Illinois Capitol on lockdown ahead of final budget action

  • In US
  • 2017-07-06 20:58:15Z
  • By Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A lockdown at Illinois' state Capitol building over an unidentified white powder ended after about two hours on Thursday afternoon, authorities said, and the House readied to vote on a state budget.

Earlier, the Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, was placed on lockdown after a woman threw powder into the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor as well as in the House gallery, a fire department official said.

The incident delayed a crucial vote by the House of Representatives on overriding the governor's vetoes of fiscal 2018 budget bills.

Barry Helmerichs, fire chief in Springfield, told Reuters his department determined the powder thrown in the three locations was harmless, though the exact substance was unclear.

"Do I know what it is? It could be talcum powder, baby powder, anything," he said.

A hazardous materials team was sent to the Capitol after receiving a call at 1:26 p.m. CDT, 4 minutes before the House was set to go into session. An all-clear signal was broadcast in the Capitol shortly before 3:30 p.m.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner was not in the building, his office said.

The Democratic-controlled House was scheduled on Thursday afternoon to try to enact a $36 billion budget and tax hike vetoed by Rauner on Tuesday. The nation's fifth-largest state has been without a complete budget for two fiscal years due to political wrangling.

(Reporting by Dave McKinney and Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)


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