Illinois judge temporarily releases GOP state lawmaker from stay-at-home order extension

An Illinois judge temporarily released a GOP state lawmaker from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) stay-at-home order extension on Monday.

Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney issued a temporary restraining order, which released Illinois state Rep. Darren Bailey (R) from having to comply with the order now set to last until May 30. The judge said in his ruling that Pritzker’s extension “shredded the Constitution,” CBS Chicago reported

Bailey had filed a lawsuit against the governor, saying he overstepped his authority in declaring a 30-day extension to the order last week. While the ruling allows only Bailey to be released from the extension, the decision opens up the possibility for others to join the lawsuit or file separate suits, CBS Chicago noted. 

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Pritzker, who extended the order last Thursday, reacted to the ruling, saying his team plans to “fight this legal battle to the furthest extent possible, to ensure the public health and commonsense.”

“Rep. Darren Bailey’s decision to take to the courts to try and dismantle public health directives designed to keep people safe is an insult to all Illinoisans who have been lost during this COVID-19 crisis, and it’s a danger to millions of people who may get ill because of his recklessness,” he said during his Monday press conference.

The governor said the order has saved “tens of thousands” from being infected and “thousands” from dying from COVID-19.

State law allows the governor to declare a disaster for 30 days but does not say whether he can issue another declaration after the first one’s expiration. Pritzker argued during his comments that the ruling would set a dangerous precedent, as disasters don’t always disappear in 30 days.

The governor said his office will seek an emergency stay of the ruling as the case moves to the Illinois Appellate Court, CBS Chicago reported.