Gov. J.B. Pritzker has filed a notice of appeal aimed at overturning a ruling by a southern Illinois judge, who issued a temporary restraining order to a state lawmaker regarding the modified stay-at-home order restrictions taking effect on May 1.
Pritzker, through Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, plans to request the decision be reversed and vacated to "dissolve the temporary restraining order" granted by Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney, which exempts state Rep. Darren Bailey from abiding by restrictions.
The notice was issued Monday and posted by the court Tuesday. An official appeal is due by Wednesday.
McHaney's ruling only applies to Bailey, exempting him from the stay-at-home order, but it's unclear what impact the legal challenge will have on other state residents.
"“This is just me, but anybody can follow suit,” Bailey said.
The ruling comes after Bailey, a Republican from Xenia, Illinois, filed a lawsuit claiming Pritzker exceeded his authority and violated the civil rights of the state’s residents. Pritzker on Thursday extended his stay-at-home order through May 30 as the highly contagious coronavirus continued to spread and infect thousands across the state.
"Enough is enough!" Bailey said in a statement. "I filed this lawsuit on behalf of myself and my constituents who are ready to go back to work and resume a normal life.”
Pritzker said he plans to appeal and issue new public health directives until the suit is resolved.
"Representative Bailey’s decision to go to the courts is an insult to all Illinoisans who have been lost during this COVID-19 crisis. It’s a danger to millions of people who might get ill because of his recklessness," Pritzker said Monday. "Disasters don’t evaporate on a 30-day timeframe. Legislators took this into account when they wrote this law. We will fight this lawsuit to the furthest means possible. In the interim, we will be issuing new public health directives so we can respond to this public health crisis."
In the latest order, Pritzker relaxed the decree to allow for some outdoor activities and many previously barred surgeries and medical treatments. It allows some retailers to reopen to fill online or pickup orders. The governor is requiring face coverings in public for anyone older than 2, both indoors and outside if the recommended 6-foot social distance can’t be maintained.
“We are in possibly the most difficult parts of this journey,” Pritzker said. “I know how badly we all want our normal lives back. Believe me, if I could make that happen right now, I would, but this is the part when we have to dig in.”
Illinois' public health director reports 1,980 additional cases as of Monday, for a total of 45,883. There were 50 more deaths, bringing the total to near 2,000.
Bailey said the power and authority Pritzker wields in the current crisis "calls for an immediate review and reconsideration of legislative intent.”
He added 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.