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Governor Eases Mandates For Churches, Goes For Guidance Instead

Gov. J.B. Pritzker today (Thursday) announced new guidance for places of worship. It comes as he has faced multiple lawsuits over his ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. Pritzker now says faith leaders should try to limit attendance to a quarter of a building’s capacity or 100 attendees, whichever is lower, along with social distancing.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker's plan to reopen Illinois breaks the state into four regions.
Restore Illinois Plan, Office Of The Governor

The Regions and Phases of Pritzker’s Plan To Reopen Illinois

Illinois is in Phase 2 of Restore Illinois – the five-step plan Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled this week to reopen schools, colleges, parks and businesses, while addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Some state parks are open. More shops can operate to fill online and pick up orders, and in some places, residents can go to a drive-in movie theater. While the stay-at-home order still applies to the whole state, Pritzker said going forward, that will change as it’s a regional plan.

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Downtown Springfield Inc. is developing a plan for more outdoor eating and shopping options this summer.
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Downtown Springfield Plans For More Outdoor Dining, Shopping Options

As restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 begin to loosen, establishments in downtown Springfield are looking to add options for dining or selling merchandise outside.

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US Attorney, Illinois AG Spar On Court Venue Changes In Bailey Lawsuit

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois is arguing a lawsuit between a state representative and Gov. J.B. Pritzker should remain in circuit court, after state Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office moved the case up to the federal level.

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When I was in high school, the best way I could describe myself was as a parent's worst nightmare: I didn't care about my education, didn't do homework, and was known to sleep in class. My SAT score was so bad that I still don't know how I did! My very frustrated mom threw that letter in the trash.

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Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

It's been more than two years since Cliven Bundy left the federal courthouse in downtown Las Vegas a free man.

His arm around his wife, Carol Bundy, the Nevada rancher was defiant.

"We're not done with this," Bundy told reporters in January 2018. "If the federal government comes after us again we will definitely tell 'em the truth."

Before Philadelphia shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Ed had a routine: most mornings he would head to a nearby McDonald's to brush his teeth, wash his face and — when he had the money — buy a cup of coffee. He would bounce between homeless shelters, and try to get a shower. But since businesses closed and many shelters stopped taking new admissions, Ed has been mostly shut off from that routine.

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It has become a political and cultural flashpoint, drawing a clear divide between the "masked" and the "masked-nots." The disdain runs between the consciously unmasked president of the United States and his deliberately mask-donning Democratic rival, all the way on down to those crossing paths — and often crossing each other — in the cereal aisle of the grocery store.

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'No Mask – No Entry,' Cuomo Says As He Allows Businesses To Insist On Face Coverings

New York businesses can refuse entrance to anyone who doesn't wear a face mask, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday under his executive order that gives store owners the authority to decide whether patrons must wear a mask or other face coverings to enter. Face masks are "amazingly" effective in slowing the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the governor said. "People have a right to jeopardize their own health (I don't recommend it)," Cuomo said via Twitter. "People don't have a...

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Analysis & commentary on the events that made news this past week in Illinois state government & politics.

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As University of Illinois officials deliberate over how to reopen the Urbana campus this fall, a group of faculty members say they don’t believe the university can safely allow tens of thousands of students back into residence halls and classrooms this year. 

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Equity & Justice

Maxica Williams / Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has created a mutual aid fund that will give out grants of up to $500 for Illinoisans who are homeless, have been without a home or are at risk of being unsheltered.

CCH grassroots leaders – people who have experienced homelessness and work in partnership with CCH staff – run the fund and will decide what requests should be supported.

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Illinois Economy

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As the hospitality industry continues to struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois lawmakers approved a measure to allow bars and restaurants to serve cocktails for curbside pick-up and delivery. The bill awaits the governor’s signature.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker today (Thursday) announced new guidance for places of worship. It comes as he has faced multiple lawsuits over his ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. Pritzker now says faith leaders should try to limit attendance to a quarter of a building’s capacity or 100 attendees, whichever is lower, along with social distancing. 

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Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign has been facing pressure from Democratic operatives and activists, worried that his Latino outreach efforts are not enough and potentially a serious liability in the fall election.

Some say that his campaign, which is staffing up to improve those efforts, could learn lessons from the success of one of his former rivals.

In an effort to keep voters safe, states of all political complexions are finding ways to expand access to mail-in ballots as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Then there's Texas.

The state has some of the most restrictive laws limiting vote by mail in the country. Under Texas law, the program is open only to people who are 65 or older, people who will be out of the county during the election, people who are in jail and not convicted, and people who are disabled.

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Our Daily Breather: Steve Reich Composes During The Coronavirus Crisis

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. NPR Music's Tom Huizenga recently spoke with Pulitzer-winning composer Steve Reich, who has been keeping busy with the solitary act of writing a new piece from his winter getaway in Los Angeles. Who: Steve Reich Where : Los Angeles, Calif. Recommendation: Keep on working (The conversation has been edited for length and...

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Opera For Newbies: Busting Myths And Belting High Notes

We've been starting this new year off with genres of music you might not listen to, or that you say you're not a fan of — so far, we've covered jazz , country and deep house . One of those styles of music people love to say they hate is opera, so we asked NPR's resident opera expert Tom Huizenga to explain what he loves about the music and to soothe some common opera-related anxieties. On what to love about opera Well there's a lot to love about opera. For one thing, it's one of the most...

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