JB Pritzker

Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) has replaced former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan as chair of the state’s Democratic Party, marking a shift away from Madigan’s two-decade control of the party.

Governor JB Pritzker introduced his budget framework for next year on Wednesday — a plan that includes neither a tax hike nor deep cuts to social services. Both were consequences  he’d warned of after his graduated income tax plan failed at the polls in November.

 

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As the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate continues to drop, mitigation measures are being relaxed and plans are being made to increase the distribution of the vaccine.

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

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

  Illinois House Republicans say they’re still waiting on Gov. JB Pritzker to propose specific spending cuts to the state’s current year state budget, which is $4 billion out of balance.

The first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine arrived in Illinois at the state's Strategic National Stockpile on Monday, Dec. 14.
Screenshot from video provided by Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office

When Gov. JB Pritzker observes COVID-19 vaccines administered at a Peoria hospital on Tuesday morning, he’ll be witnessing among the first COVID-19 inoculations in Illinois after the state received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Governor JB Pritzker ordered Illinois National Guard medical personnel to the state's four veterans' homes following a deadly outbreak in the LaSalle facility amid criticism from Republican lawmakers.  Also, Michael Madigan continued to resist calls for him to step down as Speaker of the House.

Capitol News Illinois' Jerry Nowicki joins the panel.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

Citing a sharp uptick in Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across Illinois, Democratic leaders of the Illinois General Assembly canceled their planned two weeks of Veto Session late Tuesday afternoon, just hours after Gov. JB Pritzker said scrapping session while the state is in dire fiscal straits “would be disappointing.”

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Brian Mackey

The election saw disappointing results for Democrats at the state level, especially the failure of Governor J.B. Pritzker's proposed change to a graduated income tax.  And House Speaker Michael Madigan is under increasing pressure to step down as head of the state Democratic party.

The State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg joins the panel.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

Illinois voters rejected Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature plan to change Illinois’ flat-rate income tax system to a graduated income tax on Tuesday, delivering a major blow to the first-term Democrat as vote totals showed an insurmountable lead in "no" votes Wednesday, even with up to 400,000 mail-in ballots still left to be counted in Illinois.

 

After spending nearly four years pushing for the issue first as a candidate and then as governor — and spending millions of his own wealth — Pritzker is left with few options to with another difficult budget year looming and the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying recession nowhere near over.

In the dueling campaigns for and against Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature plan to implement a graduated income tax structure in Illinois are the echoes of past attempts at tax reform. 

 

The players have changed and the policy proposals are different, but what remains constant are both Illinois’ underlying structural revenue imbalance and the element of mistrust of Springfield politicians.

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Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Seven months after Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package in the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, local governments in Illinois are still fighting Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration over approximately $150 million meant for municipalities. 

The Illinois Municipal League, which lobbies on behalf of cities and towns in Illinois, already won a fight with Pritzker’s administration this summer over whether municipalities would be able to spend their share of CARES Act money on small grants for businesses in their communities. 

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The campaign over Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposal to impose a graduated income tax has focused mainly on who would pay higher taxes. But perhaps just as important is the question of how that money would be used.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

The libertarian-leaning Illinois Policy Institute on Monday filed suit in an effort to derail Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature policy proposal — changing Illinois’ constitution to allow for a graduated income tax — by forcing the state to issue “corrective notices” about the intent of the tax change, or declaring the vote on the amendment “void.”

Gov. JB Pritzker touts the state's COVID-19 testing capacity at a news conference in Springfield.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

After weekend protests against postponing many fall high school sports, Gov. JB Pritzker again defended the decision.

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http://186.sps186.org/

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

Downtown Springfield Inc. is developing a plan for more outdoor eating and shopping options this summer.
Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

As restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 begin to loosen, establishments in downtown Springfield are looking to add options for dining or selling merchandise outside.

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As the hospitality industry continues to struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois lawmakers approved a measure to allow bars and restaurants to serve cocktails for curbside pick-up and delivery. The bill awaits the governor’s signature.

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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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Illinois has processed more than 20,000 COVID-19 tests in one day for the first time since the pandemic began. The state ranks fourth among all fifty states in testing availability and completion, behind California, Texas, and New York. 

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Illinoisans won’t be able to eat at restaurants until the end of June at the earliest, under the governor’s plan to reopen the state. The statewide association representing restaurants is pushing to move that up to the end of May.

A map of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Illinois Department of Public Health

Illinois is seeing the highest number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths in Chicago and its suburbs, which is also the most populous region of the state.

Critics of the governor say the stay-at-home order and other restrictions shouldn’t be applied statewide because there are fewer cases in central and southern Illinois. But Gov. J.B. Pritzker defended the move Monday, saying that infection and death rates are guiding decisions.

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As Illinois increased its COVID-19 testing capacity, the state saw its largest one-day spike Friday with more than 2,700 newly confirmed cases, bringing the total to nearly 40,000. 

OSF Healthcare

Before the coronavirus hit Illinois, Shannon Egli practiced dissections with first year medical students and helped doctors train for procedures in preparation to work on patients.

He is the coordinator for the Anatomical Lab at OSF HealthCare’s Jump Simulation and Education Center and a clinical associate for the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria.

But now, he spends much of his day taking phone calls, being a remote tech assistant, and dropping off packages for people sick with COVID-19, taking proper precautions.

Illinois Department of Public Health

In Illinois, at least 186 nursing homes and long-term care facilities are reporting at least one confirmed COVID-19 case, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to new data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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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. 

Dirty Dozen Brass Band, from New Orleans, performs on the Y-Block in downtown Springfield, July 11, 2019.
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Concerts, festivals and other large events could be called off this summer. Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged organizers to “think seriously” about cancellations as restrictions could still be in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

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With concerns that the new coronavirus is being spread by asymptomatic people, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is advising Illinois residents to wear masks while out in public.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker in his daily COVID-19 briefing had harsh words for people who
gathered on Chicago’s beaches and in parks during this week’s warmer
temperatures

“Right now, hosting a party, crowding down 
by the lake, playing a pickup basketball game in a public park.  If you are doing these things you are spitting
in the face of the doctors and nurses and first responders who are risking
everything so you can survive. “

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After days of blasting President Donald Trump over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the two spoke by phone Monday.

Pritzker has been especially critical regarding the lack of supplies going to states.  But he said in their conversation, the president was “very responsive.”

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