State of Illinois

Judge Vacates Nationwide Eviction Moratorium, Doesn’t Impact Illinois

2 hours ago

A federal judge invalidated a nationwide eviction moratorium on Wednesday but the decision will not impact the moratorium on rental evictions in Illinois, according to housing attorneys.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich involves the eviction moratorium issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that applied to all rental properties nationwide.

Senate Committee Advances Bills on Sex Ed, Decriminalizing HIV Transmission

5 hours ago

Legislation that would overhaul sex education in Illinois and a measure to decriminalize the transmission of HIV were among several bills that passed the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday.

The committee, following a long and contentious debate, advanced legislation that would require public schools to teach sex ed by July 2023.

Illinois House Votes to Endorse ‘Abolition Amendment,’ D.C. Statehood

20 hours ago

The Illinois House voted Wednesday to endorse a proposed U.S. constitutional amendment that would finally eliminate what some see as the last vestige of slavery in the United States – forced labor by people convicted of crimes and sentenced to prison.

House Joint Resolution 7, by Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, calls for passage of the proposed “abolition amendment,” which seeks to eliminate what’s known as the “punishment clause” of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery after the Civil War.

Secretary of State Calls for New Martin Luther King Statue on Capitol Grounds

May 4, 2021
Capitol News Illinois file photo

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White on Tuesday said it’s time for the state to construct a new statue commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., as the current statue’s rendering “does not properly reflect Dr. King,” White said in a news release.

White said he would personally contribute the first $5,000 in funding the new statue that would be situated in a more prominent location on the Capitol grounds.

Catholic Leaders Oppose Governor’s Proposed Change to Scholarship Tax Credits

May 4, 2021
Capitol News Illinois file photo

The Catholic Conference of Illinois is lobbying against proposed tax changes for the 2022 fiscal year that would reduce an income tax credit gained for donations to private scholarships.

In a letter released Tuesday, Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago joined bishops representing the state's other five dioceses – administrative districts under the Catholic Church – asking Catholics to call their local legislators and ask them to oppose the measure put forward by Gov. JB Pritzker, which they called “an important matter of public policy and social justice.”

Chicago Auto Show to Return in July as State Prepares for Return of Large Events

May 4, 2021

Gov. JB Pritzker announced Tuesday the Chicago Auto Show will return in July, signaling the return of some larger-scale events amid declining COVID-19 positivity rates.

The announcement comes one day after Pritzker announced the state could be moving forward to the “bridge” phase of reopening as early as next week, which allows for large-capacity venues such as convention halls and outdoor events to resume operations with capacity guidelines and safety measures in place.

Pritzker Says State ‘In Decent Shape’ to Further Reopen, as Vaccination Pace Slows

May 3, 2021
Jerry Nowicki of Capitol News Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker said Monday the state could enter the “bridge” phase to greater reopening as soon as next week, while the state’s vaccination rate continues to drop.

Speaking at a news conference at Providence Hospital in Chicago, Pritzker said Illinois is nearing the necessary metrics to reach the next phase of reopening as case numbers stabilize.

Illinois Economy Shrinks 4% in 2020, Despite 4th Quarter Growth

May 3, 2021
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

The Illinois economy shrank by 4 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on many of its sectors, although there were signs of a recovery taking place late in the year.

Those preliminary numbers, released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, showed that the leisure, hospitality and food service sector was the hardest hit by the pandemic, reporting a nearly 30 percent drop in economic output for the year.

Report Into LaSalle Home Deaths Raises Questions About Criminal Probe

May 3, 2021
Capitol News Illinois file photo by Jerry Nowicki

Some Republicans in the General Assembly, including House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, are calling for a criminal investigation into the COVID-19 related deaths at the state-run LaSalle Veterans’ Home.

The push for a criminal probe comes after a state investigative report was released Friday that found there were widespread failures at the LaSalle facility and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs that contributed to 36 resident deaths there since November.

CAPITOL RECAP: Governor's Office Unveils Energy Overhaul Bill

May 1, 2021
Capitol News Illinois

Capitol News Illinois · April 30 Week in Review

The governor’s office unveiled a 900-page energy overhaul bill Wednesday, accelerating a yearslong process which advocates hope will end in a comprehensive clean energy platform as the session nears its final month.

Delivery Service Rules, Limits on Governor’s Authority Over Unions Advance

Apr 30, 2021

The Illinois Senate worked through a long list of bills Thursday as lawmakers prepared to enter the final stretch of the 2021 session.

Those bills included new restrictions on third-party delivery services such as DoorDash, limits on the governor’s authority to interfere with collective bargaining agreements and new requirements to collect data on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the LGBTQ community.

Breach Reported by Attorney General Confirmed to be Ransomware Attack

Apr 30, 2021
Capitol News Illinois file photo

A data breach reported by Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office nearly three weeks ago was a ransomware attack, according to a Thursday news release.

Raoul’s office has launched a new hotline to provide information to residents following the data breach first reported on April 10.

Pritzker Releases New Plan for Spending Multi-Billion Dollar Volkswagen Settlement

Apr 30, 2021
Capitol News Illinois photo by Jerry Nowicki

Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration released a revised plan for how to spend the state’s share of a multi-billion dollar Volkswagen settlement, which found the vehicle manufacturer in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

Illinois initially received approximately $108 million from the settlement. The plans that were released Thursday include a $9 million grant opportunity to electrify school buses in Chicago and the Metro East, as well as redirecting the remaining $88.6 million to other electric transportation and infrastructure projects throughout the state.

Emergency Housing Assistance Bill Will Head to Governor

Apr 30, 2021

The Illinois Senate voted Thursday to pass House Bill 2877, which aims to extend emergency protections to renters and homeowners financially impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It needs only a signature from Gov. JB Pritzker to become law after passing the House last week.

“Lack of COVID-19 preparation,” paired with “failures in communication” both in and outside of the state-run LaSalle Veterans Home contributed to a major COVID-19 outbreak that killed 36 residents at the facility and infected dozens more, according to a report published by Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration Friday.

Illinois Department of Public Health

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday issued its second report on maternal mortality rates in the state, which found there were 103 pregnancy-associated deaths in Illinois in 2017 – the highest number of any year in that decade.

The report looked at deaths during or after pregnancy from 2016 to 2017, with 175 pregnancy-associated deaths logged during the two-year span.

Ethics Commission Finds Ex-Exelon Lobbyist Sexually Harassed Colleague

Apr 29, 2021
Capitol News Illinois file photo

A state ethics commission has found a former Exelon lobbyist sexually harassed one of his female colleagues on two separate occasions in Springfield, in violation of the Lobbyist Registration Act.

David Fein, formerly Exelon’s senior vice president of state governmental and regulatory affairs, will have to pay a $6,000 fine and his lobbyist registration will be suspended until Dec. 31, according to the April 23 decision from the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission.

Judge Finds Firearm Ownership Card Law Invalid – As Applied to One Illinois Woman

Apr 29, 2021
Capitol News Illinois file photo

For the second time, a county judge in southern Illinois has ruled the state’s Firearm Owner Identification Card law unconstitutional, as applied to one state resident, Vivian Brown.

The ruling from Judge T. Scott Webb means the Illinois Supreme Court will, also for the second time, be in a position to decide whether to strike down the FOID card law as unconstitutional.

Pritzker Unveils Energy Plan Amid Session’s Final Stretch

Apr 29, 2021
Capitol News Illinois photo by Jerry Nowicki

Gov. JB Pritzker’s office unveiled a 900-page energy overhaul bill Wednesday, accelerating a yearslong negotiating process which advocates hope will end in a comprehensive clean energy platform as the session nears its final month.

The stated goal of the bill is to drive Illinois to 100 percent “clean” energy by 2050. That, Deputy Gov. Christian Mitchell said in an interview Wednesday, would include nuclear power as a major contributor. Another goal is to bring Illinois to 40 percent of its utility scale energy being produced by renewables, such as wind and solar, by 2030. Right now, that number is around 8 percent.

GOP Calls Out Pritzker for Backtracking on Independent Maps

Apr 29, 2021
Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock

Illinois Senate Republicans on Wednesday harshly criticized Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, accusing him of breaking a campaign pledge to support an independent commission to redraw congressional and legislative district maps.

Gov. JB Pritzker announced a new state program Monday that aims to increase vaccine access in low-income, vulnerable communities and to connect residents across the state to COVID-19 assistance programs for transportation, food, utilities or other resources.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Health Navigator Program serves areas of the state outside of Chicago and Cook County, and is funded by $60 million in grants from the Illinois Department of Public Health to regional organizations.

Illinois General Assembly Passes Hundreds of Bills as Session End Approaches

Apr 26, 2021
Capitol Dome
Capitol News Illinois file photo

The state Senate and House passed more than 750 bills last week, addressing isolated timeouts in schools, youth vaping, teaching Muslim history, the commemoration of Juneteenth and automatic voter registration in prisons, among other topics.

Friday was the deadline for the General Assembly to pass bills out of each chamber, for consideration in the other chamber. The General Assembly’s session is scheduled to end May 31.

Lawmakers, Pritzker Administration Spar Over Projected Fiscal Year Revenues

Apr 26, 2021

Members of an Illinois Senate committee sparred with officials from Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration Friday in a hearing on tax changes proposed by the governor in an effort to balance the state’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year.

The Senate Revenue and Appropriations committees held the joint hearing, questioning the directors of the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget among others.

House Passes Bill Reducing Barriers to Telehealth

Apr 23, 2021

The Illinois House passed a bill Friday which would make COVID-19-related expansions to telehealth services permanent through state statute.

House Bill 3498, introduced by Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, aims to reduce barriers in access to virtual and telehealth services and would bring standards for virtual care in line with physical health services.

Springfield Republican Calls out Democrats for Placing Bill 'On Review'

Apr 23, 2021
Lee Millner, Ilinois Times

Republican Rep. Tim Butler on Thursday accused the new Democratic leadership in the state House of Representatives of preserving practices from previous leadership which Republicans say unfairly benefits the majority party.

“So, what the speaker said back in January about this place being different and running in a different manner is a bunch of BS right now,” Butler said in a Thursday night floor speech during which he threw a paper calendar and pounded his desk out of anger.

Illinois House OKs Bill to License Professional Midwives

Apr 23, 2021

The certified professional midwife profession in Illinois moved one step closer to becoming an officially licensed occupation on Thursday with the passage of House Bill 3401.

HB 3401 creates the Licensed Certified Professional Midwife Practice Act, which would license individuals who perform out-of-hospital births and have earned the credentials associated with being a professional midwife.

Lawmakers Question Exelon Audit

Apr 22, 2021

Members of a state Senate committee sharply criticized a recent audit of Exelon’s nuclear power plant operations that suggested ratepayers may need to subsidize two of those plants by as much as $350 million over the next five years.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s office and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency commissioned the audit last year, at a cost of $208,000, after Exelon announced in August that it plans to shutter its Byron and Dresden power plants later in 2021.

House Passes Leadership Term Limits, Source of Income Protections for Renters

Apr 22, 2021

The Illinois House advanced several bills Thursday, including one which would implement term limits on leadership positions in the General Assembly and another that would create additional protections for tenants’ sources of income.

House Bill 642, introduced by Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, would bar any individual from serving more than 10 consecutive years in a leadership position in the General Assembly, including speaker of the House, president of the Senate, and minority leadership positions in each house.

Bill Allowing Name Changes for Convicted Individuals Passes House

Apr 22, 2021

A bill allowing a person who must register with a state agency due to a criminal conviction to change their name under specific circumstances passed the Illinois House on Thursday with bipartisan support.

House Bill 2542, introduced by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, amends several state statutes preventing Illinois residents from changing their names due to their presence on watch lists. HB 2542 passed through the new House Restorative Justice Committee last month, with an amendment approved by the same committee Wednesday.

House Passes Bill to Reclassify Small-Amount Drug Possession as Misdemeanor

Apr 22, 2021
Lee Millner, Ilinois Times

A bill to lessen penalties for possessing and selling small amounts of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, narrowly passed out of the state House of Representatives Wednesday after a contentious debate.

The discussion over House Bill 3447 provoked strong emotions on both sides of the aisle, passing by a 61-49 vote, or just one more than was needed to pass.