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State lawmaker asks judge to hold Gov. Pritzker in contempt, put him in jail over executive orders

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and state officials speak at their daily press conference on May 21, 2020 | Photo: Illinois Information Service.

(The Center Square) – An Illinois state representative wants the court system to find the governor in civil contempt in the ongoing legal fights over COVID-19 executive orders, and for the governor to be held in jail until recent executive orders are rescinded.

Through his attorney, state Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, filed a motion in Clay County court to hold Gov. J.B. Pritzker in civil contempt for failing to satisfy the court’s order by continuing to issue COVID-19 executive orders.

On July 2, Clay County Judge Michael McHaney issued an order in favor of Bailey that voided the governor’s orders after the initial 30 days, which was anything after April 8.

McHaney said the order was good for all citizens across the state, not just in Clay County and not just for Bailey.

Pritzker has said numerous times that order is just for Clay County and just for Bailey. The governor has dismissed Bailey’s case as political grandstanding.

“This isn’t about some political battle between me and the Governor, it’s about the law,” Bailey said.

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“The Governor should respect and follow state law, and a court that ruled in accordance with that law,” he added.

The governor’s office did not return messages seeking comment. The Office of the Attorney General declined to comment.

“All I can say is the rulings out of Clay County have been ridiculous,” Pritzker said when asked about it Wednesday afternoon.

Bailey’s filing Wednesday also seeks to have the courts order Pritzker to rescind executive orders issued July 24 and 27, or that he be held in Clay County jail until there’s compliance.

“Apparently, some people have forgotten we have a representative government,” Bailey said in a statement.

“The General Assembly needs to convene immediately to address the critical issues of governance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of the one-person rule from the Governor’s headquarters in Chicago,” Bailey added.

In other cases challenging the governor’s orders in other jurisdictions, including in federal courts, judges have either dismissed the challenges entirely or have refused to issue temporary restraining orders while the cases are still pending.


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