Rep. Hammond Opposes Gov. Pritzker’s Emergency Rule That Would Fine or Jail Business Owners Who Defy His Executive Orders

Macomb – Late Friday afternoon, Governor J.B. Pritzker quietly filed an emergency rule that would fine or jail business owners who defy his executive orders and open their doors before he allows them. State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) opposes this executive overreach from Governor Pritzker.

“Governor Pritzker’s threat to fine or jail small business owners who defy his executive order is absurd and unacceptable government overreach,” said Rep. Hammond. “Small business owners want to operate safely and on a level playing field with big box stores. It’s possible for them to open their doors and protect the health of their customers and employees at the same time. Governor Pritzker is wrong for making criminals out of people who are just trying to provide for their families. The Governor needs to stop acting unilaterally on his own and begin working with others, particularly small business owners on plans to re-open our economy.”

If enacted, the emergency rules would subject business owners who defy the Governor and open their businesses with a Class A misdemeanor, which comes with a fine of up to $2,500 and 364 days in jail.

The rules were filed by Governor Pritzker with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), which is the bipartisan, bicameral legislative body that provides oversight to state regulations. JCAR is comprised of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, three from each legislative caucus for a total of 12 Committee members.

To block the rule from being implemented, a bipartisan supermajority of at least 8 Committee members must vote to suspend the rule. The Republican members of the Committee plan to make a motion to block the rule from being implemented.

Even though Governor Pritzker held his usual, daily media briefing earlier that Friday, he did not discuss his plans to file this emergency rule or make a formal announcement from his office. By issuing the rule on an emergency basis through JCAR, rather than through a change in statute, the Governor is able to circumvent the entire General Assembly. If JCAR fails to block the rule, some expect there to be a legal challenge against the rule through the courts.

“Similarly, the Governor must work with lawmakers on his Coronavirus response plans,” Rep. Hammond continued. “We live in a representative democracy, and the General Assembly is a co-equal branch of government. It’s time for lawmakers to act as a check on Governor Pritzker’s executive powers. It is my hope we will do that this week when we return to Springfield.”