Pritzker issues 38th COVID-19 emergency order

Pritzker issues 38th COVID-19 emergency order

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker extended his COVID-19 emergency powers into his second term. Illinois is 1 of only 9 states still claiming disaster status as a result of COVID-19.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued his 38th COVID-19 disaster proclamation, extending his emergency powers into his second term through Feb 5.

When the newest proclamation ends, Pritzker will have held emergency powers for 1,060 of 1,483 days in office, or over 70% of his tenure.

None of Illinois’ neighbor states are ruled through emergency powers. Illinois is one of just nine states nationwide still calling the COVID-19 pandemic an emergency, with eight of the nine led by Democratic governors.

Under a disaster proclamation, Illinois can still request federal funds from FEMA to cover COVID-19 related costs.

California is still under a COVID state of emergency, but Gov. Gavin Newsom announced it will end on Feb. 28. Georgia is under a state of emergency, but for supply chain disruptions, not COVID-19.

Calling COVID in Illinois a disaster is routine enough that Pritzker didn’t issue a press release announcing the extension. He didn’t even post it on his website with all the other proclamations as of Jan. 9 despite signing it Jan. 6. Powers meant for emergency situations and that skirt state lawmakers’ approval have become routine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted COVID-19 restrictions in August, saying they no longer recommend quarantining if exposed to someone who tests positive.

Pritzker could keep emergency powers if he sees fit. The General Assembly – a coequal branch of state government – has no oversight into executive disaster orders.

The pandemic caused many states to revise emergency power rules. Arizona, Louisiana and Virginia all enacted laws in 2022 increasing legislative oversight of executive powers.

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