SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Governor JB Pritzker's administration withdrew a controversial Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) rule Wednesday that imposed a Class A misdemeanor on businesses that defied the stay-at-home order.
The news was confirmed ahead of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) meeting that was set to discuss the issue.
JCAR announced in the meeting it will not take action since the emergency rule is already being repealed.
Pritzker said his administration withdrew the rule "in order to pursue legislation with the same intended mechanism in a phased manner in line with the Restore Illinois plan."
"Enacting this measure through legislation will allow us to have these tools throughout the Restore Illinois plan versus an emergency rule that would be withdrawn and rewritten at the start of phase three and then phase four," Pritzker said during his daily coronavirus press briefing.
Still, he defended the rule, saying it "brought Illinois in line" with a national practice and gave local officials "more flexibility in their ability to enforce this order with a citation."
Pritzker noted Monday that despite the new rules in place, no such charges were issued over the weekend.
"Nobody is you know, sending police forces in to break up activity, you know, across the state," Pritzker said during his briefing. "What we are doing is enforcing using lots of different methods, enforcing using our licensing capability and our ability to pull licenses from businesses. We're using our ability to make sure that that, you know, the towns that are following this get funded properly and those that don't don't. And so there are lots of ways in which you know, we can enforce, we will continue to work on that enforcement."
The order was blasted as an executive overreach by some Republican lawmakers, but Pritzker insisted that it’s actually less punitive than other measures that could be used as an enforcement tool. He urged the General Assembly to take up the legislation this week.
"Given the important of what we are trying to do here, we will look to file an additional rule if legislation does not occur," he said Wednesday.
Illinois State Police had already said Tuesday they did not plan on issuing criminal misdemeanors to people violating the state's stay-at-home order, but instead intended to focus on businesses and corporations.
JCAR is a bipartisan legislative oversight committee created by the General Assembly in 1977. The committee is authorized to conduct systematic reviews of administrative rules promulgated by State agencies.
JCAR is composed of 12 legislators who are appointed by the legislative leadership, split equally between the two houses and the two political parties. It is co-chaired by two members representing each party and each legislative house.
Two purposes of JCAR are to ensure the General Assembly is informed of how laws are implemented through agency rule-making and to facilitate public understanding of rules and regulations.