SPRINGFIELD – On Wednesday, State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) joined House Republicans in Springfield to advocate for legislation that would ensure the legislature is involved in extending emergency orders and managing long-term emergency situations. Rep. Batinick and State Reps. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva), Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville), and Norrine Hammond (R-Macomb) spoke about this legislation at the State Capitol during the first week of the fall veto session.
Under House Bill 843, the Governor can issue a disaster proclamation and extend it beyond the initial 30 days with approval from the General Assembly. The legislature would have to meet to approve such an extension within five days. Additionally, the General Assembly can also adopt a joint resolution at any time declaring the proclamation to be void. Proponents of the legislation say this is the perfect way to ensure that elected representatives are providing appropriate oversight in long-term emergency situations.
“I find it astonishing that we spoke on Wednesday while operating in an emergency that gives emergency powers to the Governor, but the General Assembly has been meeting for the last year plus,” said Rep. Batinick. “We need to go through the normal process of policymaking with the state’s response to COVID-19, and ask serious questions in House and Senate committee hearings. I have questions I personally want the answers to and the Governor’s experts need to provide them. We need a public hearing on these issues and the Governor should not have the ability to do this unilaterally.”
Rep. Batinick has offered ideas to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including a September letter to Governor Pritzker suggesting placing metrics on mask requirements in Illinois and better localizing community spread metrics. Rep. Batinick has also introduced the COVID-19 Liability Act and the Fair Business Treatment Law in the 102nd General Assembly.
“We cannot like our system because we like the outcome,” said Rep. Batinick. “We have to like the system because we won’t always like the outcome.”
Rep. Batinick’s remarks can also be viewed online here.