IL state representatives caught at large downstate political gathering with no masks, social distancing

Rep. Brad Halbrook allegedly hosted the event, with newly elected Rep. Darren Bailey and former Rep. Jeanne Ives in attendance
ARTHUR, Ill. (WLS) -- As thousands of Illinois residents and businesses struggle to abide by current state COVID-control regulations, a downstate Christmas party held Thursday night reveals the battle that Gov. JB Pritzker and health officials now face: some people in the state aren't following government rules, including a pair of well-known state representatives.

Illinois State Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-102nd) held a supporter Christmas party Thursday that featured Illinois State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-109th) who was just elected to a state senate seat, the 55th district. The party's location was Yoder's Kitchen, a popular banquet hall south of Champaign.

The seemingly happy function featured dozens of full tables with no one apparently abiding by current protocols that prohibit crowds and require masks.

As the photos on Bailey's campaign Facebook show, there were more than 100 people, no masks and no social distancing. Masks are not even seen on the tables and the elected officials are pictured in very close proximity to other people.

The event's featured speaker was former state representative Jeanne Ives, who recently lost her race for a U.S. congressional seat.

IL State Rep Brad Halbrook apparently hosted a large Christmas party, which violated the state's mask and social distancing restrictions.

Bailey is a very outspoken critic of COVID regulations and all-things Pritzker. He led the lawsuit challenging Pritzker's emergency powers that has been bounced around state courts and was the state rep thrown out of the general assembly session for not wearing a mask.

During one of Bailey's recent daily campaign Facebook video posts, he criticizes the state protocols. He says he believes Pritzker is a communist. Pritzker has also called Bailey names over the months.

Bailey is also advertising a Christmas fundraiser of his own at an even larger venue, the convention center in Effingham on December 14th.

State Representative Halbrook and Senator-elect Bailey did not respond to several messages left today by the ABC7 I-Team. We also did not hear back from the attorney handling Bailey's lawsuit. Yoder's Kitchen in the Village of Arthur, Illinois, also declined comment.

Illinois State Police officials tell the I-Team they issued a COVID-related violation to the restaurant on November 17th, unrelated to Thursday night's event. The restaurant advertises it is open regularly with lunch and dinner buffets.
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