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The Period Blog

Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly are pushing a measure that would require schools to provide free menstruation products in both girls’ and boys’ bathrooms for grades 4 through 12.

Advocates of the proposal argue it would allow for transgender students who also menstruate to be able to access needed resources.

This week saw the release of video and other evidence of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 13 year old Adam Toledo.  Several top Illinois and city officials have weighed in.  Chicago's mayor promised a new policy on how and when officers engage in foot chases.  

Also, is the latest surge in coronavirus cases leveling off?

Our panel includes Rachel Hinton of the Chicago Sun-Times. 

Chamber
Flickr user: Matt Turner

When Democrats in the Illinois House voted in a new Speaker in January, many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were optimistic a new era would follow.

But three months later, Republicans claim they’re still being treated unfairly by Democrats who hold supermajorities in both the Illinois House and Senate.

Illinois will open vaccination elgibility to those 16 and older on Monday.  It's a big step in the vaccine rollout.  Illinois has also been setting daily records when it comes to administering the shots. 

But the state remains in a precarious position as cases and hospitalizations are headed in the wrong direction.  There's also the challenge of convincing more people to take the vaccine.   

Peter Hancock of Capitol News Illinois joins our State Week panel.  

Rafal Gerszak/ NPR

Americans have responded to drug addiction in a number of different ways in recent decades. The War on Drugs of the 1980s and 90s spawned mass incarceration of Black and Brown populations. Some addicts, many of whom have some measure of wealth and privilege, are sent to rehab.

Illinois Senate Democrats

A proposal advancing through the Illinois General Assembly would allow candidates for public office to use political committee funds to cover caregiving costs. 

While the state announced a Bridge Phase for reopening Illinois, not so fast.  A rising number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has stalled the step toward a return to normalcy.  We provide a status update on the pandemic in Illinois.  

We also discuss redistricting.  No surprise that Republicans and Democrats are at odds over how to determine new legislative boundaries.   And Chicago Teacher's Union members are closely watching a bill on the governor's desk.  And they're not the only ones.

Heather Cherone of WTTW's Chicago Tonight joins the panel. 

graduation ceremony
WOSU Public Media / flickr

A number of universities in Illinois didn’t require standardized test scores when students applied for the upcoming fall semester given the disruption COVID-19 had on high schools.

One state lawmaker is looking to extend this policy indefinitely for all public universities throughout the state.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined tens of thousands in Illinois getting vaccinated.  But it happened on the same week COVID-19 cases are back on the rise, leading some to worry about a quick re-opening of the economy.  

The Governor also signed a major economic opportunity package from the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.  He also appears poised to sign a healthcare initiative to help Black and brown communities. 

We discuss that and more on this episode of State Week.

Mike Miletich, Capitol Bureau Chief for Quincy Media, joins the panel.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Democratic state lawmakers are pushing to make permanent many of the voting options Illinois piloted for the 2020 General Election last fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Illinois House last week approved extending the use of ballot drop boxes and curbside voting indefinitely. However, critics said the proposal could lead to election security issues.

This week, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he was optimistic that vaccine supply will allow the state to allow those 16 and older, outside of Chicago, to get their shots starting April 12.  The governor also laid out a new "bridge" phase as part of the Restore Illinois plan.  It's a step toward getting the state back to some sort of normalcy.  

UIS Community Garden Facebook Page

Elmhurst resident Nicole Virgil got into home gardening after researching the industrial food process and watching documentaries like “Food Inc.”

But after she and her husband set up a homemade hoop house in her backyard to protect her vegetable garden during the winter, she received multiple citations from the city for violating local building codes.

Senate Democratic Caucus

State lawmakers this week will kick off the once-in-a-decade process to reshape how Illinois’ legislative and congressional maps are drawn.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of Illinois’ first reported death from COVID-19. In the next 12 months, Illinois would go on to report nearly 21,000 more confirmed COVID-19 deaths, while more than 1.2 million Illinoisans have been infected so far.

flickr/ecastro

For millions of students in Illinois, attending school a year into the COVID-19 pandemic still means logging onto a computer or completing assignment packets. Though some students have adjusted well, many others have not had an easy time learning over the past year.

But while the federal government granted Illinois’ request to waive standardized tests last spring, President Joe Biden’s administration rejected the state’s bid this year.

Some state lawmakers are pushing back on the mandate and petitioning the federal government to reconsider.

classroom
VictorBjorkund / Flickr

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a renewed focus on mental health issues, particularly among students. Some Illinois lawmakers say schools must bolster suicide prevention procedures to better identify warning signs.

In a week that marked the one year anniversary of the pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he's cautiously optimistic as more vaccines arrive.  His administration even mentioned a return to holding conventions and trade shows this summer.   

Pritzker is also pleased that a windfall will be coming to the state as part of a federal coronavirus stimulus package.   How might the state use that money?

Our panel discusses where things stand in Illinois -- on the public health front and with the state budget.  

flickr

Some Democratic Illinois lawmakers want to adopt more comprehensive sex education standards for K-12 schools to ensure students have a firm understanding of the importance of consent, the consequences of sharing underage sexually explicit material, and knowing when an action is considered sexual abuse.

On this episode, we discuss Congresswoman Robin Kelly, who becomes the new Illinois Democratic Party Chair, replacing Michael Madigan.  Gov. J.B. Pritzker supported her opponent and some view Kelly's ascension as a defeat for the governor.  

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has been outspoken about his own party.  It appears he'll face a primary challenge.  We discuss his political future.  

And Illinois continues to fall behind when it comes to its pension obligations.  We discuss it all on State Week. 

npr illinois

Illinois has long held the record for the most units of local government in any state — 8,923 local taxing bodies to be exact, according to a recent report by the Chicago-based Civic Federation.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's legislative district seat saw not just one, but two replacements within a week.  And Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a large reform package dealing with crime and policing.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Rachel Hinton joins the panel.

BlueRoomStream

Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday announced $11 million in new infrastructure funding aimed at spurring economic development in underserved areas.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s vacated 22nd District House seat has a new occupant — the second replacement in four days — after Madigan asked his first choice to step down this week in an embarrassment to the normally fastidious Democratic boss.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

This story has been updated to reflect Kodatt's resignation effective Wednesday morning.

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan's handpicked successor for the House seat he held for more than 50 years has stepped down from the General Assembly after just three days. 

BlueRoomStream

In a visit to Springfield Tuesday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced forthcoming state aid for local governments struggling with rising natural gas prices and help for students and families struggling with food insecurity.

Governor JB Pritzker today (MONDAY) signed a sweeping criminal justice bill that — among other reforms — will end cash bail in Illinois.

As Hannah Meisel reports, members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus draw a direct line from protests in the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor this past summer to the new law.

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan on Monday resigned from his role heading the state’s Democratic Party just one day after he told reporters he didn’t know when or if he might leave that job.

Illinois Housing Development Authority

Illinois housing officials are touting the success of their programs helping families hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the Illinois Housing Development Authority reported that in 2020 it dispersed around $325 million in rent and mortgage assistance grants to more than 56,000 households.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

 

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) on Sunday used his remaining political power to install a 26-year-old political protege to the House seat he resigned from last week after more than 50 years.

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