Illinois State Rep. Darren Bailey says that his lawsuit against Governor J.B. Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” order was about taking power back, and he says that he’s trying to defend residents in his district that are struggling financially because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The state of Illinois recently extended its stay-at-home order through May 30, but by virtue of a ruling by Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney, Bailey is exempt from that order, as he was given a temporary restraining order that removes him from the jurisdiction of Pritzker’s order.
The TRO only applies to him, but he says that any of his constituents can follow in his footsteps.
“This is just me, but anybody can follow suit,” he said.
Bailey says that Pritzker has exceeded his authority as governor, and is violating the civil rights of residents by extending the state’s stay-at-home order beyond the order’s original 30-day purview.
“He is going to lose his power. This is the right thing,” Bailey said. “This is the law of the land, and I will contend that areas of the state would be better served through local control.”
Get the latest news on COVID vaccines in your inbox. Click here to sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.
The governor blasted Bailey during his Monday press conference, vowing to take swift action to appeal the judge’s ruling.
“Rep. Bailey’s decision to take this to the courts and try to dismantle public health directives designed to keep people safe is an insult to all Illinoisans who have been lost, and a danger to millions of people who may get ill,” Pritzker said.
Clay County, where Bailey’s district is located, only has two reported cases of coronavirus and no deaths. The county is part of the Champaign Regional Hospital network, according to state data, which has approximately 130 ICU beds in a large area that includes Champaign and Iroquois counties.
Bailey says that the economic downtown that has resulted from Pritzker’s order is doing far more damage than the virus has done.
“Our governor has created a second pandemic that I believe is going to be more far-reaching than the COVID-19 situation,” he said.
Another hearing in the case is scheduled for next week. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is expected to appeal the ruling.