Republican State Representative John Cabello is upping the ante in his fight against the governor’s stay-at-home order.
The lawmaker filed a restraining order May 12, Tuesday night, asking a Winnebago County judge to rule Governor JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order invalid for everyone in Illinois.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul immediately filed a motion in response, asking for this legal battle to be moved into federal court.
Cabello had already filed a lawsuit against the governor for his extended stay-at-home order. He was the second lawmaker to do so.
Illinois health officials Tuesday announced 144 more COVID-19 deaths, raising the toll in the state to 3,601. The state also saw a record-high 4,014 new cases of the virus.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker faces still more lawsuits accusing him of overstepping the bounds of his authority in shutting down businesses as one of the primary pieces of his action to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Since late last week, three lawsuits were filed in southern Illinois and in the northwest corner of the state challenging Pritzker’s use of emergency powers under state law.
The latest lawsuits directly challenge Pritzker’s use of executive orders to force businesses to close, potentially forever, without any opportunity for appeal or due process.
The arguments underpinning the lawsuits are essentially the same as those already laid out in prior actions brought by two Republican state lawmakers against Pritzker, a Democrat.
The lawsuits – all brought by clients represented by attorney Tom DeVore, of Greenville – assert Pritzker did not have the authority under the Illinois Emergency Management Act to extend his stay at home order beyond 30 days, without an action by the Illinois General Assembly specifically granting him continued emergency powers.
They also argue the governor ignored state law laying out a process by which the Illinois Department of Public Health is empowered to order the closures – and business owners are granted the opportunity to challenge that closure in court.
Under his stay at home order, Pritzker divided businesses and activities in the state into two categories – essential and “non-essential.” The order directed all “non-essential” businesses to close, and all “non-essential” activities to cease.
The governor has repeatedly said the order was needed to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and “save lives.”
However, since Pritzker announced his intent to extend the order until the end of May, and then did so, criticism, resistance and legal challenges to his actions have steadily mounted since.