Stewart: Bipartisan vote blocks Governor’s mask mandate

SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) issued a statement reacting to a bipartisan vote Feb. 15 blocking Gov. JB Pritzker’s efforts to ensure his mask mandates continue in most Illinois school districts.

The Illinois Department of Public Health had reissued an emergency rule Feb. 14 for schools not subject to an ongoing lawsuit about mask requirements. The state’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) blocked that rule Feb. 15 by a 9-0-2 vote.

“Democrat members of the JCAR joined with Republican members to block the Pritzker Administration’s order to continue enforcing state mask, vaccine and testing mandates in P-12 schools,” Stewart said. “This is quite a changeup for a Governor who has chosen to rule the state unilaterally during the COVID-19 pandemic through a series of continuous Executive Orders since March 2020.”

“In each instance, an Executive Order was issued without engaging with state lawmakers or local government officials,” he added. “With its vote Feb. 15, not one single legislator, Republican or Democrat, on JCAR sided with the Governor that his Executive Branch supersedes the co-equal Legislative and Judicial branches of Illinois government.”

Stewart said he has never been in favor of statewide mandates and has always advocated for local control. Illinois is about to enter a third year of Gov. Pritzker ruling unilaterally through Executive Orders and statewide mandates.

Want to stay up to date with your Senator?

Sign up for the District E-Newsletter below: