The Upshot

Illinois state lawmaker has meltdown on House floor: ‘Let my people go!’

Eric Pfeiffer
The Upshot

An Illinois state lawmaker lost his temper in dramatic fashion on Tuesday when he screamed and threw papers in the direction of his colleagues on the floor of the state House.

Republican Mike Bost says he was simply protesting changes made to a proposed pension bill offered by House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat. The bill had recently cleared a House committee and has been endorsed by Gov. Pat Quinn.

"Total power in one person's hands—not the American way!" Bost screamed from the state House floor.

As the local CBS Chicago affiliate reported, Bost then threw several papers in the air and attempted to punch them with his fist as they drifted downward.

"These damn bills that come out here all the damn time, come out here at the last second!" Bost said as he threw the papers on the floor. "I've got to figure out how to vote for my people!"

Bost and other Republicans are opposed to the structure of the bill, which would raise local property taxes to decrease annual cost-of-living increases for public employees.

"You should be ashamed of yourselves! I'm sick of it!" Bost said. "Every year! We give power to one person! It was not made that way in the Constitution! He was around when it was written! Now we give him—we've passed rules that stop each one of us! Enough! I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt! Let my people go!"

A much more composed Bost later appeared on Fox News, where he discussed the incident, telling host Bill Hemmer, "Normally, I really don't act that way."

Still, Bost appeared far from contrite. When Hemmer asked about his return to the state Legislature, Bost said, "My hope is that maybe we sent a clear message yesterday that we will continue working together in a bipartisan manner."

Hemmer closed the interview by joking that Bost would be interesting company at a Chicago Bears game.

"It's an exciting time, my family has told me that before," Bost said.

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