Clock ticking on latest legal challenge to Pritzker’s stay-at-home order

(The Center Square) – The clock is ticking on a lawsuit an Illinois state representative filed on behalf of the entire state against the governor to block stay-at-home orders.

In a separate legal challenge that the governor lost earlier this week, the state’s attorney general filed an appeal.

Thursday is the last day of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s existing stay-at-home order. He said the order was designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Pritzker is expected to extend the order through May 30 with some changes.

The stay-at-home order was put in place on March 21. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have applied for unemployment benefits and many small businesses have been struggling to stay afloat.

A state representative suing Illinois’ governor over stay-at-home orders is giving the governor a window to work with the legislature before demanding an immediate stay from a judge.

State Rep. John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, filed a lawsuit in Winnebago County against Pritzker on Wednesday claiming the governor’s extended stay-at-home orders exceeded his authority.

Pritzker called it an irresponsible lawsuit.

“We’re in the business here of keeping people safe and healthy,” Pritzker said. “That’s what the stay at home order has been about and I just think that lawsuit is another attempt at grandstanding.”

Cabello’s said his case differs from a case state Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, won in Clay County Circuit Court on Monday.

“First, we filed one, the lawsuit for everyone in the state, but second, I did not file for an immediate stay,” Cabello said.

Cabello said he’s willing to give the governor a window of time to work with the entire legislature to lift restrictions on small businesses, but the clock is ticking.

“I don’t want to say my timeline because I just don’t know what it is yet,” he said. “I need to see what the governor’s move will be and if it’s not in the best interest of the people who pay for everything, the taxpayers, then I will move forward.”

Cabello said he’s giving the governor the opportunity “to do what is right” and work with the legislature to lift restrictions. A status hearing in Cabello’s case is set for May 4.

In Bailey’s case, Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Wednesday filed an appeal to the Illinois 5th District Appellate Court. Raoul contends Bailey “failed to articulate the irreparable harm he is personally experiencing” from the stay-at-home order and that the governor has not exceeded his authority in his efforts to save lives and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“Gov. Pritzker has implemented emergency measures that have saved lives during a crisis that has cost Illinois so much,” Raoul said. “I am asking the appellate court to address this mistaken circuit court decision now.”

“In addition, I believe that it is paramount for the Illinois Supreme Court to take up this matter immediately because continued uncertainty surrounding this question will lead to additional actions – as we have seen today – that threaten the Governor’s ability to save lives,” Raoul said.

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