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Illinois lawmakers object to continued emergency rules

A bipartisan group of Illinois lawmakers is objecting to continued emergency rules from the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding COVID-19.

Earlier this month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued another consecutive disaster proclamation for Illinois. With it, modified executive orders do away with masks and COVID-19 testing for healthcare workers among other changes while vaccine mandates continue for some state employees that work in congregate settings.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, or JCAR, which has oversight authority over state agency regulatory rulemaking, is taking issue with the process.

State Rep. Steven Reick, a member of JCAR, said lawmakers shoud have a say.

“The issue was one not of the legitimacy of the rule,” Reick told The Center Square. “The problem was one of IDPH has got very broad emergency rulemaking power.”

Reick took issue with the IDPH not following the state-required process, including a JCAR board review.

“That rulemaking process is there for a reason. It is there to allow the public and concerned parties to discuss the rule and point out objections and possible changes,” Reick said. “The IDPH said we will just throw this out there as an emergency rule. Well, we at JCAR think that is over the top as far as their use of the emergency rule.”

Reick said during the meeting that the old process needs to be re-instituted after 35 disaster proclamations have been issued by the governor since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

“The pandemic is over. It is time for us to get back to the normal way of doing business,” Reick said during the hearing. “And the normal rulemaking process should be the one that is used instead of emergency rulemaking when the time is available to do that.”

JCAR issued a formal objection to the executive order on Tuesday. The IDPH will now have 90 days to respond.

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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