Governor J.B. Pritzker unleashed more anger at Representative Darren Bailey and the lawsuit against his executive order that Bailey filed in Clay County Circuit Court. Pritzker called the lawsuit self-centered and a publicity stunt today during the opening remarks of his COVID-19 press briefing. “The stay at home order that was designed in close consultation with scientists and public health experts remains in place. As it stands, the judge’s ruling is limited. Applying only to one person, the state representative from the 109th District. For those unfamiliar, the 109th District happens to have among the lowest hospital bed availability and ventilators in the state, making it uniquely ill-equipped to respond to a surge in cases. The district is also home to the county experiencing Illinois’ highest death rate per capita from COVID-19. This ruling only applies to one person, because it was only ever about one person.”
Pritzker says that the Executive Branch of state government is taking the immediate appeal process seriously. “This was a cheap political stunt designed so that the representative can see his name in headlines, and unfortunately, he has briefly been successful in that most countless of feats. As absurd as this charade is, we are taking this matter very seriously. While the court’s order is limited, the risk it poses is significant. By agreeing with the plaintiffs in this initial ruling, the court set a dangerous precedent. Slowing the spread of this virus is critical to saving lives by ensuring our healthcare system has the resources to treat patients who get sick. And we will not stop this virus if because of this ruling, any resident can petition to be exempted from aspects of the orders that rely on collective action to keep us all safe. Because of the threat to public health from this court order and the fact that the state has acted well within its legal authority to protect the health of the public, the state is appealing immediately.”
Pritzker says he understands the devastating economic consequences the pandemic is causing but says he refuses to lift the stay at home order to trade off lives and the health of the state’s citizens for reopening the economy too early.
News of a second lawsuit by Republican Representative John Cabello of Machesney Park was filed in Winnebago County Circuit Court in northern Illinois today. Cabello told the Illinois Associated Press his lawsuit would differ from Bailey’s on the grounds that it would be applicable to all citizens of the state.