Hiring local workers; ruling in emergency declaration lawsuit

Hiring local workers for state projects

With the Illinois economy taking a major hit from the pandemic and the shutdown, unemployment has spiked into double digits. By doing so, it has activated an Illinois law, the Employment of Illinois Workers on Public Works Act, which requires that at least 90% of those employed on public works projects be Illinois residents.

Any time unemployment exceeds 5% for two consecutive months, these requirements are in effect. In April, Illinois unemployment went up to 17.2% and it stood at 15.2% in May. We have seen significant recovery in recent weeks, but the rate remains high, so this requirement is still in effect. The law applies any time a public works project is underway in Illinois which is funded entirely or partially with federal funds administered by the state.

Read more from the Illinois Department of Labor.

Judge rules against shutdown orders, appeal expected

A judge in Clay County has ruled against Governor Pritzker’s shutdown orders, finding that the Governor did not have authority to issue such orders for more than the 30 days spelled out in Illinois law. The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by my colleague Rep. Darren Bailey, and the Governor’s office is expected to appeal.

State law gives the Governor the power to act in an emergency, but only for a period of 30 days. At issue was whether or not emergency actions, like the shutdown order, could be extended every 30 days. The law is silent on what happens after that initial 30 day period.

For months now I have said that the legislature should be involved in making these decisions. We are a co-equal branch of government under the Constitution, and each of us has been sent to Springfield to represent our constituents. Local leaders and elected officials need to be part of this process.

Join us for a Facebook live discussion of executive orders and JCAR

Thursday evening at 5 p.m. I will be joined by State Representative Keith Wheeler of Oswego and House Republican staff counsel Derek Persico to discuss the issue of Executive Orders. We have all seen first-hand the effect of government-by-Executive-Order during the pandemic shutdown. But what exactly are these orders and how do they work?

Representative Wheeler is also a member of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which has oversight of many actions by the executive branch. He helped lead the fight back in May when Governor Pritzker attempted to enact an emergency rule allowing criminal charges to be brought against businesses which tried to open their doors. This should be an interesting discussion of state government’s response to the pandemic and where we go from here. Visit my Facebook page for more information.

More news from around the state

The latest update from the Department of Public Health

Coronavirus has now reached every county in Illinois

Illinois EPA to Offer Expanded Hours at Centralized Vehicle Emissions Testing Sites

Emergency Management Officials Encourage Illinois Residents to Learn a Life Saving Skill

Municipalities re-open public pools

IHSA gets green light on next set of return to play guidelines

For additional helpful resources, click here.

For continually updated news from state agencies, visit: coronavirus.illinois.gov or my website at repbennett.com and click on COVID-19 Info. Persons with coronavirus questions or concerns should call the statewide toll-free coronavirus hotline at 1-800-889-3931. You can also submit questions via e-mail at dph.sick@illinois.gov.

My district offices remain closed to in-person visits, but are still accessible by phone at (815) 432-0106 (Watseka) and (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac).