Bryant renews call to rein in Pritzker’s abuse of emergency powers

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. Bryant 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 two years now, the Governor has continuously failed the state and its people with his one-man approach to COVID-19,” said Sen. Bryant. “Pritzker’s go-it-alone approach has led to numerous failures for the state and total chaos for Illinois families. His refusal to allow outside parties to take part in the state’s response and planning has only hampered our ability to effectively minimize the impact this pandemic has had on our residents.”

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.

“It’s time for Illinois lawmakers to show true leadership and pass legislation that forces the Governor to relinquish the emergency powers he has used to rule over all things COVID,” continued Sen. Bryant. “If they do not stand up now after two years and catastrophic failures, when will they?”

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.

Want to stay up to date with your Senator?

Sign up for the District E-Newsletter below: