News

Storefront of Jerk Shop Go in downtown Springfield, one of the businesses participating in 217 Black Restaurant Weekend
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

From old favorites like Boyd’s New Generation to the more recently opened Greathouse Barbecue, seven restaurants are participating in the weekend celebration of food and culture.

Food-a-rama at the Illinois State Fairgrounds
Brian Mackey / WUIS

The 2020 Illinois and DuQuoin State Fairs have been canceled.

In a video announcement posted to Facebook, State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon said the decision stems from wanting to protect people from contracting COVID-19.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney / NPR Illinois

The conservative Thomas More Society this week filed a lawsuit that in effect charges Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act violates the right to freedom of religion by forcing employers to pay for abortions.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

In the midst of nationwide protests and demands for police reforms, Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed their support for possibly requiring police officers to be licensed by the state.  Also, as Illinois continues to see a decrease in COVID-19 metrics in Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, other states are seeing a significant spike in cases and deaths.  Meanwhile, Governor Pritzker signed off on an uncertain state budget.

WBEZ's Tony Arnold joins the panel this week.

Office of state Sen. Kimberly Lightford

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford says she is overwhelmed with emotion these days.  

The majority leader from Maywood was inaugurated more than two decades ago as Illinois’ youngest – and only African American woman – senator. She’s struggled working toward legislation that would help her community, one that’s been hit particularly hard recently.

Sonthana Thongsithavong, Glenwood High School Tennis Coach
Sonthana Thongsithavong

An Illinois high school sports coach has mixed feelings about the state’s new guidelines on high school athletics.

A federal Judge says the state has been too slow in responding to the needs of inmates with hearing problems. 

The recent marches and rallies for racial justice have taken place in major cities like Chicago and St. Louis. 

But they've also happened in communities notorious for lacking tolerance, including former "sundown towns" that put restrictions on African Americans.

We'll hear how one of those locations - Anna, Illinois - gained that reputation and how recent events have given reasons for optimism. 

From left Rev. T. Ray McJunkins, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Ald. Doris Turner, Ald. Shawn Gregory, and State Sen. Andy Manar gathered at Union Baptist Church in Springfield to talk about police reforms.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

As protests against police brutality continue throughout Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he’s working on police and criminal justice reform, and investment in communities of color with lawmakers.

Eastern Illinois University

Colleges around the state are working on their plans to host classes on campus this fall. A few outlined their plans while discussing them with the Illinois Board of Higher Education Tuesday.

Smoking In Cars With Kids Is Now Against The Law

Jun 8, 2020
David Hegarty https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

It is now Illegal in Illinois to smoke when you have a kid in the car with you.   

 The law passed last year took effect June 1.  It outlaws smoking in cars if there is a passenger under the age of 18.

elinerijpers / via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Illinois schools are now able to welcome students back for some types of in-person learning during the summer. The State Board of Education has issued guidance to districts to offer several programs.

Yonkers Honda / via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Automobile dealers in Illinois were among the hardest hit businesses during the state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home period.

Rev. T Ray McJunkins speaks to the crowd on Sundy afternoon.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

In Springfield, demonstrations continued over the weekend against police brutality and racism sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

Many speakers addressed how to create change at a rally called “Manifesting Our Momentum,” where elected officials and faith leaders took a prominent role.

From left, Derrick Roberts, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Nykeyla Henderson and Nykia Henderson at Union Baptist Church on Sunday
Olivia Mitchell / NPR Illinois

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin met with faith and community leaders in Springfield over the weekend at Union Baptist Church to discuss legislation to address police conduct.

Durbin said the measure - set to be introduced this week - would include a ban on the use of chokeholds, outline acceptable use of force by officers, and make recommendations on recruitment and training. He’s joining Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, both former Democratic presidential candidates, in sponsoring the Justice In Policing Act.

Commentary: A Time For Action

Jun 5, 2020
UIS

The following commentary was written by Dr. Robert Smith, Dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration at the University of Illinois Springfield.  

Protesters march on Capitol Avenue in Springfield Monday against police brutality. The rally and march were organized by young people.
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

On Monday, Allaijah Davis and her friends Nykeyla Henderson and Ariona Fairlee led an estimated 1,000 peaceful demonstrators down Capitol Avenue in Springfield.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Protests and in some cities looting and destruction the past week in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police have taken place nationwide and in Illinois.  On this week's program, a discussion of the causes and consequences, and the reactions of the Governor and the Mayor of Chicago.

The Chicago Sun Times' Maudlyne Ihejirika joins the panel.

Poynter Institute

In the midst of protests this week, there were plenty of messages sent along on social media about looting.  In some areas, those messages were just outright wrong. 

There were many incidents of vandalism and looting across Illinois. There were also false reports.  In some towns, the violence was non-existent. Some posted and passed along rumors of busloads of people coming to towns to loot. They were not.  

It has been an emotional and turbulent week in Illinois and across the country. 

While many have made their voices heard about issues like police brutality and systemic racism, others are picking up the pieces after vandalism and looting, often in communities of color. 

And the biggest question still looming is what happens next?  On this week's Statewide, we hear from those who say people and policies need to change.   

Haley Pate, Biron Butler and Korde Gardener protesting
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

Black Lives Matter protests in Springfield continued Wednesday. Young activists said they aren't giving up on voicing their concerns anytime soon. 

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.

A longtime higher education leader will be the interim chancellor at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Karen Whitney will take over for Susan Koch, who is retiring at the end of the month.   Whitney will serve in the interim role while a national search is conducted for a permanent chancellor.

Black Lives Matter protesters march down Sixth Street in downtown Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

At Tuesday’s Springfield City Council meeting, several officials praised protesters who took the streets in the capital city for being peaceful. A few amplified the message of speakers at the anti-police brutality protests.

Illinois Allows Carry-Out Mixed Drinks

Jun 2, 2020
Edwin Land/flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

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

Olivia Mitchell/NPR Illinois

More than a thousand demonstrators shouting ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘No Justice, No Peace’ took to the streets in Springfield again Monday, demanding an end to racial injustices.

Sam Dunklau, via Welch & Buckner Twitter pages / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

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.

Thousands of cars circled downtown Springfield Sunday afternoon to protest recent police killings.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Springfield city officials called for residents to stay home Sunday night around 8:30 p.m.

Police Chief Kenny Winslow said they made the decision after receiving information of potential “civil disturbances." He declined to elaborate on specifics.

City officials emphasized it was not a curfew, but a request.

The call comes as protests against police brutality in cities around the country have erupted into violence. Sunday afternoon, Gov. J.B. Pritzker authorized National Guard troops to be deployed to Chicago, which has been under a curfew.

IIS

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he is worried the mass protests over police brutality happening across the country could spread the coronavirus. 

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