Rep. Bailey Reflects Rural Illinois Frustration on ‘Stay Home’ Orders; Considers Legal Challenge to Governor’s Power to Impose Rules on All

State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) has continued his grassroots interactive working with the constituents in his east central, rural Illinois district by using the technology of the internet, social media, and telephone town hall meetings. The feedback he continues to receive from around the nine counties he represents is a distrust of the real numbers of the coronavirus and a genuine feeling that the governor does not understand the diversity of his own state.

“The message is clear, we are not Chicago and we already distance ourselves just by our rural life styles. Why should we be punished with the loss of jobs and closing our businesses when the coronavirus emergency isn’t the same for us,” declared Rep. Darren Bailey. “This one-size-fits-all mentality needs to be reviewed and take into account our diversity from urban to rural areas of the state.”

“The governor’s executive orders to social distance and stay home to work when you are able has had a flattening of the curve for the cities and that’s good. But in our area, the low numbers of cases reinforces the fact that we do not need the heavy hand of government to tell us to use our common sense.”

“It was the actions of people who wouldn’t stay home in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day celebrating that triggered these executive orders, not the actions of teachers or farmers or small business owners in southern Illinois,” added Rep. Bailey.

“Common sense says that if there are concerns with people in close settings like nursing homes, hospitals, group homes, and even prisons, then set out a plan to deal with these special circumstances, but don’t try to impose the same rules on everyone when they are not needed.”

“Our system was set up for checks and balances of power by the different branches of government to prevent an over-reach by one branch over the citizens. Our only course of action at this point just may be a lawsuit to challenge the powers of the governor through the courts. Wisconsin Republicans have already begun legal proceedings against their governor’s stay at home orders.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order is beginning its second month and with an extension beyond the end of April expected, Bailey is questioning the governor’s authority to issue emergency declarations beyond this 30 days. Just like with the war powers act for the president of the United States to be required to go to the congress if it is necessary for an emergency situation, so too the governor should go to the legislature if he feels it needs to go longer than 30 days.

Outside of trying to pass a law to take such powers away, which the governor could veto, the legislature doesn’t have much authority at this point. However, the governor’s authority could be challenged in court by families or business owners.

Bailey said he and his constituents have “played along long enough,” but “enough is enough.” Bailey said he’s pushing for a regional reopening of the state’s economy, but he’s not ruling out challenging the governor’s authority in the courts. He said he feels the governor’s powers were being “abused.”

“We hear absolutely no talk, no concern, of life in general, of the families who are out there hurting right now, financially, through the Department of Children and Family Services, through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the businesses, that’s being ignored, so, yeah, it’s a tyrannous situation,” Bailey said. “That’s the problem.”

Governor JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order expires on April 30. However, the governor has said that his office is looking at making changes to the order going forward rather than lifting it completely. He has not yet provided details on what changes could be made to the order.