State Rep. David Friess’ Weekly Update – 2/18/22

Session Resumed

After a week off, the General Assembly reconvened as the deadline to get bills out of committee quickly approached. While most of the work was done in committees, action on the House floor was limited largely to the debate on ending all mask mandates. Several members, including myself, were removed from the House floor as a result. Below is my statement in response to this act:

“I, and several other Republicans, were asked to leave the House floor this afternoon because of the Democrats’ strict compliance with the mask mandate. Following our exit, every Republican left the House Floor in a show of support. This was another example that the Democrats’ hypocrisy knows no bounds. They refuse to deviate rules on masks, but they have no problem making an exception to the rules concerning their wants. For instance, the appointment of the Legislative Inspector General-which is the entity that investigates corrupt politicians. A search committee was formed to interview potential candidates and the names of candidates were forwarded to the Legislative Ethics Commission for consideration. Unfortunately, the Commission was unable to reach an agreement on a candidate. So, instead of following the rules and reaching a compromise, or reaching an agreement on another candidate, the Democrats decided to summarily select someone to fill the position. Again, just a little hypocritical.”

JCAR Votes on Masking in Schools

Earlier this week, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) met to vote on the latest version of COVID-19 mitigation rules for K-12 schools. The committee voted 9-0 to suspend the rules and prevent them from going into effect. This was great news for families in Illinois as it was a large step towards once again allowing freedom of choice to rule. I offered the following statement after the vote:

“Yesterday’s ruling was an unprecedented win for families and children in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health tried to keep our children masked despite the lack of evidence that masks do anything to prevent the spread of covid. House Republican members asked the hard questions of IDPH and demanded they produce evidence to support its position, and they had no answers. Here’s the thing, IDPH will never have any answers. The Governor has long overstepped his bounds and has ruled as a dictator. He abandoned science for politics. This emergency rule filed by IDPH was a desperate attempt to hold on to the control the Governor gained over your lives. It’s beginning to unravel. This ruling, and last week’s court ruling, are victories for the citizens of Illinois. Desperation is setting in for Governor Pritzker. We must keep up the fight.”

Illinois Appellate Court Deals Pritzker a Blow

Late Thursday night, Governor Pritzker was dealt another blow to his tyrannical reign. A three-judge panel of the Illinois Appellate Court dismissed Pritzker’s appeal of Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow’s decision to place a temporary restraining order on his school mask mandate. In addition to JCAR’s vote, this is the third loss for Governor Pritzker in as many weeks. As I, and my colleagues, have been saying all along, the right to make decisions that are best for students should be left to local school boards and parents, not the Governor. Last night’s ruling gives me hope that the tides are turning in this fight against a pompous governor and his quest for control. 

New Legislation Filed

I filed two new pieces of legislation this week, the first being HB5686. This bill seeks to prevent counties from publicly disclosing on the Internet whether a property has been granted a disability homestead exemption if requested from the person with a disability or their representative.

The second was HB5693. This would make it so that a person applying for a position in a fire department or fire protection district must disclose if he or she has been convicted, arrested, or charged with arson or other criminal damages by using fire. After a recent incident in our district brought this to my attention, I felt it was necessary to take steps to help prevent this oversight from happening again. My full release is here