Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 5/18/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- Governor created rule that criminalizes defiance of state’s stay-at-home order
- Illinois representative threatens to attempt a recall of the Governor due to problems with IDES website
- Saint Anthony Hospital in Chicago files lawsuit for state’s unpaid Medicaid bills
- continued monitoring of data to reopen state’s economy
- Governor Pritzker filed an emergency rule that establishes a criminal penalty for businesses that violate the state’s stay-at-home order. The rule, which took effect immediately on Friday due to its classification as an “emergency,” allows law enforcement and a county’s State’s Attorney to charge a business owner with a Class A misdemeanor. (In Illinois, a Class A misdemeanor can be punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 or jail.) According to the Governor’s supporters, the purpose of the emergency rule is to act as “a new and gentler ‘tool’ that law enforcement can use to keep businesses closed during the coronavirus pandemic.” They also have stated that rulemaking is “cleaner” than having the legislature and Governor pass a law. However, those who oppose the rule call the Governor’s action “a legal overreach and beyond the scope of the Governor’s authority.” Further, some legislators believe the rule should have been vetted by a co-equal branch of government before enactment.
- Illinois’ residents who have lost their jobs have become increasingly frustrated with the technical issues on the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s unemployment webpage that have prevented many from successfully applying for unemployment benefits. Illinois Representative Allen Skillicorn has threatened to file a motion to recall the Governor’s election if Governor Pritzker does not fix the issues soon. Besides technical issues, the IDES announced Friday that a massive data breach occurred for an unknown number of workers’ personal information.
- Saint Anthony Hospital in Chicago has filed suit against the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services for financial impacts to the hospital due to COVID-19. According to officials, the state already owed the hospital millions of dollars at the beginning of the year for treatment of Medicaid patients, and the outstanding balance has only risen since the outbreak of the virus. The hospital petitioned a federal judge for an emergency hearing to recoup some of the money the state owes. Although Governor Pritzker provided some funding to the hospital out of the federal aid package, it is not expected to last long.
- Governor Pritzker continues to emphasize the importance of virus testing to gather data before he can fully reopen the state. Illinois has reached some milestones recently, including “routinely processing more than 20,000 tests per day.” Currently, the rolling average of tests has shown a 12% positivity rate. Although Governor Pritzker warns that the overall data could be off since testing has increased significantly, he remains optimistic about the possibility of moving into Phase Three by the end of May.