Gov Relaxes Restrictions in Phase 3 of his Reopening Plan, Withdraws Rule to Fine Businesses

State Capitol, May 20, 2020: With the Governor and legislature back in Springfield to work on passing a budget, and possibly a Covid benefit bill, the Governor in his daily briefing announced bars and restaurants that have outdoor seating, will be able to open in Phase 3, which should begin in June.

The governor also said that instead of just two on a boat, now up to 10 people can be on a boat, and camping groups of 10 or less will be allowed. State parks will reopen on May 29. Prior to his briefing, the governor withdrew his rule to punish businesses that were ignoring his Executive Orders.

This followed what appeared to be a lack of votes in JCAR [Joint Committee on Administrative Rules] to support his recent Emergency Rule that he said was intended to enforce his orders.

Sen Bill Cunningham (D), the Chair of JCAR, said a similar enforcement bill will be presented in the legislature. That would meets some of the objections by lawmakers that the governor was exceeding his authority by trying to make laws on his own.

In the wake of the withdrawal, Republicans claimed it as a legislative victory. Republican legislative leaders Senator Bill Brady and Representative Jim Durkin sent a strongly-worded statement Wednesday morning before a meeting of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which was to take action on the rule. The two leaders called the Governor’s Emergency Order “… a vast government overreach at a time when business owners are doing everything they can to stay afloat.”

State Sen. Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) credits a groundswell of opposition throughout Illinois as a driving force to stop Pritzker’s rule.

“This action today shows the power of citizens who are letting legislative leaders know that they will no longer accept decisions made by a small group of lawmakers who represent just one region of our very large and very diverse state,” Stewart said. “Our office has been swamped with angry messages that the Governor is going too far, making his decisions without others’ input. To those residents, this is your victory and we hope that you stay involved and continue to let lawmakers know what you think.”

Stewart says he hopes that Illinois’ Legislative Branch will be allowed as much input as the state’s Executive Branch in addressing decisions facing them in Springfield this week, including a re-opening plan for the state that aims to balance public safety concerns with the economic well-being of Illinois.

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