* The governor was asked several times today about a fine for not wearing masks. He said locals should consider doing it…
In May, Pritzker asked a bipartisan legislative rule-making panel to consider a controversial rule change that would have businesses face a misdemeanor criminal charge, punishable by a $2,500 fine or 364 days in jail, for opening in violation of his stay-at-home order.
Amid complaints the penalties in that emergency rule proposal were too harsh, and when it appeared the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules may have been poised to block it, Pritzker backed off.
Pritzker on Monday said his administration is exploring another rule related to mask wearing.
“I asked JCAR to consider a rule that would impose fines when people are not requiring masks to be worn. They didn’t want to do that, they wanted to consider legislation and then didn’t bring up that legislation,” Pritzker said Monday of the four-day special General Assembly session in May. “We certainly are considering what rule we could put in place that JCAR would approve.”
The problem, of course, is that any new rule has to be based on state law, and the law currently imposes a misdemeanor, not a lower-level punishment like a business offense. As we’ve already discussed, the rule he submitted in May was also poorly drafted. Maybe he could just tighten it up and resubmit it. But because the GA didn’t act, the new rule would still have to include a misdemeanor penalty, which means a successful prosecution of a business for not requiring masks could include jail time if a state’s attorney and a judge ever agreed to go that far.
* The Question: Should the governor revamp and resubmit his emergency rule? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…
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…Adding… An example of the local enforcement Pritzker was talking about today…
Inspectors from the Sangamon County Department of Public Health cited two restaurants over the weekend for employees not wearing face coverings.
Chatham Café, 414 N. Main St., and The Main Gate Bar & Grill, 2143 N. 11th St., were each fined $250 for first-time violations, said director Gail O’Neill Monday.