One of Illinois’ top Republicans says that bringing lawmakers back to Springfield could help de-escalate mounting tensions over the governor’s stay-at-home order.
State Sen. Bill Brady, the Senate minority leader from Bloomington, said he wants to see lawmakers return to Springfield to address a “minimal” list of emergent issues, including some appropriations work related to incoming money from the federal rescue package.
Brady also sees a connection between returning to work and the lawsuits filed by two Republican House members in opposition to Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.
“That’s even more reason for the General Assembly to do its work,” Brady said Friday. “There’d be less frustration than there is with just the governor making these decisions. If we play our role as a co-equal branch of government, I think the people would be more accepting of what we’d have to do to work our way through this.”
Brady said Senate Republicans sought legal counsel to advise their caucus, and “by and large the consensus of the legal opinions we got was that (Pritzker) has these rights.”
Brady said he was pleased to see Pritzker’s latest stay-at-home order modified to allow for elective surgeries to resume and state parks to reopen. Next, Brady said he wants to see a more “phased in” and “regional” approach to open even more businesses, such as hygiene services. That’s similar to what other Republicans in Illinois have sought.
“If the grocery stores can operate safely, and we wouldn’t allow them to if they couldn’t, so can the General Assembly. So can some other businesses that are ‘nonessential’ in the executive order but essential to the livelihood of their employees and customers,” Brady said.
Thirty-one days of May, he said, is a long time.
“We need to look at the state as a work in progress. It’s my hope, and I’m sure it’s the governor’s hope, that cases and loss of life diminish in a faster way than he anticipates, which allows us to move more quickly into phasing in economic opportunities and livelihoods in a safe way,” Brady said.
Ryan Denham is the Digital Content Director at WGLT in Normal.