BY RICK MORAN
Businesses that defy Governor J.B. Pritzker’s coronavirus executive orders will now be fined and could get jail time. Pritzker filed an emergency rule that would make the owners of businesses that defy him subject to being arrested for a Class A misdemeanor, which carries with it a $2500 fine and a year in jail.
As northern Illinois residents flock to Wisconsin following that state’s reopening, Pritzker remains adamant that despite 80 percent of counties showing single-digit deaths and positive tests in the hundreds, a businessman in Streator will be under the same restrictions as Chicago despite having just one death and only 28 positive tests in the entire county.
The emergency rule is an “additional enforcement tool for businesses that refuse to comply with the most critical aspects of the stay-at-home order,” Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokeswoman for the governor, told The Hill.
“Law enforcement has relied heavily on educating business owners about the order and always first discusses the regulations with business owners to urge compliance,” Abudayyeh said. “Only businesses that pose a serious risk to public health and refuse to comply with health regulations would be issued a citation.”
The governor’s office swears the new edict will be “like a traffic ticket” and “no one will be arrested.” No doubt, that’s correct — at least until so many businesses are rebelling that the crackdown becomes inevitable.
One Republican legislator reminded the governor of who makes laws in the state. State Senator Dan McConchie thinks the time for “emergency powers” is over.
“This is a clear breach of the separation of powers. It is the role of the legislature to make the law, and the role of the Governor to enforce it. He has assumed both roles and shut out the legislative branch. It is beyond time for the Governor to stop ruling by fiat.
“This week, the legislature must reassert control over the executive branch and return control of the state to the people by providing oversight of his emergency powers once and for all.”
This won’t happen as long as the Democrats maintain a healthy majority in both chambers of the legislature. But it’s the tip of the iceberg. The hinterlands in Illinois are stirring and defiance against Pritzker’s heavy-handed executive orders is growing.
Individual counties are breaking with Springfield and looking to reopen. County sheriffs have sworn not to enforce his restrictions, and some local businesses are simply opening their doors, daring someone to close them.
It’s not surprising given that Illinois has the most restrictive lockdown in the nation — tougher than New York and New Jersey, where deaths are counted in the tens of thousands.
In a report, assembled by WalletHub, about the state’s with the fewest coronavirus restrictions, Illinois came in last.
This comes while hundreds across the state continue to protest the state’s Stay-at-Home order.
While Illinois has the most COVID-19 restrictions, it also has a high death rate from the virus, according to the report.
Illinois beat out Rhode Island for the state with the most restrictions.
Pritzker was one of the earliest and loudest complainers that Trump wasn’t doing anything to help. Instead of whining about it, perhaps the governor should have managed the crisis competently.