In the future, Governors could be required to receive legislative input before extending emergency declarations beyond 30 days, under legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for a state to allow one person to have the power to keep issuing emergency declarations indefinitely without any legislative input,” said Barickman. “The Illinois constitution sets forth two co-equal branches of government and it is clear that we need a safeguard to make sure the executive branch doesn’t have the ability to unilaterally override the authority of the legislature.”
The Illinois constitution allows a Governor to issue emergency declarations for 30 days only, but does not expressly prohibit the Governor from re-issuing those declarations every thirty days. The legislation co-sponsored by Barickman, Senate Bill 3987, would require that after an initial disaster proclamation, the governor could only extend that declaration or make further proclamations concerning the same disaster if the General Assembly passes a resolution to approve the extension. If the General Assembly is unable to meet due to health or safety concerns, an extension or further proclamation could continue to be in effect if the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, Minority Leader of the Senate, and Minority Leader of the House submit written certification that the legislature is unable to convene to provide necessary approval of the extension or further proclamation..
“This doesn’t mean that the legislature would, or even should, override the Governor’s declarations, but it would make sure that government functions as it is supposed to, with co-equal branches working together to govern the state,” said Barickman.