ILLINOIS — The commission of lawmakers meant to collaborate with Gov. J.B. Pritzker on how to restore Illinois amid the COVID-19 pandemic dissolves by law at the end of the month.
Some want it to continue. Others think traditional legislative hearings may be the better approach.
Lawmakers created the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission in May. Pritzker enacted it this summer. The commission issued its first report this summer without the panel of lawmakers making up the commission even meeting.
After several false starts, canceled meetings and closed-door hearings cut short, State Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, noted the commission dissolves by law at the end of the month.
“I think we would be pushing to renew that,” Burke said at the last hearing earlier this month, the second public hearing since the group’s inception. “The pandemic and the after-effects are not going to end the 31st.”
State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, said it might be better with the ongoing pandemic to provide oversight and input through the traditional legislative hearing process.
“We need to put pressure on the directors, on the governor, to get things squared away,” Caulkins said in an interview. “We’ve been at this now for nine months, ten months, and there doesn’t seem to be any progress on any division.”
Burke told other lawmakers they’ve had some successes with things like the Business Interruption Grants. But Caulkins said a better way to effectuate change and hold the administration accountable is with legislative oversight hearings where recommendations can be made.
“I don’t care if it’s the Secretary of State, [Department of Children and Family Services], [Illinois Department of Public Health], the unemployment, all of these agencies have severely underperformed the expectations of the citizens of this state,” Caulkins said.
Lawmakers could reestablish the commission when the new general assembly is seated next month.
The Center Square – Greg Bishop