Bourne, House Republicans Push Back Against Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” Plan, Renew Request that Legislature Reconvene

Members of the House Republican Leadership Team responded to Governor JB Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” plan on Wednesday and renewed their request that lawmakers be called back into session immediately so that co-equal branches of government can collaborate on steps to restart the Illinois economy.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Deputy Minority Leaders Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) and Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) and Caucus Chair Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) joined assistant Minority Leader Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) on the Zoom press conference, and together they expressed overall disappointment in the Governor’s plan. “First of all, this plan was created with zero input from the General Assembly. Like all other state government decisions since mid-March, this policy was created unilaterally by a Governor who is leading the state via executive order,” said Bourne. “We have co-equal branches of government for a reason. We provide necessary checks and balances that are completely absent right now. The legislature should have been involved with the creation of a plan of this magnitude. It affects every single Illinoisan in every one of our districts.”

The Pritzker plan provides for Illinois’ economic recovery through five steps over four regions. As outlined, it could take months or even years before regions can reach Phase 5, the stage of full reopening of all elements of the economy. “This Pritzker plan will be the death of many small businesses that today are just limping by. Business owners who were looking for signs of hope and reassurance instead received an indication that their future remains bleak.”

During the unveiling of the Plan, the Governor said all areas of Illinois began Phase 2 on May 1 when the modified stay home order took effect. With 28-day benchmarks required for certain COID-19 data points, the earliest any of the four regions could move to Phase 3 would be May 28. “I believe strongly that the Governor has overstepped his authority since the plan he presented extends well beyond the 30-day executive powers he holds through his disaster declaration,” stressed Bourne. “We need a medium and long term plan that looks at regional data and it must be made in consultation with members of the General Assembly. Right now the legislative branch is being silenced even though none of us abdicated our duties to the executive branch.”

According to Bourne, three people have the authority to call lawmakers back into session. House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President Don Harmon have the authority to call their specific chambers back to Springfield, and the Governor has the power to call for a special session. “I await the call and am eager to return to the Capitol. We must get back to work so that the rest of Illinois can get back to work,” said Bourne.

Click here to watch the press conference.