Rep. Wheeler statement on Pritzker emergency rules criminalizing non-compliance with executive orders

Assistant House Minority Leader Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, issued the following statement today following news that Governor JB Pritzker filed new emergency rules on Friday that would make criminals of certain businesses who the governor has determined shouldn’t be open.  The emergency rule which is already in effect makes it a Class A misdemeanor to have those businesses open. 

Class A misdemeanors bring fines up to $2500 and 364 days in jail.  That means that a single-mom doing nails in her own home to try to feed her children and keep a roof over their heads would be subject to a substantial penalty and jail time.  That process includes fingerprinting and a conviction that remains on a person’s permanent record and the result could impact their licensure which in Illinois is their ability to earn a living.    

“This is a vast government overreach in a time when business owners are doing everything they can to stay afloat. Filing these emergency rules to extend criminal penalties to businesses and individuals all over Illinois is an abuse of emergency rulemaking.  This issue needs to be resolved by the General Assembly which is scheduled to meet this week.

“The people of Illinois deserve to have their voices heard through their representatives in the General Assembly and the people should expect their government to have proper checks and balances. Legislators should have to vote on the Governor’s plans for our state. He cannot keep unilaterally ruling the state like this. We should not punish those who are the backbone of our state’s economy for trying to survive.”

“I will make the motion to suspend this emergency rule in its current form at the JCAR meeting on Wednesday.  The administration has reached beyond its authority and should bring this measure to the legislative branch of state government for review and an up-or-down vote.”

Wheeler is Co-Chairman of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), the bipartisan legislative panel charged with approving or rejecting rules sought by the executive branch. JCAR is scheduled to meet in Springfield on May 20. Representative Wheeler is insisting that the Governor’s new emergency rules be placed on the agenda for the May 20 hearing. If not blocked by JCAR, the emergency rules would stay in effect for 150 days.

Representative Wheeler serves the 50th District, which includes portions of Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Campton Hills, Elburn, Montgomery, Oswego, Plano, St. Charles, Sugar Grove and Yorkville.