Over the past 18 months, Rep. Chesney 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. Chesney, 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 Chesney has sponsored on this topic, like HB 4131, 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.
HB 2932– Provides that in any 12-month period the Governor shall have the authority to issue only one proclamation per disaster and that any further proclamation for the disaster that triggered the original proclamation shall be in force only after a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the General Assembly approves a joint resolution containing the exact language of the proclamation and which the Governor must follow. Provides that the Governor shall have no authority to amend or change the language of the proclamation as approved by joint resolution.
HB 3009– The Governor is not allowed to order any business to cease operation or to prohibit customers from traveling to a business.
HB 3042– The Governor is not allowed to prohibit or restrict a religious group from conducting a religious service or a resident of the State from attending such services in person.
HB 4080– The wearing of masks shall not be required for any member of the House of Representatives, or the staff thereof, while present on the floor of the House of Representatives. Provides that any such rule or provision of law mandating the wearing of masks on the floor of the House of Representatives is void.
HB 4081– A unit of local government or the State may not require a person to have a vaccine credential or show a vaccine credential before the person enters a public event or public venue. Limits home rule powers. Defines “vaccine credential” as any written or electronic record evidencing that a person has received a vaccine.
HB 4083– The State Board of Education, school districts, and elementary and secondary schools may not require the teachers, other staff, or students of a school to wear a face mask due to the COVID-19 public health emergency disaster declared by the Governor pursuant to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act.
HB 4106– Institutions of higher education may not require a person to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination or show a COVID-19 vaccine credential as a condition of enrollment at the institution of higher education or participation as a student in any of its programs.
HB 4131– A school board or the governing board of a nonpublic school has the authority to determine, in consultation with the local health department, whether to implement mask-wearing requirements for school staff, students, and visitors when the Governor has declared a disaster due to a public health emergency related to COVID-19.
HB 4174– A child may not be required to submit proof of having received an immunization against COVID-19 upon enrolling in school nor may a child already enrolled in school be required to receive an immunization against COVID-19. Amends the Communicable Disease Prevention Act. Pursuant to the School Code provisions, prohibits the Department of Public Health from adopting any rules that require children to receive an immunization against COVID-19.
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.