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At least three Illinois House members say they want a special legislative session to strike on issues of law enforcement reform and accountability while police brutality has the nation’s focus.

Illinois Allows Carry-Out Mixed Drinks

Jun 2, 2020
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Illinois bars and restaurants can now serve mixed-drinks to go.   Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the measure into law Tuesday.  

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As outrage and protest against police brutality and racial injustice has spilled into the streets of cities across the country, several Black Illinois state lawmakers are offering their plans for how to fix those problems.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois enters Phase Three of "Restore Illinois", Governor Pritzker is responding to  criticism and lawsuits surrounding his re-opening plan.  Meanwhile, the Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its short special legislative session last weekend after passing a state budget. The panel also discusses a controversy over whether or not lawmakers will see their pay go up.

Capitol News Illinois’ Rebecca Anzel joins the panel.

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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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Illinois is on track for salons, some offices and outdoor seating at restaurants to open this weekend as the state moves into its next phase of reopening. The state’s movie theaters, which have been shut down since March, said Wednesday they want to welcome customers during that phase too.

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Child care facilities will be able to operate again once Illinois enters the third phase of its reopening plan, which is expected Friday. 

Office of Rep. Allen Skillicorn

A Republican state representative who says he has taken steps to start the recall process against J.B. Pritzker was chastised by the governor Tuesday for consistently voting against spending on vital programs.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

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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COVID-19 was both in the forefront and in the background during the abbreviated spring legislative session that Illinois lawmakers wrapped over the weekend. It was the focus of both the legislation and the politics in Springfield.

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In the midst of a global pandemic, despite social distancing, and all while wearing face masks, Illinois state lawmakers approved a new state budget over the weekend totaling $43 billion. But that budget won’t be possible without heavy reliance on the federal government.

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Illinois lawmakers have approved a $40 billion state budget and a plan to address tax rates for a casino expansion during a whirlwind special session held amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Expanded voting-by-mail is coming to Illinois. Governor J.B. Pritzker said Friday he will sign the expanded voting measure into law.

Wheaton College

A group of Chicago-based evangelical leaders plans to seek a virtual meeting with Gov. J.B. Pritzker because of “growing angst” about the rules he has set for religious gatherings.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois legislature gathered in Springfield for the first time in weeks for a short special session.  Among the issues facing lawmakers are further responses to the pandemic, rules for voting this November, and the state budget.

Rep. Darren Bailey (R, Xenia) is escorted out of the temporary Illinois House chamber at the Bank of Springfield Center, after members voted to remove him for not wearing a face mask in accordance with updated House rules on May 20
Ted Schurter / ILCA Pool Photo

A lawmaker who portrays himself as an outsider found himself on the outside Tuesday. A group of protestors, meanwhile, made their voices heard as state lawmakers convened for the first day of a special legislative session.

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Two county health departments are trialing a new “tech-based” approach to COVID-19 contact tracing. Meanwhile, Governor J.B. Pritzker Monday defended rules that lay out penalties for businesses disobeying statewide shutdown orders.

Pritzker’s office announced both St. Clair and Lake County’s health departments will use a “state-of-the-art” software platform that is designed to gather data from infected persons and track the virus in real-time. Another 95 counties will join them over the next few weeks.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan to slowly re-open the state's economy is facing resistance from several quarters.  Meanwhile, the Illinois Legislature is preparing for an abbreviated session in Springfield next week.

Mark Maxwell, Capitol Bureau Chief for WCIA-TV, joins the panel.

Rep. Avery Bourne debates the Reproductive Health Act
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A group of downstate Illinois lawmakers are calling again for an alternative plan to reopen the state’s economy.

Those lawmakers said since economic and social interaction levels differ in certain areas of the state, Illinois should be divided into 11 regions instead than the four broad regions already laid out by the state’s public health authority. 

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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, along with other legislative leaders, are "ready to convene" a special session as early as next week, according to letters sent to lawmakers and shared with the media.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for the legislature to reconvene to discuss an economic recovery plan for the state.

Pritzker said his administration has supported residents and small businesses by banning evictions, delaying tax filing deadlines, and expanding unemployment eligibility, but he said more work needs to be done to get the economy going.

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Gig workers and independent contractors now qualify for unemployment benefits in Illinois. While many of those workers have been trying for weeks to receive financial help, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday a new third-party system is already helping to process claims more efficiently.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzer announced a plan to re-open the state in stages and by region, depending on continued progress in limiting the spread of the new coronavirus.  

Capitol News Illinois’ Rebecca Anzel and reporter Bill Wheelhouse join the panel.
 

Illinois Road Projects Could Suffer Due To COVID-19

May 7, 2020

There may be fewer road construction projects and repairs around Illinois in the coming year as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

It started with the governor’s stay-at-home-order in late March.   Since then, fewer motorists have been hitting the roads. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Republican lawmakers are taking issue with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan that outlines how officials plan to reopen the state’s economy in five phases. 

Mike Miletich / Quincy Media Capitol Bureau

White supremacist organizations have infiltrated stay-at-home  protests such as  those in Springfield and Chicago last week, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. 

David Goldenberg, the Midwest regional director of the ADL, says over the last two weeks the center has tracked dozens of rallies to protest stay-at-home orders across the country, including in Illinois. “They’ve attracted a good number of members who are members of extremist organizations,’’ he said.

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Governor J.B. Pritzker reiterated during a press briefing Monday that law enforcement can arrest anyone who is defying Illinois’ stay-at-home order. Meanwhile, two big tech companies are looking to develop contact tracing apps, but for now, the governor has nixed the idea for Illinois.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker decried as hate-filled some of the signs that demostraters in Springfield and Chicago carried Friday to protest his stay-at-home order.

He addressed the issue at his daily briefing Saturday. Of the hundreds gathered at state buildings in Chicago and Springfield, including the state Capitol. Some carried signs with swastikas that said, HEIL PRITZKER.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker is extending his “Stay-at-Home” order for another month in the face of lawsuits and complaints that he has exceeded his authority.  Joining the panel this week is Greg Hinz, a columnist writing about government and politics for Crain’s Chicago Business.

The panel talks about the legal challenges to the governor's order, when and how the Illinois legislature might reconvene and a big borrowing package being pushed by the Pritzker Administration.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Despite a number of legal challenges that have yet to be resolved, Governor J.B. Pritzker says Illinois will remain under a stay-at-home order, which takes effect Friday through the end of May.

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