Springfield – State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), a member of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), has stated that it appears that the General Assembly will not be proposing legislation to replace the Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) emergency rule that could have imposed misdemeanor penalties against business owners who violated his executive orders.
“Last Friday afternoon, IDPH issued an emergency rule which in effect, turned small business owners who the Governor deemed ‘non-essential’ into criminals if they opened their doors in violation of his Executive Orders,” said Reick. “My office received over 10,000 emails and several thousand phone calls in opposition to the rule, as did every other member of JCAR. This public pressure and the Republican members’ intent to force a motion to suspend the rule in JCAR forced the Pritzker administration to repeal the rule.”
The Governor indicated that a legislative fix would follow the repeal of the rule, allowing him to have an enforcement mechanism to force business owners to abide by his executive action. Such legislation has not been forthcoming, as there has not been sufficient support from either Republicans or Democrats to get on board.
“The Governor said today, and I quote: ‘It is their (the Legislature’s) obligation, frankly, to do their duty. They don’t seem to want to help in any way, dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, by offering us the ability to use a small enforcement mechanism that we’ve asked for,” Reick continued. “Calling criminal prosecution a “small enforcement mechanism” shows how utterly tone deaf this Governor is to the plight of ordinary people. He’s doing nothing more than trying to deflect criticism of his executive overreach onto the General Assembly though he had plenty of opportunity to bring the General Assembly into the process early on. The General Assembly isn’t responsible for the mess he finds himself in, he is.”