Windhorst to Sponsor Bill to Increase Fairness for Small Businesses

Metropolis….State Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) says he will co-sponsor legislation aimed at leveling the playing field for small businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Executive Orders from Governor JB Pritzker. Windhorst says current guidelines unfairly disadvantage small businesses while ‘big box’ stores flourish.

“The governor’s current policies designating businesses that are ‘essential’ or ‘non-essential’ has arbitrarily caused winners and losers in Illinois’ retail economy,” Windhorst said. “Large corporations are the clear winners in light of the governor’s policies on essential businesses. Small, ‘mom-and-pop’ retailers are limited to filling curbside pickup orders or making deliveries. This is an unsustainable situation with devastating consequences for millions of families across our state that depend on jobs created small business. Immediate action is needed to level the playing field for these establishments.”

To remedy the situation, Windhorst says co-sponsor pending legislation titled the ‘Fair Business Treatment Act’. The legislation has not been filed, because lawmakers have not been in session since the beginning of March. When filed, Windhorst says the proposed legislation will allow small businesses to be given the same opportunities that larger, big box stores currently have. The legislation is being sponsored by State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) and State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria).

“I have worked throughout this pandemic to be an advocate for small businesses in the communities of the 118th district,” Windhorst said. “I believe a major disparity exists when large retail establishments are able to sell items available at local small businesses—but small businesses are not allowed to open due to some designation made by a bureaucrat in Springfield.”

Windhorst says he believes small businesses can provide a safer environment for consumers to shop, compared to the high traffic volumes larger stores are experiencing right now. 

“It’s a legitimate question to ask,” Windhorst said. “Why is it ok for Wal-Mart to have a few hundred people inside but a small book or clothing store can’t be open? The governor’s regulations are not ensuring peoples’ safety, but instead creating a situation where large corporate giants are making huge sums of money at the expense of smaller retailers that have been ordered to close by the government.”

Lawmakers were notified Wednesday, May 13 that House Session will resume on Wednesday, May 20 in Springfield.