April 19, 2021
By: Katie Clancy and Dylan Sharkey
One reminder from this pandemic is that states serve as laboratories of democracy. Each state across the country has been handling this ongoing crisis in its own way. Changes once thought of as temporary are here to stay and for good reason.
In late March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a statute that protects businesses from COVID-19 related lawsuits. Florida businesses are now protected from such lawsuits unless they acted with “gross negligence.” The goal is to encourage businesses, schools, religious institutions, and health care providers to follow the recommended government health standards by preventing potential plaintiffs from filing litigious COVID-19 lawsuits.
Florida is also on the verge of a cybersecurity overhaul. Instances of data breaches and ransomware are at an all-time high. On Gov. Pritzker’s watch, Illinoisans have been subject to rampant fraud, leading to delays in unemployment benefits and identity theft. Florida legislators are actively fighting this cyber battle and easing concerns for Floridians.
States are also changing how they handle their education dollars after witnessing the power wielded by the teachers’ unions.
For example, Kentucky passed legislation establishing “Education Opportunity Accounts” that empower low-income families to use donated funds to cover tuition, textbooks, transportation costs, and more for their child’s unique educational needs. Georgia’s governor will have a similar law on his desk. Nine other states have also passed legislation in at least one chamber advocating for more school choice options. Yet, in Illinois, even temporary legislation put forth by Rep. Blaine Wilhour was voted down.
Legislators across the country are listening to the 77% of parents of school-age children who support funding students directly after having been left in the dark about their child’s education the past year. Pritzker is listening to the unions.
At the local level in Illinois, there have also been positive changes, including expanding outdoor dining options for restaurants. The Village of Grayslake recently extended outdoor dining permits for restaurants downtown. St. Charles is closing a portion of a downtown street to keep an outdoor dining plaza through the rest of the year. Downtown Wheaton has designated tent spaces for restaurants that will feature live music on the weekends starting May 1st.
Governors and local officials have been focused on providing stability for families and businesses. Gov. Pritzker has advocated twice for hiking taxes on businesses during this pandemic, has failed to provide local business flexibility, and continues to maintain some of the strictest rules regarding reopening despite what the science says.
Pritzker also continues to empower teachers’ unions while support for school choice is at an all-time high.
Gov. Pritzker should take a lesson from these leaders and put people over politics.