Severin Says – May 17, 2020


As your State Representative, I am duty-bound by the oaths I’ve taken to defend the Constitution of the State of Illinois and the United States of America to protect your privacy and civil rights.

To that end, I want to address three issues:


Over the weekend, the Pritzker administration filed emergency rules with the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules that would fine certain businesses who open before the executive order is lifted with a Class A Misdemeanor. To say this is a vast government overreach in a time when business owners are doing everything they can to stay afloat is an understatement.

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health would potentially make criminals of business owners that open their businesses before the current Executive Order expires at the end of May. Governor Pritzker had made no prior bones about using the authority he has to revoke the licenses of business owners that open in defiance of his Executive Orders. His position was once again reflected when the Illinois Department of Public Health issued emergency rules this weekend that threaten business owners with criminal prosecution. These threats come as neighboring states are reopening their own economies.

For two months, I have demanded the Governor consider a regional approach to reopening Illinois’ economy. I strongly believe this kind of revolt could have been avoided! To have the Chief Executive of the State of Illinois threaten to jail people that are just trying to feed their families is disgusting.

The Governor has also released hundreds of inmates from the Illinois Department of Corrections during this crisis. These early releases include violent criminals such as sex offenders and murderers. To have the Governor of the State of Illinois bless the release of these violent criminals while at the same time threatening to jail small business owners and employers is unconscionable.

Counties in every part of the State of Illinois have voted to open parts of their economies.

Some county boards have voted to reopen in phases; some local law enforcement officials have said they will not enforce the governor’s orders. Some business owners are waiting to see what the response from the Governor’s office will be as businesses open in defiance of the current Executive Order. The Governor has spent a significant amount of time attacking the President and the federal response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Wednesday, May 20, the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) will meet to decide whether to allow or block Governor Pritzker’s emergency rules. Please contact the Democrat members of JCAR and urge them to vote to BLOCK this ridiculous overreach of government power

JCAR members

IDPH Emergency Rules:

Center Square:


After weeks of House Republicans calling for a reasonable and safe plan to get Illinois legislators back to work in Springfield, House Speaker Madigan’s office finally announced that Session would resume on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. The Special Session will take place at the Bank of Springfield Center.

I have worked for the entirety of the COVID-19 crisis to convince the Governor or the Speaker of the House to reconvene the legislature to act as a check and balance on the power of the Governor.

As Session unfolds, I plan to keep you up to date using Facebook live and a virtual town hall setting at least once during Session.


On Friday morning, State Rep. Terri Bryant spoke with a constituent from Mount Vernon that came upon a startling and disturbing discovery while she was trying to apply for unemployment for the PUA program.

Out of work Illinoisans have waited for weeks to be able to apply for unemployment. Those who were initially eligible were not able to get through on the website, or the phone – some people called more than 100 times.

While this was happening, I joined several of my colleagues in the House calling on the Governor to get their act together at IDES! We heard the Governor for weeks reply that he was doing unprecedented work at IDES. 

You can go back and watch multiple press conferences where the governor touts the ‘unprecedented’ response by IDES.

Fast forward to this past Friday morning – Rep. Brant heard from a constituent that while applying for unemployment, clicked just two links and came upon the personal information of thousands of Illinois citizens. 

This information included names, social security numbers, addresses, and Claimant ID numbers.

The constituent was shocked and disturbed and even frightened for her safety. Being aware that her discovery was an immediate emergency, 

Rep. Bryant took action to notify the appropriate staff members within the House Republican caucus and the Governor’s office.

On Saturday, Rep. Bryant sent the Governor a letter asking him several questions in regard to the potential data breach.

Here are the questions Rep. Bryant asked:

1. Is IDES aware of any potential data breach involving the personal information of thousands of Illinoisans that have applied for unemployment?

2. Is Governor Pritzker or his staff aware of any potential breach involving the personal information of thousands of Illinoisans that have applied for unemployment?

3. How long was the personal information of unemployment applicants available for other applicants to see?

4. Has the problem been resolved? Is there any possibility that thousands of Illinoisans that have applied for unemployment assistance through the IDES website have had their identity compromised?

So far, the governor’s office has issued two replies:

1. Thank you Representative. We are aware and fixing the problem. That was at 1:51 pm on Saturday.

2. Late in the evening, after Rep. Bryant posted a press release and sent her letter to the Governor to the media, the Governor’s office issued the following reply to WBEZ Radio Chicago:

In a statement to WBEZ, Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said IDES was “aware there was a glitch in the new PUA system that made some private information publicly available for a short time and worked to immediately remedy the situation.”

She said it was not known how many claimants had their personal information made public and she did not say what caused the problem.

“A full investigation is underway to assess exactly what happened and how many people were impacted,” Abuddayeh said. “Those who were impacted will be notified.”

This answer is completely unacceptable. We need to know what the Governor knew about this breach, when he knew it, and how long it lasted. 

Thank you to the media to WSIL TV, to the Chicago Tribune, and to WBEZ Chicago especially for breaking this Story at 1:30 in the morning on a Sunday. This is a big deal and the people of Illinois deserve answers to our questions!

Here is the link to Rep. Bryant’s press release on this issue.

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My office is still offering remote constituent services. You can contact my office staff by calling 618-440-5090 or email me at