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Illinois state lawmaker wants governor held in contempt for coronavirus orders

Illinois state lawmaker wants governor held in contempt for coronavirus orders
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Illinois state Rep. Darren Bailey (R) has filed a petition for Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) to be held in contempt, claiming the governor violated a court ruling when he recently issued three executive orders to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 

Pritzker signed two executive orders in late July, weeks after a Clay County judge ruled he had overstepped his authority issuing similar orders after April 8.

The first order was signed to allow K-12 schools to reopen, and the second extended several existing coronavirus mitigation efforts in earlier orders, including an eviction freeze. 

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Bailey’s petition calls for Pritzker to either rescind the two orders or be held in Clay County Jail until he does.

“This isn’t about some political battle between me and the Governor, it’s about the law,” Bailey told local NBC affiliate WAND. “The Governor should respect and follow state law, and a court that ruled in accordance with that law.”

The petition calls for “Pritzker to be ordered to purge himself by rescinding the abovementioned executive orders instanter; and should he refuse, he be placed in temporary custody within the Clay County Jail until he purges himself by rescinding the above-mentioned executive orders.”

The petition came the same day another judge, Circuit Judge John Anderson, ruled Pritzker was within his authority to extend an eviction freeze.

Anderson ruled against a group of landlords who sued over the order, noting five federal judges have ruled in favor of Pritzker’s authority. Anderson called the Clay County ruling “bereft of any meaningful legal analysis, and … wholly unpersuasive for that reason.”

It remains unclear how broadly the Clay County ruling applies.

Officials with Pritzker’s office told Fox Illinois that Phase 4 of Restore Illinois, the state’s reopening plan, will continue as scheduled.

A spokesperson for Pritzker's office referred The Hill to his Wednesday press conference, in which he said "All I can say is the rulings out of Clay County have been ridiculous. There’s no other court that has ruled as they have on the matter that they ruled on. And in fact there’s a judge on Friday who specifically pointed to Clay County and said that the decision by that judge was bereft of any legal analysis. And I think that’s accurate."
 
Updated 4:53 p.m.