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HomeIllinois NewsLegislative committee blocks Pritzker's school mask mandate

Legislative committee blocks Pritzker’s school mask mandate

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DownloadSPRINGFIELD – Illinois General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative rules voted Tuesday to block re-implementing Governor JB Pritzker's mask mandate for K-12 public and private schools in Illinois.

The 12-member committee, made up of Democrat and Republican members of the Illinois House and Senate, voted 9 for blocking the Governor's mandate, zero opposed and two voted present. One member was not present at the vote. 

Illinois was the last remaining Midwestern state with a mask mandate for schools. Governor JB Pritzker announced last week the mandate would likely be lifted February 28th on indoor businesses, but not on schools. 

On February 4th, a Sangamon County judge issued a temporary restraining order against the governor's school mask mandate, declaring the emergency rules as they applied to schools “null and void.” 

Parents and students have been attending school board meetings to express their opposition or support for continuing the mask mandates. Some have been met with verbal resistance from school board members and intimidating police presence. 

State Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, said JCAR's decision was a "big win."

"Currently, there is no legal authority or emergency rule that allows Governor Pritzker to force schoolchildren to continue to wear masks. Governor Pritzker has done nothing to clear up the confusion he’s created, forcing chaos on children, parents, teachers, and schools. JB Pritzker has been defeated in court and now his emergency rule has been defeated by a legislative body.

"The Governor needs to accept the court’s decision and recognize that a co-equal branch of government has weighed in. The legislature has blocked the Governor’s emergency rule that says kids have to be in masks. The Governor should drop his continued insistence on school mask mandates,” Sosnowski said.

The Governor’s emergency rule on COVID mitigations for Illinois schools expired on Sunday, February 13. The Administration immediately re-filed the rule on Monday, putting it back into effect unless JCAR voted affirmatively to block it with a minimum of 8 members on the 12-member committee. Nine members voted to suspend the Governor’s emergency rule, with zero voting to keep it in place and two members voting “Present.” 

Rep. Keith Wheeler agreed with Sosnowski's sentiments. He said the decision about mask mandates would now fall to local school districts.

“Parents and children across Illinois deserve certainty and clarity amid all the confusion and chaos created by Governor Pritzker’s decision to continually go it alone and work only through the courts instead of with stakeholders and families,” Wheeler said in a statement. “Locally elected school boards who are accountable to parents and know best for their districts, along with their local health department experts, should be allowed to make decisions on COVID mitigations that fit their communities best. With JCAR’s bipartisan ruling today, there is no statewide mask mandate in effect for schools, and the decision now belongs with the local school districts.”

All three House Republican members of JCAR voted to reject re-implementation of the Governor’s mask mandate, including Deputy GOP Leader Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), Assistant GOP Leader Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego), and Rep. Steve Reick (R-Woodstock). 

The Governor’s emergency rule on COVID mitigations for Illinois schools expired on Sunday, February 13. The Administration immediately re-filed the rule on Monday, putting it back into effect unless JCAR voted affirmatively to block it with a minimum of 8 members on the 12-member committee. Nine members voted to suspend the Governor’s emergency rule, with zero voting to keep it in place and two members voting “Present.” 

During the hearing, Representative Wheeler suggested to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) official testifying on behalf of the Pritzker Administration that the agency could have shown respect for the ongoing judicial process by issuing guidance to Illinois schools on recommended COVID mitigations instead of re-filing them as mandates in the form of an emergency rule. The IDPH official rejected that suggestion, reiterating the agency’s position of pressing forward with mandates rather than guidance.

Moments later, JCAR voted to approve a motion blocking re-implementation of the Governor’s mask mandate via emergency rule.

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s almost like Hunter made a deal with Pfizer?
    FDA Executive Officer on Hidden Camera Reveals Future COVID Policy: ‘Biden Wants To Inoculate As Many People As Possible…Have to Get an Annual Shot and wear a mask forever
    FDA Executive Officer, Christopher Cole: “You’ll have to get an annual shot [COVID vaccine]. I mean, it hasn’t been formally announced yet ‘cause they don’t want to, like, rile everyone up.”
    Cole on President Joe Biden: “Biden wants to inoculate as many people as possible.”
    [WASHINGTON, D.C. – Feb. 15, 2022] Food and Drug Administration [FDA] Executive Officer, Christopher Cole, inadvertently revealed that his agency will eventually announce that annual COVID-19 vaccinations will become policy.

  2. A genuine concern relates to the placement of election judges in the Chicago precincts. One of the few intelligent moves that Rauner made in 2014 was to see that actual Republicans were helping to count the votes in Chicago. His campaign pressed for the GOP election judges to be vetted.
    Following Rauner’s victory, Madigan and his lawyer Kasper amended the Election Code to place the power to appoint precinct judges of election in the hands of Ward Committeemen (as opposed to the party’s County Chairman which was the case in the past). Lo and behold, in all of the Machine Wards, Democrat Party shills filed petitions to run for GOP Ward Committee positions in 2016.
    In order to win statewide elections, a Republican candidate usually needs to gain a minimum of 20% of the Chicago vote. Otherwise, the Republicans will lose. Getting an honest vote count is critical and allowing Democrat plants to masquerade as Republican election judges is a sure fire way to for the GOP to lose.