CLAY COUNTY, IL — Judge Michael D. McHaney on Monday ruled against the Gov. JB Pritzker administration in a court case filed in Clay County Court calling for an injunction against any further stay-at-home orders including the upcoming extension scheduled to begin May 1.
State Representative Darren Bailey’s suit alleges his civil rights were violated by Pritzker’s Stay in Place orders that extended past 30 days from his initial order. The suit also asks for an injunction against any further orders, including the one Pritkzer announced last week would take effect May 1.
“Our governor has acted as if he knows best, but he does not know what’s best for all 12 million residents in our state,” said Bailey (R-Xenia). “We have a mechanism in place through the Illinois Department of Public Health; and how to act during a pandemic was laid out many years ago, long before J.B. Pritzker came to office. I’ve asked him since day one to respectlocal governments throughout the state and he’s refused, but I believe this lawsuit is the mechanism by which ‘we the people’ will be allowed to govern ourselves as our constitution demands.”
McHaney, of Salem, on Monday agreed with Bailey, a Xenia Republican, ruling in his favor. Pritzker responded to the ruling shortly after his daily COVID-19 update by saying, “Bailey’s decision to take to the courts to try and dismantle public health directives, designed to keep people safe is an insult to all Illinoisans who have been lost during this COVID-19 crisis and it’s a danger to millions of people who may get ill, because of his recklessness, at best, no one is better off because of this ruling and at worst people’s health and safety will suffer tremendously.”
He added that Illinois and nationally governments are operating on decades of precedent in terms of how disaster proclamations work from floods to tornadoes and now a global pandemic disasters don’t necessarily evaporate on a 30 day timeframe.
Bailey’s attorney Tom DeVore said Illinois has had a pandemic/influenza response plan in place for many years, a plan approved by the Illinois legislature, that is a 120-page guide that covers the current COVID-19 situation.
“It’s called the state of Illinois Department of Public Health Pandemic/Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan,” said DeVore. “It’s a law promulgated by the legislative branch that lays out how the Department of Public Health is to manage these types of pandemics. It’svery detailed. It’s working now. I’ve talked to my county health department and they use this plan now. It’s very effective and more importantly it contains due process within the law for individuals pertaining to a quarantine.”
Pritzker said he plans to issue new public health directives until the suit is resolved and that, “We are certainly going to act in a swift action to have this ruling overturned.”
The ruling only impacts Bailey as he filed the lawsuit himself as a citizen. He is now released from the stay-at-home order.