Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Cabello files complaint against Gov. J.B. Pritzker; opponent responds

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD – State Rep. John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, on Wednesday, officially filed a lawsuit against Gov. J.B. Pritzker, challenging the governor’s stay-at-home edict meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Announced Tuesday, the complaint claims the governor overstepped his authority to force businesses to close, essentially shutting down the state as health officials contend with coronavirus outbreaks. Cabello contends it should be up to businesses whether to close during the pandemic and for citizens to decide whether to shelter-in-place.

“Pritzker’s overbroad executive order is not even remotely narrowly tailored as defined in the plan and administrative guidelines, as well as legal standards set by precedent,” the complaint reads. “The March 20 Executive Order is as broad as an ocean in attempting to achieve the compelling government interest of saving citizens from the COVID-19 virus.”

Cabello is represented by Greenville, Illinois, attorney Thomas DeVore, who also represents Illinois Rep. Darren Bailey, (R-Xenia). Bailey is also suing Pritzker, claiming the stay-at-home order violates his civil rights. And while Bailey’s complaint only pertains to him individually, any blockage of the executive order in Cabello’s case would apply to all Illinoisans.

Cabello’s opponent in the 68th District, Rockford lawyer Dave Vella (D), responded to Wednesday’s filing, calling it nothing more than political grandstanding.

“As a small business owner, I understand the difficult situation this shelter-in-place order has put and so many people and businesses in,” Vella said. “But now is not the time for self-promotion. Our community has been through so much during this crisis already. This lawsuit is reckless and seems to about John and his politics, not our community.”

Pritzker called Bailey’s lawsuit shameful yesterday, and had similar sentiments a day later while commenting on Cabello’s.

“We’re in the business here of keeping people safe and healthy,” the governor said. “That’s what the stay-at-home order has been about, and I think that lawsuit is just another attempt at grandstanding.”

The governor’s current stay-at-home order expires Friday. He announced last week his intention to extend it through May 30. Under the extension, nonessential businesses may offer curbside, pickup and delivery, face coverings are mandated in certain situations and some parks will open.

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