Following Governor Pritzker’s statewide mandate requiring all students to wear masks in school when classes resume this fall, State Representative Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) issued the following statement:

“It is time for an end to the Governor acting as if he is omnipotent on all matters involving Covid-19.  It should be up to the local school districts to decide what is best for each community. I have heard from countless parents on this issue, parents who have talked to and worked with local school boards on masking their children this school year and most all of which I am aware, already resolved the issue or are in the process of doing so. The Governor does not and should not supersede decisions made at the local level. 

Over the last 18 months, the Governor has leaned on his executive power all too often, and this is another overstep on his part. The role of the Governor is not to override our system of checks and balances by sidelining the legislature or to otherwise shutout the voices of the people of Illinois, especially in the area of local control. We live in a democracy and that fact cannot be left by the wayside.

I have filed legislation to prevent just that from happening. The bill would require the Governor to get legislative approval for any emergency beyond 30 days.  The problem is that I cannot get it called for a vote, much less a committee hearing, by the Democrat majority in the House. Six weeks ago, I sent a letter to House Speaker Welch expressing my concern and urging that my bill, HB843, be heard in the legislature. That call was ignored, and unfortunately, today’s news is another repercussion of Speaker Welch’s inaction: Governor Pritzker has ignored our calls to be involved in the governing process just as he is today ignoring the calls of parents across the state to have their voices heard and their wishes respected when it comes to the education of their children.

Today, it is even clearer that we need to prevent the abuse of executive power, which is why we need laws like HB843 in place.”