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Judge Grants State Lawmaker's Request To Spare Him From Gov. JB Pritzker's Extended Stay-At-Home Order; Governor Vows To Appeal

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A southern Illinois judge granted a Republican state lawmaker's request for a temporary restraining order, releasing him from the restrictions of Gov. JB Pritzker's 30-day extension of the statewide stay-at-home order.

Illinois State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) claimed in the lawsuit filed last week that Pritzker has exceeded his authority and is violating the civil rights of the state's residents by extending the stay-at-home order for an additional 30 days, through May 30.

CBS affiliate WCIA-TV reports Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney granted Bailey's request for restraining order to temporarily block the governor's latest executive order Monday afternoon, ruling Pritzker's extended stay-at-home order "shredded the constitution."

While the judge's ruling only spares Bailey from the extended stay-at-home order, it does open the door for others in Illinois to join the lawsuit, or file their own.

Pritzker said the Illinois Attorney General's office will appeal the ruling.

"My team and I will fight this legal battle to the furthest extent possible, to ensure the public health and commonsense, and that those prevail," he said. "This ruling has put the people of Illinois at risk. I sincerely hope that this matter will be brought to a swift resolution, so that we can go back to placing our undivided attention on the work of keeping people safe."

A visibly angry Pritzker lashed out at Bailey, accusing him of putting the public in danger.

"Rep. Darren 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," Pritzker said shortly after the ruling on Monday. "It's insulting, it's dangerous, and people's safety and health has now been put at risk; there may be people who contract coronavirus as a result of what Darren Bailey has done."

"At best, no one is better off because of this ruling, and at worst, people's health and safety will suffer tremendously," Pritzker added.

The governor said his stay-at-home order has prevented tens of thousands of COVID-19 illnesses, and thousands of deaths.

"Painful as our actions might be, the question boils down to life and death. COVID-19 is responsible for denying the people of Illinois the precious moments of togetherness and steadiness of routine that have been put on pause in response to this global pandemic," Pritzker said. "History will remember those who put politics aside to come together to keep people safe. It will also remember those who so blindly devoted to ideology and the pursuit of personal celebrity that they made an enemy of science, and of reason."

State law gives the governor the authority to declare a disaster for 30 days, but is silent as to whether he can issue another proclamation when the original one expires. However, Pritzker said there is precedent for governors extending disaster proclamations.

"We are operating on decades of precedent in terms of how disaster proclamations work; from floods to tornados and now a global pandemic, disasters don't necessarily evaporate on a 30-day timeframe," he said. "The legislature took that into account when they wrote this law."

The governor said he is strongly encouraging all local elected leaders and the people of Illinois to follow the advice of scientists, epidemiologists, and the CDC, and continue to follow the guidelines of the stay-at-home order while his office appeals the judge's ruling.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday called the ruling "troubling and wrong."

"One of the many problems with this ill-advised opinion is that it will destroy the collective progress we have made, giving Illinoisans the wrong impression that we have beaten the COVID-19 pandemic. Let me remind everyone that the Governor's Stay at Home Order has played a crucial role in our data-driven, robust response to COVID-19. In fact, recently published City data has shown that staying at home and limiting human interaction is one of the major reasons why Chicago is beginning to see the flattening of the curve," Lightfoot said in a statement "And let me be clear, this does not mean that we can, nor should, return to our normal day-to-day lives, in fact it means the opposite. Continued compliance will be needed to keep flattening the curve and ultimately lead to a decrease in cases. Contrary to what this ruling suggests, we must all be in this together, and only through cooperation and collaboration can we contain and limit the effects of the virus."

On "Hour 18" Monday, CBS 2's Irika Sargent asked Bailey if he would abide by the extended stay-at-home order if Pritzker and the Illinois Attorney General prevailed in the case and he did not. Bailey said he did not think that would happen, and he said Illinois has a Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan that should have been applied for the coronavirus pandemic.

"What's going on is actually that our governor, JB Pritzker, is threatening the very constitutionality of the land that we live in by taking actions on himself. This plan entails the Illinois Department of Public Health and their local bodies take care of this very plan for exactly what's taking place today," Bailey said.

But Bailey said he would honor the stay-at-home law if not successful.

"I will continue to hopefully pursue it legislatively. The legislators – the House and Senate – have also been asleep during this whole time in just allowing, I don't know, fear, panic – allowing this governor to do as he wishes. Like I said, this doesn't change anything," he said. "Matter of fact, I think it's going to make it better if we allow local health department to do what they need to do in their localities."

Pritzker said his office will seek an emergency stay of the judge's ruling while it takes the case to the Illinois Appellate Court.

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