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Pritzker says he has authority to extend a stay-at-home order

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Friday, May 15, 2020  |  Article  |  By Kevin Bessler | The Center Square

Governor (44) , Health (49)

(The Center Square) – With regions, counties and municipalities drawing up plans to reopen their economies, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that extending the stay-at-home until the end of May is within his power.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court this week overruled that governor’s extension, ruling that Tony Evers’ administration overstepped its authority.

The majority wrote in its decision that “an agency cannot confer on itself the power to dictate the lives of law-abiding individuals as comprehensively as the order does without reaching beyond the executive branch’s authority.”

During his daily press briefing Thursday, Pritzker was asked about the decision.

“We’re well within the laws that exist in Illinois to have a disaster declaration, and there’s an ongoing disaster, an ongoing emergency,” Pritzker said. “We will continue to work within the law to keep people safe.”

In his five-phase plan to reopen the state, phase 3 allows barbershops, salons, offices and manufacturing to open, but only allows groups of 10 or fewer. Restaurants, bars, schools and child care facilities are not permitted to open until phase 4, which would not be until late June.

Restaurants and bars in pockets around the state have decided to defy the order and have opened for business, and others are making plans to open soon.

Pritzker has threatened to take action against any business that opens early and possesses a state license.

Pritzker said Thursday that while no one plans to send in police forces to make mass arrests, other consequences are possible.

"What we are doing is enforcing, using lots of different methods, using our licensing capabilities and our ability to pull licenses from businesses," he said. "We're using our ability to make sure that the towns that are following this get funded properly and that those that don't, don't."