(The Center Square) – The commission of lawmakers meant to work side by side with Gov. J.B. Pritzker on how to restore Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended through 2023.
Pritzker approved the Restore Illinois Commission this summer. The commission’s was designed to meet with the governor and his cabinet to make decisions regarding COVID-19.
The commission met 16 times over 2020 but did have multiple cancellations and hearings cut short due to a multitude of reasons.
State Rep. Mike Murphy was part of the commission previously and is now against extending it.
Murphy said his main issue with the commission was the lack of cooperation from the governor.
“I joined the commission because I wanted to make sure the General Assembly was engaged,” Murphy said. “We were AWOL for 224 days in 2020 until lame duck 2021.”
Murphy said the only time the governor ever sought advice from the commission was regarding Halloween.
“In my memory that was the only time the governor engaged with us, was to ask whether or not children should be able to trick-or-treat,” Murphy said.
State Rep. Kelly Burke has been in support of another two years of the commission and said that claims of the governor and his people not being involved are not true.
“The Governor or his people were engaged in a large majority of the meetings held, almost everyone,” Burke said.
The Restore Illinois Commission was important at the beginning of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 because lawmakers were not working together in Springfield and committees were not up and running. Lawmakers are now back at work and Murphy said that’s where the collaboration should be happening.
“We do not need that commission now,” Murphy said. “We are back to work, we have 45 committees that need to be up and running, we need to be having hearings during the summer. We don’t need that commission now.”
The Restore Illinois Commission will continue to meet until Jan. 1, 2023.