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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Rep. Parkhurst sponsors bill to limit Governor’s response to disasters

A proposed amendment to the Illinois Emergency Management Act would limit a Governor to one proclamation per disaster.

KANKAKEE – State Representative Lindsey Parkhurst (R) has added her name to a bill first introduced in May that is designed to limit a Governor’s ability to react to a disaster in Illinois. 

The proposed amendment to the Illinois Emergency Management Act, Republican House Bill 5780, would limit a Governor to one proclamation per disaster. 

“I co-sponsored Republican House Bill 5780 providing in any 12-month period the Governor’s authority is limited to issue only ONE proclamation per disaster and any further proclamation related to disaster triggering the original proclamation shall be in force only AFTER a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the General Assembly,” Parkhurst said in a statement Wednesday.

Parkhurst says the “Rule of 1” has to change.

“Under our proposed legislation, the House and Senate must approve a joint resolution containing the exact language of the proclamation which the Governor MUST follow. Passing this bill prevents a recurrence of the “Rule of 1” conditions Illinois is subject to since March when Governor Pritzker started ruling the state using a succession of executive orders without any input or approval from the people’s elected representatives.” the State Representative explained.

Had such an amendment existed in the early days of the Pandemic, it would have allowed Governor Pritzker to issue only one executive order throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 13th, the Governor issued two executive orders to limit gatherings to less than 1,000 and close private and public schools through March 30th.  The Governor has repeatedly stated pandemic guidance is a deferment to officials at the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) throughout the evolving pandemic crisis. 

Other notable pandemic related Executive Orders include two stay-at-home orders for a duration of 30-days beginning in March and a notice of closure to all bars and restaurants in the state.  A statewide mask order and an order to all health insurance providers to cover costs associated with Telehealth services have also been issued through such pandemic related Executive Orders to aid in the mitigation of the virus.

Only one of the Governor’s pandemic related Executive Orders would have been allowed under the proposed amendment.

Since the pandemic began, Illinois has reported a total of 264,210 cases, including 8,332 deaths, in all 102 counties of the state.

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