits against Gov. J.B. Pritzker's (D) pandemic-related executive orders and mask and vaccine mandates in schools across the state, according to The State Journal-Register. The lawsuit relating to masks in classrooms led to a temporary restraining order that barred some schools from implementing their COVID-19 mitigation measures.

DeVore said he is using "the exact same legal strategy" with his current lawsuit regarding masks in the House chamber, according to the local newspaper.

Pritzker earlier this month announced that it is his intention to lift the state's indoor mask mandate for most places by Feb. 28.

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