Butler, Central Illinois Legislators Call for Direct Local Input to Address COVID-19, Re-open IL

This morning, central Illinois House Republican State Representatives Tim Butler (R-Springfield) and Mike Murphy (R-Springfield) held a press conference via Zoom to discuss their continued push for a more localized approach to addressing COVID-19 and re-opening Illinois’ economy. Fellow central Illinois State Representatives Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) and C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) also joined Butler and Murphy.

Now that the General Assembly is finally scheduled to return to session next week, something House Republicans have been calling on for weeks, the representatives said a more targeted regional approach than the Governor’s Restore Illinois plan needs to be taken up by the legislature.

“Considering the available facilities in Springfield, it shouldn’t have taken this long for a co-equal branch of government to finally be able to meet in a safe, transparent and public manner to weigh in on a path forward for addressing COVID-19,” said Rep. Butler. “I, and my colleagues, as well as community leaders and public health officials from across central Illinois have been more or less sidelined by the Governor’s approach so far. It’s obvious the regions laid out in his plan are overly broad and don’t take into account direct local input that would help develop more targeted regional plans to ensure public safety and address the ongoing economic devastation.”

Rep. Murphy noted recent comments by the Governor expressing that he is open to more local input as Illinois continues to balance the need to ensure public safety, while gradually re-opening regions of the state to prevent further economic distress and job losses.

“I hope Governor stands by his recent comments and allows the recommendations that come out of the legislature convening to be incorporated into a more targeted regional plan that prioritizes the safety and economic recovery suggestions of local experts,” said Rep. Murphy. “Like my fellow legislators, I have been in contact with local leaders, families, and small businesses of all types from across central Illinois who have been crying out for this opportunity. I believe we can come to a consensus to facilitate the safe re-opening of restaurants and other small businesses that are still held back by the Governor’s plan.”

During the press conference, the representatives made it clear that their goal is not an immediate or unsafe re-opening of the state, but to allow for a more transparent and regional approach that has been seriously limited to date.