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Gov. Pritzker tells McHenry County state’s attorney to ‘follow the law’ on enforcing indoor dining ban

McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally (left) and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (right) | Photo – Left: Matthew Apgar / Northwest Herald (Pool Photo) and Photo – Right: Illinois Information Service.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker responded to the McHenry County state’s attorney’s announcement that he would not enforce an indoor dining ban by saying he hopes the state’s attorney would “follow the law and do the right thing.”

Pritzker’s comments come after McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally slammed Pritzker on Wednesday and said he would not enforce the governor’s indoor dining ban, calling his powers questionable.

Pritzker said it was “surprising the state’s attorney’s office doesn’t want to follow the law.”

“And other jurisdictions are following the law and prosecuting these fines for businesses that are failing to follow these mitigations. Or they’re opening their doors, if they’re bars, and spreading the virus willy-nilly at a time when we’re undergoing a terrible second wave of the virus,” Pritzker said.

“I would hope that officers of the court, like state’s attorneys, would follow the law and do the right thing,” Pritzker said.

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“Because people are getting sick. If you don’t do the right thing, more people will get sick,” he added.

Kenneally said his decision took into account the nature of Pritzker’s executive orders.

Kennealy said there is no provision in the executive orders or the Illinois Emergency Management Act requiring or authorizing the State’s Attorney’s Office to enforce these orders.

“Second, there is the legitimate question, currently being litigated, as to whether the executive orders, which require the Governor to exercise “emergency powers,” are authorized under Illinois law or otherwise constitutional,” Kenneally said.

“The legitimacy of the Governor exercising “emergency” powers, going on ten months now, could have been easily answered by the Illinois Legislature. To date and despite having ample opportunity, the Legislature has offered nothing,” Kenneally added.

He said that Pritzker has “taken it upon himself” to unilaterally make laws by executive order that “drastically impact the day-to-day lives and constitutional rights” of Illinois residents.

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“In other words, the People’s representatives, charged with advancing the will and interests of residents, have yet to consider or legislate on one of the most important issues this State has ever faced. This is a dangerous combination in a constitutional republic,” Kenneally said.

He said that hundreds of McHenry County businesses would be permanently shuttered if the state’s attorney’s office enforced the ban.

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office will enforce all other related administrative rules, ordinances and statutes.

Those rules include limits on business occupancy and employees and customers being required to wear masks and maintain six-feet of social distancing.

Kenneally noted that violators of the governor’s executor orders could face consequences from other agencies, which would include the Illinois State Police, Illinois Attorney General, Illinois Liquor Control Commission and the Illinois Gaming Board.