Illinois does not have a mask mandate or requirements to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. So why is Governor JB Pritzker still declaring a state of emergency and retaining those powers?
Governor JB Pritzker has extended his emergency powers – for the 29th time – until the end of May.
Illinois’ mask mandate has been lifted for weeks and more than 80% of Illinoisans over the age of 5 have at least one dose of the vaccine.
Illinois has never been closer to pre-pandemic life, so why is Pritzker still declaring a statewide emergency? He said COVID-19 infections were still too high and claiming too many lives.
The state reported a weekly average of seven deaths on May 9 — the lowest average since early August 2021.
Of the 1,213 days Pritzker was in office, 790 were declared disasters. This means that he had emergency powers for more than 65% of his term.
Just before releasing his latest batch of executive orders and proclamations, Pritzker gave no indication of what the ending would look like.
“Hopefully we can eventually remove all of that, along with the disaster declaration,” Pritzker said on April 27.
Pritzker should not be able to extend his emergency powers unilaterally, and certainly should not be able to do so indefinitely. What started as a necessary emergency response became 790 days of rule by decree.
After more than two years, the response to the Illinois pandemic remains in the hands of one man. This is not the case in most states. Illinois should follow the lead of 34 other states and give the legislature the power to limit the duration of emergency executive powers.