Over the past 18 months, Rep. Ryan Spain and other state legislators have been inundated with e-mails and calls from frustrated parents, job creators, concerned community members and local elected officials about round after round of new Executive mandates related to the pandemic, few of which have been debated nor approved by the Legislative Branch of Illinois’ State Government, but rather seized as “emergency powers” by Governor JB Pritzker.
While it is important to understand the Illinois General Assembly has not taken legislative action to extend the Governor’s Emergency Declaration authority, the courts in Illinois (the third co-equal branch of State Government’s checks and balances) HAVE largely upheld the Governor’s authority in lieu of legislative action to the contrary.
Rep. Spain, along with the House Republican caucus, have pushed for legislative involvement in this decision-making since the beginning of the pandemic and have proposed numerous bills to restore legislative involvement in this decision-making. Please see below for a listing of these legislative proposals.
However, Democrats hold supermajority control over the Illinois House, the Illinois Senate and have control of all Statewide Executive Offices, including the Governor. There are 73 Democrats and 45 Republicans in the Illinois House. The ONLY two officials who have the authority to call the Illinois House into special session to take up legislation Spain has cosponsored on this topic, like HR 416, are Democrat Speaker Chris Welch and Governor JB Pritzker. Both have staked out clear positions to allow the Executive Branch to exercise this authority unchecked by the legislature for the time-being.
The list of bills sponsored to curtail Executive Overreach by members of the House Republican caucus include the following:
102nd General Assembly:
HB 843– Required the Governor to obtain approval from the General Assembly within five days of issuing any subsequent disaster proclamations or the approval of three of the four caucus leaders. No vote in committee.
HB 1881 – The Governor may only extend that disaster proclamation if the General Assembly, passes a resolution approving the extension or approval from the four caucus leaders. No vote in committee.
HB 3042 – Nothing in the IEMA Act shall be construed to allow the Governor to prohibit or restrict a religious group from conducting a religious service.
HB 3009 – Would prohibit shutting down business by EO
HB 341 – Similar large and small business should be treated equally under an EO.
HB 210 – Would have required a 2/3 vote by Legislature to extend a disaster proclamation. No vote in the Executive Committee.
HB 2915 – Would have required a 2/3 vote by Legislature to extend a disaster proclamation. No vote in the Executive Committee.
HB 2932 – Would have required a 2/3 vote by Legislature to extend a disaster proclamation. No vote in the Executive Committee.
HB 2474 – No occupational or professional license may be revoked or suspended based upon a failure to comply with an executive order related to COVID-19. No vote in committee.
HB 2879 – Provides that it is not the purpose of this Act or the policy of the State that the IEMA Act be used to combat the spread of any or every new disease. No vote in committee.
HR 401– Urges Governor JB Pritzker, the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Illinois Department of Public Health to allow for local control by duly elected school board members regarding decisions on COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Assigned to Rules Committee.
HR 416– Urges Governor JB Pritzker, the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Illinois Department of Public Health to reinstate local control and allow duly elected school board members to make decisions on COVID-19 mitigation efforts that best fit the community and school districts in which they serve.
101st General Assembly:
HB 5780– Requires 2/3 vote by Legislature to extend disaster proclamation. Not released from Rules.
SB 3066 – COVID-19 Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program Act. No concurrence vote.
HB 5776 – Would have required the General Assembly to approve an extension of a disaster proclamation. Remained in Rules.
HB 5790 – Would have required the Governor to obtain approval from the General Assembly within five days of issuing any subsequent disaster proclamations or the approval of three of the four caucus leaders. Remained in Rules.
HR 859– Urges that the Governor’s Restore Illinois plan be re-drafted as legislative language and submitted to the Illinois General Assembly for discussion, debate, and legal enactment as statutory law.