Pritzker has governed using emergency powers for more than 65% of his term

Pritzker has governed using emergency powers for more than 65% of his term

Illinois has no mask mandate or requirements for showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination. So why is Gov. J.B. Pritzker still declaring a state of emergency and holding onto those powers?

Gov. J.B Pritzker has extended his emergency powers – for the 29th time – through the end of May.

Illinois’ mask mandate has been lifted for weeks, and more than 80% of Illinoisans over the age of 5 have at least one dose of the vaccine.

Illinois has never been closer to pre-pandemic life, so why is Pritzker still declaring a statewide emergency? He said COVID-19 infections are still too high and it is claiming too many lives.

The state reported a weekly average of seven deaths on May 9 – the lowest average since early August 2021.

Of the 1,213 days Pritzker has been in office, 790 have been under a disaster proclamation. That means he’s had emergency powers for more than 65% of his term.

Just before issuing his latest batch of executive orders and proclamations, Pritzker gave no indication of what the end would look like.

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

Pritzker should not be able to unilaterally extend his emergency powers, and certainly should not be able to do so indefinitely. What started as a necessary emergency response has become 790 days of rule by executive order.

After more than two years, Illinois’ pandemic response remains in the hands of one man. This is not the case in most states. Illinois should follow the lead of 34 other states and give the legislature the power to place limits on the duration of emergency executive powers.

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