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JCAR Decision Adds Further Uncertainty to Already Complex Situation on School Masking and Quarantine Rules

Education K-12 Education

Since yesterday, there have been many reports about the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) vote against extending IDPH Emergency Rules regarding masking, vaccine and testing requirements in schools. This has caused significant confusion and uncertainty about the status of these requirements.

First, what is JCAR?  JCAR is a bipartisan legislative oversight committee of the General Assembly comprised of members of both the State House and Senate tasked with reviewing proposed administrative rules from state agencies and officials. JCAR provides a process for notice, public comment, and implementation of these rules.

Nine of the eleven JCAR members present voted that they would not reissue the emergency rules due to the Sangamon County Circuit Court’s decision that the rule was invalid, and the uncertain outcome of the pending appeal. Following the JCAR determination, the Appellate Court has requested additional briefing from the parties on the implications of JCAR’s actions for the appeal. Those briefs are due to the Court by 1 pm today.

While the Appellate Court could find the masking, testing and vaccine requirements valid based on other legal grounds unrelated to this emergency rule, JCAR’s determination suspends the IDPH’s authority to enforce the rule at the present time.

We understand that JCAR’s action has made a confusing situation even more so.  The Appellate Court is expected to issue a ruling any day now, even possibly later today.  We will continue to keep you apprised of developments in this fast-moving and consequential litigation.

If you have questions about how this particular turn of events impacts your school district, please reach out to one of the authors of this post or any Franczek attorney.