Senate GOP leader files bill to reopen Illinois businesses by June 1

By Cole Lauterbach

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, has filed a measure that would require state officials to allow businesses to reopen next month, in addition to restricting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s emergency declaration powers.

“The proposal put forward by the Illinois Chamber (of Commerce) is an important step in moving the discussion forward on how we safely reopen our state and get our economy moving forward more quickly,” he said.

The language of the legislation has yet to be posted, but the Illinois Chamber released details Wednesday afternoon.

“Reopening should be safe and equitable for all Illinois communities,” Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said. “Thousands of businesses across Illinois have been operating safely from day one of the shutdown. Any business that proves they can operate as safely as the ones that have been open this whole time should be allowed to reopen as soon as possible.”

If enacted:

  1. The Department of Public Health shall establish Safe Place of Business (SPB) protocols by May 30, 2020. These protocols will include: customer density limits based on business facilities’ square footage and appropriate, social distancing; face-covering requirements for employees; and regular cleaning regimens.
  2. Specific customer-facing businesses may need additional protocols.
  3. The SPB protocols may vary, based on the prevalence of COVID-019 diagnoses within the 11 Department of Public Health (IDPH)’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regions. Regions with higher instances of COVID-19 may have lower density thresholds and more frequent cleaning requirements. Those with fewer COVID-19 cases would have less stringent requirements.
  4. Any business that complies with their regional SPB protocols will be able to reopen and rehire staff at their discretion as soon as practical.
  5. Daycare centers may reopen or expand capacity at its discretion as soon as practical if it complies with the SFB developed by the IDPH.
  6. Hospitals and other health care facilities located in regions that have adequate Intensive Care Unit capacity should be able to perform any services for any patients needing care. These health care facilities would be required to adhere to SPB protocols. A public information campaign that explains these safety measures should be implemented so that non-COVID patients do not put off necessary care.
  7. To facilitate the state response to future medical emergencies, the state should adopt common-sense strategies such as allowing physicians licensed in one state to practice in others and create financial incentives to accelerate the implementation of telemedicine.
  8. After an initial disaster proclamation, the governor may not extend the proclamation without the General Assembly passing a resolution that approves the extension in whole or in part within five calendar days after the extension or further proclamation. If, due to health or safety concerns, the General Assembly is unable to convene to approve the extension, the extension may remain in effect with written certification from the Speaker of the House, the Senate President and the Minority Leaders of the House and Senate.

Due to Constitutional reading requirements, the Illinois General Assembly would either have to convene again next week or Brady would have to attach the language of this bill to another that’s already made it through one side of the legislative process. The process is typical in Springfield, especially with legislation pertaining to state budgets.

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

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