Rep. Hammond Supports Withdrawal of Gov. Pritzker’s Small Business Penalties, Urges Residents to Remain Vigilant of Future Action on the Issue

Springfield – Yesterday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced they would withdraw Governor Pritzker’s emergency rule that would have enacted penalties for small businesses who open their doors in defiance of the Governor’s executive orders. The withdrawal comes after significant opposition from the public and Republican members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) strongly opposed Gov. Pritzker’s emergency rule, and urged residents to remain vigilant, as Gov. Pritzker has stated he will pursue legislation with similar intent.

“As I’ve said before, 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. “I am glad the Governor decided to withdraw the emergency rule, and I hope he learns from this experience that he should start to work collaboratively with others on any plan to re-open our state. With that being said, I urge everyone to remain vigilant, as the Governor has stated he wants the General Assembly to pass those rules in the form of legislation. Small businesses want to operate safely and earn a living for their families. They should be allowed to do so without threats or penalties.”

Late last Friday afternoon, Governor Pritzker quietly filed emergency rules with JCAR that would subject business owners who defy the Governor’s orders and open their businesses early with a Class A misdemeanor, which comes with a fine of up to $2,500 and 364 days in jail.

The emergency rule was filed without any announcement from the Governor’s Office and came at a time when many local governments, business leaders and medical experts are offering their own regional plans to re-open their economies on a faster timetable due to the inflexibility of the Governor’s “Restore Illinois” plan.

JCAR 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.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced their intention to withdraw Gov. Pritzker’s rule yesterday. The Republican members of JCAR have led the opposition to Governor Pritzker’s emergency rule. Yesterday morning, the House and Senate Republican Caucuses issued a joint statement in opposition to the emergency rule.