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As the minority party at the Illinois State Capitol, Republicans only have a bully pulpit. But when House Speaker Mike Madigan was implicated last week in a utility bribery case, they got more of a megaphone to go with it. 

Courtesy of Bradley Bourbonnais Community High School

The District 186 school board voted to open registration and ask parents if they want their children to return to the classroom a few days a week, while learning online the other days, or participate only online. 

Carter Staley/NPR illinois

With just a few weeks to go before some schools are set to begin their fall semester, the Illinois Federation of Teachers issued a recommendation on Monday that called for students to begin the academic year learning remotely.  It is part of a larger union statement on the new school year.  

Bill Wheelhouse

Rapper Kanye West was among those submitting petitions for the fall ballot Illinois on the final day for independent and third party candidates to file.   

West said he is running for president. But he has missed the deadline to file in several states. While he was on time in Illinois, filing does not guarantee a spot on the ballot.  Petitions can be challenged for the number of signatures and their vailidity.  West did not have a vice presidential candidate file with him.  

Signs at the COVID-19 testing site at a former Walgreens in Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

There are now two drive-through, COVID-19 testing sites in Springfield – Memorial Medical Center Respiratory Clinic and Walgreens.

Springfield District 186 logo
http://186.sps186.org/

Students, teachers and parents will find more out on Monday about school reopening plans for Springfield’s District 186. 

Signs outside a store in downtown Springfield encourage handwashing and the use of face masks.
Mary Hanse / NPR Illinois

Restaurants and bars that don’t comply with Illinois’ indoor seating limits and other rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus could face a $500 fine from the city of Springfield. Further noncompliance could lead to the city temporarily suspending a liquor license.

A COVID-19 testing site outside of Sangamon County Health Department.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

On Friday afternoon, fifteen cars lined up in the Sangamon County Department of Public Health parking lot, their drivers or passengers waiting to get tested for COVID-19.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, the major electric utility ComEd agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.  Meanwhile, Governor J.B. Pritzker adjusted some aspects of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson joins the panel.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

The U.S. Attorney’s office says electric utility ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. 

Pritzker Deciding Whether To Halt Evictions Again

Jul 16, 2020
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker says he is considering extending a moratorium on evictions beyond the end of July.  During a stop in Rockford, Thursday, Pritzker was asked if he planned to renew the order when it expires at the end of the month.

Student athletes, coaches and parents are waiting to see if the games will take place when school begins.  We take a closer look on this episode of Statewide.

J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As coronavirus cases surge nationwide, Governor J.B. Pritzker introduced a new plan to address a resurgence in Illinois. 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement had announced that international students must take some of their classes in-person. If not, they could be deported from the United States. The Trump Administration just rescinded that decision. But many international students continue to face uncertainty during COVID-19. 

When he first saw the news from ICE, Sina Tayebati thought he might be getting deported back to Iran. He’s a graduate student studying mechanical engineering at Northern Illinois University.

Springfield Municipal Center West
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Springfield Ald. Joe McMenamin again apologized Tuesday night for comments he made at last week’s city council meeting, which sparked a wider conversation about race and unconscious bias.

Sean Crawford/NPR Illinois

After reversing course and prohibiting physical contact, the Illinois High School Association is now trying to determine if and how to allow fall athletic events. 

https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/?ref=ccsearch&atype=rich / Creative Commons

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois was already fighting a public health crisis - the opioid epidemic. Clinicians at two drug rehab centers said more patients have been admitted to their facility since the coronavirus pandemic. 

Masks on statues of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan Bandy would post photos on social media of patrons packing his bars in Springfield.

“That was my proudest moments, when you see a lot of people in your business having a good time,” Bandy said. “Now, it's bad to do that. It's wrong to have a packed business. And rightfully so.”

flickr/jmorgan

The deadline to file state and federal income tax returns is this week.  The date was extended from April to July 15.  The change was made to help those having difficulties bacause of the pandemic. 

Olivia Mitchell / NPR Illinois

Two city of Springfield employees who work in the Public Works garage have tested positive for COVID-19. City officials said they haven’t worked since Sunday. 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Over the past week, Democratic Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth weathered Republican criticism at the same time her name is being put forward, among others, as Joe Biden's potential running mate.  Governor J.B. Pritzker called on the Trump administration for a nationwide mandate for wearing masks to combat the coronavirus, while still not issuing such a mandate in his own state.  More revelations are showing just who received federal PPP money.  And House Speaker Michael Madigan calls for the removal of statues at the State Capitol building.

Signs outside a store in downtown Springfield encourage handwashing and the use of face masks.
Mary Hanse / NPR Illinois

A month ago, Sangamon County confirmed a dozen COVID-19 cases in one week. So far this week, more than 50 people have tested positive.

colonnade on UIS campus
University of Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois Springfield released its fall plan with details on how students and faculty would return to the campus and remain safe during the coronavirus pandemic. 

On this week's episode, we examine the economic blow of students leaving college towns and the health risks associated with their planned return.  

flickr/pioneer98-https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

It was only a matter a time that recent events caused someone to focus in on Illinois State Capitol statues dedicated to those with racist pasts.  Now, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is calling for the removal of two statues sitting outside the State Capitol and a portrait inside the chamber of the Illinois House.

People can respond online to the U.S. Census for the first time in 2020.
U.S. Census Bureau / U.S. Census Bureau

About a third of Illinois households still need to fill out their 2020 census forms, according to the U.S. Census Bureau .

Battle For The Amendment

Jul 7, 2020
Ill. House Republicans

The advertisements will soon start flying through the airwaves, over the cable and on your favorite social media channel.   It is all in the battle for a constitutional amendment this November that would change the way Illinois’ income tax system works.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/?ref=ccsearch&atype=rich / Creative Commons

Drivers in Illinois will no longer have their license or vehicle registration suspended for unpaid parking fines and tollway violations. 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, a Clay County judge ruled that Governor J.B. Pritzker did not have the authority to issue executive orders to combat the spread of the new coronavirus after his initial order expired.   Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned the city that there would be conseqences for those who flout precautionary measures.  Also, it's the start of a new fiscal year and several new laws went into effect July 1st.

WTTW Chicago Tonight's Amanda Vinicky joins the panel.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

This coming school year, districts will be expected to provide information on LGBTQ figures in history before students graduate eighth grade.

State representative Anna Moeller, an Elgin Democrat, said she believes the addition is positive for all students.

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