Bipartisan group of lawmakers objects to Pritzker’s endless COVID rules

Bipartisan group of lawmakers objects to Pritzker’s endless COVID rules

Members of the Illinois General Assembly’s bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules are questioning the prolonged state of emergency regarding COVID-19. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has declared a state of emergency 35 times.

Illinois lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are objecting to emergency rulemaking after Gov. J.B Pritzker’s 35th disaster proclamation for COVID-19.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules issued an official objection to ongoing emergency rulemaking from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The committee oversees regulatory procedures for all public agencies, including IDPH.

One of the committee’s 11 members, state Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock, said IDPH can’t continue emergency rulemaking based on COVID-19.

“The pandemic is over. It is time for us to get back to the normal way of doing business,” Reick said during a hearing. “And the normal rulemaking process should be the one that is used instead of emergency rulemaking when the time is available to do that.”

Both Reick and President Biden said the pandemic is over, but that hasn’t stopped Pritzker from extending his emergency executive powers to nearly 70% of his time in office.

Pritzker latest COVID-19 executive order lifted testing requirements for unvaccinated employees working in health care settings and long-term care facilities. Reick doesn’t take issue with the rules, but rather with leaving JCAR out of the decision-making.

“The issue was one not of the legitimacy of the rule,” Reick told The Center Square. “The problem was one of IDPH has got very broad emergency rulemaking power.”

Pritzker in the spring discussed lifting his executive orders and ending the disaster proclamation.

“I’m hopeful that we will be able to remove all of them eventually, and the disaster declaration,” Pritzker said April 27.

That has not happened.

JCAR’s objection doesn’t block any emergency rules, but IDPH must respond within 90 days. Unless Pritzker issues a 36th proclamation, Illinois’ current COVID-19 disaster declaration ends Nov. 17.

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