By Jim Hagerty
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. J.B. Pritzker withdrew an emergency rule that made businesses subject to criminal prosecution if they opened earlier than specified in the state’s plan to restart the economy.
According to members of the bi-partisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules that Pritzker withdrew the measure Wednesday as lawmakers convened at the Capitol.
The move was pushed largely by Republicans, who argued that the order exceeds the governor’s authority to amend the criminal code that defines a Class A misdemeanor.
Under the order, business order could have been fined up $2,500 and jailed for up to a year, if they opened their businesses against directives in Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.
The governor said Tuesday that making the violation a crime was less harmful to businesses than suspending licenses.
Sen. Dave Syverson, a vocal opponent of the amendment and restrictions in the Restore Illinois plan, said he is pleased with the governor’s decision.
“I am pleased that the governor has decided to withdraw his emergency rules which would have negatively impacted our business community and punished hardworking Illinoisans,” the Rockford Republican said from Springfield. “The idea of criminally charging small business owners for trying to stay open to support their families was something the Senate Republicans strongly opposed. This was a big win on our first day back in Springfield. I am glad that, with the help of a large public outcry, we were able to defeat this rule change.”
This story will be updated.