As the state of Illinois prepares to appeal a judge’s ruling exempting a downstate lawmaker from Governor J.B. Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” order, the governor blasted the decision during his Tuesday press conference.
Calling the lawsuit a “cheap political stunt,” Pritzker took aim at State Rep. Darren Bailey, who filed the lawsuit and was awarded a temporary restraining order on Monday.
“This was a cheap political stunt designed so the representative could see his name in headlines, and unfortunately he has briefly been successful in that,” Pritzker said.
Judge Michael McHaney ruled in Bailey’s favor Monday, exempting him from the governor’s order. Bailey was the only person affected by the TRO, but Pritzker says the impact goes far beyond one lawmaker.
“This ruling only applied to one person, because it was only ever about one person,” he said. “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.”
Pritzker has announced his intention to appeal the ruling. A renewed “stay-at-home” order is set to go into effect on May 1, and Pritzker says that order remains in effect in spite of the judge’s decision in the case.
While Bailey says that he filed his lawsuit to draw attention to the small businesses and residents being impacted by Pritzker’s order, the governor says that those concerns have never been far from his mind during the crisis.
“I know this virus is causing devastating economic consequences, just as it has caused tens of thousands to become ill and thousands to die,” he said. “For two months, not a second has gone by where the economic impact on our working families and small businesses hasn’t been an important and paramount consideration of my decision-making.”
Pritzker says that residents must continue to adhere to stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines in order for those restrictions to be effective in containing the spread of the virus.
“We are making progress and much of the progress wear hoping to make, and we will not let one irresponsible state representative keep us from success.”