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Republicans continue to push back against Illinois governor’s emergency executive orders

Ugaste looks to curb a governor's ability to issue rolling disaster proclamations as has been done by Pritzker with COVID for nearly three years.

Published: February 4, 2023 10:20am

Updated: February 6, 2023 5:08am

(The Center Square) -

State lawmakers are split on Gov. J.B. Pritzker's continued use of disaster proclamations related to COVID-19.

Pritzker started issuing COVID disaster proclamations and executive orders related to COVID-19 in March 2020. He announced this week that the 30-day consecutive proclamations will end May 11, coinciding with the federal government's announced end. The proclamations keep open the path for federal COVID-19 relief resources to come to Illinois.

According to analysis by the Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois has been under a disaster proclamation for 1,060 of Pritzker's 1,483 days in office, or about 70% of his time as governor.

Some Republican lawmakers have been critical of the governor's use of disaster proclamations, calling it executive overreach. State Rep. Dan Ugaste, R-St. Charles, said the governor is once again overstepping his powers.

"I don't know how anyone can tell you four months in advance exactly when an emergency is going to end," Ugaste told The Center Square. "It's obviously being done to game the system, but more importantly to me, we are still experiencing a period where an individual retains extraordinary authority over the legislative process and all of the government in the state of Illinois."

Ugaste said he would be filing a measure, as he has in the previous General Assembly, that looks to curb a governor's ability to issue rolling disaster proclamations as has been done by Pritzker with COVID for nearly three years.

"I will be filing the same bill I have filed for the last two general assemblies, and I am going to be pushing to get it through because we shouldn't allow anyone to do this," Ugaste said. "This is about our system of government and protecting it."

State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, said he believes Pritzker has made decisions based on what he thinks is best for Illinoisans and that sometimes you need someone to step up and take control.

"In hindsight, when you think of how well the governor did with his executive orders, I am in support of the governor and his authority," Ford told The Center Square. "Sometimes trying to get the General Assembly to agree on something could be a matter of life and death. A strong and competent executive branch can be the difference between a life and death situation."

Illinois is one of eight states with COVID-19 public health emergencies continuing.

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