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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.

via IDES website

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. 

Jim Durkin
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.

via Blueroomstream.com

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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Attorney Thomas DeVore, who’s representing a southern Illinois state lawmaker and another from Rockford, is confident he’ll win legal challenges against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order on two fronts. Meanwhile, the governor maintains the suit is “the height of recklessness,” and Congressman Rodney Davis is among those weighing in.

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A new report from the Illinois Auditor General found problems at the Springfield attraction that tells the story of Lincoln and maintains numerous historic items.  Auditor General Frank Mautino’s report, which spans a two year period ending last June, suggested corrections and improvements in 15 areas.  

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

A Clay County judge is lifting Illinois' extended stay-at-home order for a single state representative.

via Blueroomstream.com

An Illinois Republican is suing Governor J.B. Pritzker over restrictions he’s put in place to combat the new coronavirus pandemic.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that he is amending and extending his Stay-at-Home directive through May 30th.  The Daily Line's Hannah Meisel joins the panel.

Matt Turner via Flickr / CC BY 2.0

While public health workers continue to combat the new coronavirus that has ravaged communities across Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker and others are predicting the virus will deal a long-lasting blow to the state’s finances.

I explored what analysts are expecting, and what state lawmakers are planning to do about it for this week’s Illinois Issues report.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois schools will not hold any in-person classes for the rest of the academic year.

The governor said the decision reached by his administration and the state school board was a hard one. But, he told reporters during a daily press briefing he is confident that schools will expand remote learning opportunities for students. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Budget Office released its estimates of Illinois’ budget shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic for this fiscal year and next fiscal year, and they’re in the billions of dollars.  Meanwhile, the state is considering how and when to reopen the economy.  From Chicago, WBEZ’s Dave McKinney joins the panel.

via Blueroomstream.com

Governors from nearly every Midwestern state are collaborating on when and how to reopen the regional economy once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Meanwhile, Illinois saw its highest one-day death toll, and new jobless claims continue to flood the state system responsible for handling them.

Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

Illinois will likely take in $2.7 billion less this fiscal year, which ends in June, and another $4.6 billion less next fiscal year – all fallout from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Every year, crowds of people flood the fairgrounds in Springfield anticipating entertainment at the Grandstand, corn dogs, shake-ups, and rides. But it’s unclear if the fair will go on this year. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker used some complicated math to come to the conclusion that Illinois is starting to see a slowing of new cases and deaths from COVID-19.

Governor's daily briefing

On Sunday, Illinois surpassed the 20,000 mark in total cases.  The death toll now stands at 720 since the pandemic began.

While those numbers are grim, there might be a silver lining. 

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