State Senator Darren Bailey (R-Xenia), State Representatives Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich), and Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City), oppose House Bill 2789 that has passed the House along partisan lines and now heads to the Illinois Senate for consideration. This proposal would expand the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDHP) powers over public and non-public schools during a health emergency like the one declared by the governor for over a year now.
“We need to do the right things for our children and not expand the politics of control,” declared Rep. Adam Niemerg. “Local health departments already have the authority to investigate health concerns in their jurisdiction. We do not need the State Health Department creating another army of investigators running around the state closing down private schools, religious schools and even home schools. This attempt to expand a monolithic government bureaucracy is the wrong direction to go.”
Under this proposal, the IDPH shall establish requirements for providing in-person instruction at nonpublic schools and public schools that include, but are not limited to, personal protective equipment, cleaning and hygiene, social distancing, occupancy limits, symptom screening, onsite isolation protocols. In Illinois, a home school is a private school. A private school is a non-public school. HB 2789 gives the Department of Public Health new powers over both non-public and public schools during a health emergency.
“This is a way for the teacher unions to shut down their competition in the private and parochial schools and stifle the increasingly popular home school options,” stated Senator Darren Bailey. “This legislation centralizes authority by empowering state bureaucrats who are not directly accountable to local voters. This power grab should alarm every liberty-loving resident of our state!”
House Bill 2789 is a proposal that would set the path for IDPH to come into a private home to inspect and decide if they feel the “emergency orders” are not being followed: orders that demand students be six feet apart, wear COVID masks, and be screened for fevers and other symptoms. If the IDPH inspectors decide the private, home school is not in compliance, the Department could close the school.
“IDPH, the teachers unions and the education bureaucrats have proven over the last year that students are not their first priority,” added Rep. Blaine Wilhour. “Local decision making is the ONLY reason most of the students in our area have been in school. Removing what’s left of their authority is a terrible move. The irony is that the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers are pushing for this control while the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Health are opposing the language that will add non-public schools to their oversight.”
These General Assembly members are part of a growing majority of families and groups like Concerned Christian Americans and the Illinois Family Institute who are fighting this legislative proposal. Those concerned with protecting religious liberties and parental rights and oppose this effort are encouraged to call or email their state senators. Contact information can be found online at www.ilga.gov. (Illinois General Assembly – Senate Members (ilga.gov))