Small business owners in this state might be facing up to one year in jail and a fines if they defy state orders set in place by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, who amended Illinois Department of Public Health rules as an emergency order that went into effect.

Pritzker’s adjustment makes it so business owners who open, in defiance of state order to remain closed, can now be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The business owners will face a maximum of one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.

Mindy Ruckman of Illinois Policy stated that since this was amended as an emergency rule, that it is likely to remain in effect for 150 days. Now business owners who are forced with difficult decisions, who defy the stay-at-home order, open up to save their business, are at even more risk of prison and fines.

However, there are meetings on Wednesday, May 20, to discuss the emergency rule among key legislative committee members. The committee is called JCAR, short for the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. They face mounting pressure to reverse the rule as criticisms from voters appear across social media.

At least one state rep is attempting to block the rule. That is Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-IL) who said he plans to file a motion against Governor Pritzker’s emergency rule that could jail business owners. Wheeler needs majority support from eight of the 12 members from JCAR to support his objection and have the emergency rule possibly overturned.

Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-North Aurora, a member of JCAR, announced that he will file a motion during the meeting to object to the governor’s new rule. In order to successfully block the rule, at least eight of the 12 JCAR members must approve the objection.

“A single mom doing nails in her own home to try to feed her children and keep a roof over their heads would be subject to a substantial penalty, and even jail time,” Wheeler said.

Ruckman stated that “if the motion to object is approved, then the new rule would be temporarily blocked and small businesses would be spared, at least in the short term, from facing criminal penalties.”

JCAR is evenly split with six Republicans and six Democrats.

They meet Wednesday morning to discuss and likely vote on an outcome.

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