| Firm News
Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 7/30/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- Thomas DeVore speaking out about taking local officials to court
- DeVore asking Illinois General Assembly to reconvene
- Attorney General asking Illinois Supreme Court to transfer/consolidate cases against Governor
- Chicago adding four more states to its travel order
- Some Illinois schools changing course on in-person learning
- Chicago Public Schools wanting feedback on preliminary reopening plan
- Governor warning that reversal in the state’s reopening is possible
- Chicago Mayor announcing $33 million fund for housing grants
- Thomas DeVore, the attorney who has filed a number of lawsuits against Governor Pritzker for the Governor’s responses to the pandemic, is now speaking out against local officials as well. While many cases against the Governor are pending, DeVore has made clear he is not afraid to challenge local officials as well. According to DeVore, “… local health departments can close a business if it is a public health risk [but not] because they’re not wearing a mask.” He added that “if they want to try that in court, I’m ready. They can’t do these things.”
- DeVore has also written to the Illinois legislature in an effort to convince them to reconvene so they can “determine rules for schools and businesses so both can safely resume operations without harming public health.” If the General Assembly agrees to meet, DeVore said he will halt proceedings in the cases he’s filed. However, Representative John Cabello, one of DeVore’s clients who filed a lawsuit against Pritzker, does not believe a session will be scheduled before this fall.
- In response to the growing number of lawsuits against Governor Pritzker for his responses to the pandemic, the Illinois Attorney General’s office has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to transfer and consolidate the cases with a suit currently pending in Sangamon County. Thomas DeVore now has cases throughout the state, from White County in Southern Illinois to Sangamon County in Central Illinois and Winnebago County in Northern Illinois. DeVore’s argument is that judges should be able to make the decision on whether a disaster exists locally, while the Attorney General’s office argues that Governor Pritzker has the constitutional and statutory authority to make that decision.
- Chicago has added four more states to its travel order: Wisconsin, Missouri, North Dakota, and Nebraska. The order requires travelers who have been in any of the 22 states listed to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Chicago. The order is set to remain in effect until further notice, with the states included to be evaluated every Tuesday.
- Despite previously announced plans that gave parents the option for in-person learning this fall, the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus has caused many schools to change course and start the school year with online-instruction only. Some, like Arlington Heights, intend to reevaluate monthly, with the goal being to transition to hybrid instruction at some point. Others, such as Plainfield School District and Evanston Township and Stevenson high schools, will start with virtual learning initially, planning to resume in-person learning later if COVID-19 conditions allow.
- As previously updated, Chicago Public Schools has been conducting an online survey about the proposed framework for schools reopening this fall. In addition, CPS has also been holding virtual meetings, with the last two to take place today and tomorrow.
- Governor Pritzker is warning Illinois residents that they could see a reversal in reopening as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. He stated that, “It doesn’t take long at all for a trajectory of success to turn into rising hospitalizations and deaths. And if things don’t change, a reversal is where we’re headed.” Cases are rising in places such as the Metro East (which has a 7.8% positivity rate), Cook County (which has a positivity rate of 5.5%), and Will and Kankakee Counties (which have a 6.2% positivity rate).
- Despite much criticism, Governor Pritzker has announced that youth sports and adult recreational leagues will be limited, depending on what “risk level” they involve. Whether a sport is low, medium, or high risk depends on the amount of contact between players and the proximity they have to each other. The rule, which takes effect August 15, cites four levels of play. At level 1, only no-contact practices are permitted. Level 2 allows team scrimmages. Level 3 allows intra-league play, as well as state- or league-championships games for low-risk sports only. At level 4, tournaments, championship games, and out-of-state play may resume.
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced a $33 million fund for housing grants to be used for things like mortgage and rental assistance. Deadline to apply is August 10.
- Governor Pritzker has issued a new state disaster declaration, which will remain in effect for the next 30 days. The proclamation discusses the increasing problems residents face due to the pandemic and the need for government action. In addition, Governor Pritzker issued two new executive orders. Executive Oder #47 allows K-12 schools to opt for in-person learning so long as official guidelines are followed. Executive Order #48extends previous orders to August 22, 2020, including the ban on residential evictions.