Failures result from two years of COVID-19 orders
As the two-year anniversary approaches of Governor JB Pritzker’s first disaster declaration in response to COVID-19, Deputy Minority Leader Sue Rezin (R-Morris) is renewing her call to rein in the Governor’s ability to impose sweeping emergency powers and require legislative input and oversight. Since the Governor’s first declaration on March 9, 2020, he has re-issued his disaster declaration approximately every 30 days as a “work around” to the 30-day limit on declared disasters imposed by the Emergency Management Agency Act.
As Illinoisans enter the third year living under the Governor’s “emergency,” Sen. Rezin has joined with her fellow Senate Republicans to advocate for the imposing limits on the use of emergency powers, and have once again put forth legislation, Senate Bill 3888, that would require the Governor to get approval from the General Assembly in order to issue any subsequent renewal of emergency powers after the initial 30-day state of emergency declaration.
“For the last two years, Governor Pritzker has controlled virtually every aspect of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by issuing emergency disaster declarations and executive orders,” said Sen. Rezin. “The Governor’s go-it-alone approach has led to dire consequences for the people of Illinois. My own Senate district experienced the deadliest outbreak at a state-run facility that cost the lives of 36 American heroes.”
Some of the Governor’s failures throughout the COVID-19 pandemic include:
- Arbitrary closures and regulations that have stacked the deck in favor of large corporations over the small businesses that serve as the backbone to Illinois’ local economies.
- A slower economic recovery rate than other states, ranking 48th in the nation. Additionally, Illinois had the 10th highest unemployment rate for the last month that data is available (December 2021).
- A dysfunctional Illinois Department of Employment Security that allowed for an alarming amount of fraud, while real claimants were left waiting weeks for earned benefits or even a call back.
- A deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home that claimed the life of 36 veterans after it took his Department of Public Health 12 days to conduct an on-site visit.
- Not prioritizing the most vulnerable populations during his vaccine rollout plan.
- Student academic and achievement declines across the state.
“Throughout this pandemic, I had hoped that the Governor would eventually show true leadership and allow outside stakeholders, including the General Assembly, to take part in the COVID-19 decision-making process,” continued Sen. Rezin. “Unfortunately, it appears that the Governor will not willingly relinquish his emergency powers and control, so Illinois lawmakers must pass legislation that forces him to do it.”
Recently, the Illinois court system and the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules both rebuffed the governor’s abuse of his emergency powers. Senate Bill 3888 has also garnered cosponsors from both sides of the political aisle.