Illinois capitol locked down before key vote

The Illinois Capitol went on lock-down Thursday as emergency crews arrived on the scene just as House lawmakers were readying to cast a critical vote in an attempt to override GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a budget package.

Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks could be seen entering the governor’s office around 2:30 p.m., approximately one hour after the vote was scheduled to take place.

An announcement inside the Capitol indicated the building was locked down and those inside should take shelter — though lawmakers and public individuals in the House gallery continued to mill about and appeared at ease.

The incident came one day after state House Republican leaders warned members to take precautions following an angry outcry surrounding a budget vote earlier this week.

Some GOP members reported receiving threatening communications after voting in favor of a budget package that would end a two-year stalemate but raise state income taxes. GOP House floor Leader Steven Andersson, one of 15 Republican lawmakers who crossed over and voted for the Democratic budget, reported receiving a death threat in addition to abusive text messages and calls. “I’m coming for you,” it said. The Illinois State Police are investigating the incident.


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