With continued controversy and questions regarding many aspects of Governor Pritzker’s re-opening plan, along with the need for oversight from the co-equal legislative branch, State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) has continued his push for public hearings on the proposal.
“The question of how and when the state re-opens is likely the biggest public policy issue the state will face for a generation,” said Barickman. “Decisions of this magnitude, that will affect not only the health of everyone in Illinois but their economic well-being as well should not be made unilaterally behind closed doors. The legislature needs to weigh in on the plan.”
Two weeks ago, Barickman sent formal requests to Governor JB Pritzker and Senate President Don Harmon requesting that the Illinois Senate reconvene to hold public hearings on the governor’s plan, but did not receive an answer from either. Last week, the Senate President officially scheduled the body to convene May 20-22. On Friday, Barickman reached out to the governor by phone to request that he support hearings on the plan, but the Senator did not hear back from Pritzker. On Monday, May 18, Barickman sent an additional letter to the governor’s office to again formally request public hearings.
The Senator noted several questions that hearings could provide answers to, such as the basis for moving away from the 11 established EMS regions and lumping the state into just four large geographic areas, the rationale behind 28-day metrics for hospitalizations while other states rely on 14-day metrics, and issues brought up by coroners regarding suggesting inaccuracies in the official COVID-19 death count.
“Good public policy doesn’t need to fear sunshine and transparency, which is what public hearings would provide,” said Barickman. “I am confident that if we can have a serious discussion based on a mutual respect for our co-equal branches of government, there is no doubt that we can come together on a plan that best protects the health of our people and the future of our state.”
The Senator is also asking for the public’s help in his push for public hearings. On Senator Barickman’s website, JasonBarickman.org, there is a petition where people can add their name to the call for immediate public hearings on the governor’s re-opening plan.