Pritzker says he doesn’t want to order legislature back to Springfield

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he’s not interested in calling lawmakers back to the Illinois State Capitol for a special session to deal with the ambiguity of his stay-at-home orders amid a pandemic and legal challenges to his authority.

With two lawsuits pending and more expected, several Illinois statehouse Republicans held a virtual video news conference Wednesday urging legislative leaders to call the legislature back to address whether stay-at-home orders should continue.

Pritzker said the legislature can come back whenever they want during the pandemic. They are considered essential under his order. He urged them to follow social distancing guidelines.

Senate President Don Harmon’s office said Senators have been told there must be “a crystal clear plan of action for urgent issues before we return, along with a corresponding plan for how to protect the health and safety of lawmakers, staff, support personnel, media and anyone else who might attend a legislative session.”

House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office said the safety of the public, staff and General Assembly members remain the top priority and bipartisan working groups continue to work on what pertinent issues they’ll address when they can return.

Pritzker on Wednesday declined to call a special session, as the Illinois constitution allows.

“If I started dictating a date for them to meet, I’m sure that there would be blowback from legislators,” Pritzker said. “So I have left it to them to make decisions.”

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