Pritzker gives himself emergency COVID powers for 32nd time

Pritzker gives himself emergency COVID powers for 32nd time

Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared Illinois a disaster zone for the 32nd time. When this declaration ends, he will have given himself emergency powers for 895 days – more than two-thirds of his term.

According to Gov. J.B Pritzker, Illinois is still a disaster zone thanks to COVID-19, so on July 22 he for the 32nd time gave himself emergency powers.

At the end of this declaration, Pritzker will have wielded that authority for 895 of his 1,315 days in office. That is more than two-thirds of his term.

He has used those powers to issue 116 executive orders related to COVID-19.

State Rep. Adam Niemerg, R-Dietrich, said Pritzker’s orders are more about political power than public health.

“They have always driven the science to suit what they feel is the political narrative to keep themselves in power,” Niemerg said. “This has never been about making clear, concise decisions for the future of Illinoisans during the pandemic.”

Pritzker’s original disaster proclamation called for a swift response when 46% of intensive care unit beds were occupied. Currently, 145 Illinoisans are in the ICU with COVID, about 4% of statewide capacity.

The biggest disaster in Illinois is its business recovery.

Pritzker’s latest order promises, “This proclamation will assist the state in facilitating economic recovery for individuals and businesses in an effort to prevent further devastating consequences from the economic instability COVID-19 has caused.”

Illinois is still lagging in job recovery compared to the rest of the nation. There are 117,000 jobs missing compared to before the pandemic.

Thirty-two proclamations ago, the vaccine was only an idea. Now nearly 70% of Illinoisans are fully vaccinated, up from 47% in July 2021. Illinois is the only state in the Midwest with an emergency COVID order.

A statewide disaster requires immediate action, so state law gives the governor emergency powers for 30 days. After more than two years, those 116 orders Pritzker has issued should be reviewed and debated by state lawmakers – not just renewed as long as one man wants because he says the law let him do so.

Wisconsin and Michigan require legislative approval to extend emergency powers.

Thirty-four states give their legislatures authority to limit the duration of emergency executive powers.

State lawmakers should adopt the same rule in Illinois – not accept Pritzker’s permanent state of disaster.

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