A southern Illinois judge on Monday blocked Governor J.B. Pritzker’s 30-day extension of the state’s stay-at-home order, granting a temporary restraining order sought by a Republican state lawmaker who argued the governor overstepped his authority, CBS Chicago reports. Pritzker, however, has vowed to appeal the ruling.
CBS affiliate WCIA-TV reports Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney granted a restraining order to temporarily block the governor’s latest executive order Monday afternoon. While the judge’s ruling only spares Bailey from the extended stay-at-home order, it does open the door for others in Illinois to join the lawsuit, or file their own.
Pritzker said the state Attorney General’s Office will appeal the ruling.
“My team and I will fight this legal battle to the furthest extent possible, to ensure the public health and commonsense, and that those prevail,” he said. “This ruling has put the people of Illinois at risk. I sincerely hope that this matter will be brought to a swift resolution so that we can go back to placing our undivided attention on the work of keeping people safe.”
A visibly angry Pritzker lashed out at Bailey, accusing him of putting the public in danger.
“Rep. Darren Bailey’s decision to take to the courts to try and dismantle public health directives designed to keep people safe is an insult to all Illinoisans who have been lost during this COVID-19 crisis, and it’s a danger to millions of people who may get ill because of his recklessness,” Pritzker said shortly after the ruling. “It’s insulting, it’s dangerous, and people’s safety and health has now been put at risk; there may be people who contract coronavirus as a result of what Darren Bailey has done.”
The governor said his stay-at-home order has prevented tens of thousands of COVID-19 illnesses and thousands of deaths.
“Painful as our actions might be, the question boils down to life and death. COVID-19 is responsible for denying the people of Illinois the precious moments of togetherness and steadiness of routine that have been put on pause in response to this global pandemic,” Pritzker said. “History will remember those who put politics aside to come together to keep people safe. It will also remember those who so blindly devoted to ideology and the pursuit of personal celebrity that they made an enemy of science, and of reason.”
State law gives the governor the authority to declare a disaster for 30 days but is silent as to whether he can issue another proclamation when the original one expires. However, Pritzker said there is precedent for governors extending disaster proclamations.
“We are operating on decades of precedent in terms of how disaster proclamations work; from floods to tornadoes and now a global pandemic, disasters don’t necessarily evaporate on a 30-day timeframe,” he said. “The legislature took that into account when they wrote this law.”
The governor said he is strongly encouraging all local elected leaders and the people of Illinois to follow the advice of scientists, epidemiologists, and the CDC, and continue to follow the guidelines of the stay-at-home order while his office appeals the judge’s ruling.
Pritzker said his office will seek an emergency stay of the judge’s ruling while it takes the case to the Illinois Appellate Court.