Gov. JB Pritzker has withdrawn a controversial emergency rule that would have allowed businesses to be charged with a misdemeanor if they reopened prematurely.


Staff from the Illinois Department of Public Health told the bi-partisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules that the order had been withdrawn.


The move avoided a possible showdown with Republican lawmakers on the panel who said they wanted to block the rule from going into effect. They contended Pritzker exceeded his authority in issuing the rule. Pritzker said state law already allows businesses to be charged if they violate a quarantine order during a health emergency.


Pritzker contended that charging a business with a misdemeanor – punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 – was less harmful that other measures that could be used such as taking away a business’s licenses to operate. Republicans, however, said he was criminalizing people who were just trying to salvage their livelihoods.