Olivia Mitchell | WGLT

Olivia Mitchell

Olivia Mitchell is a graduate Public Affairs Reporting intern for the spring 2020 legislative session.

Those in the real estate industry were hoping for a competitive and prosperous housing market during the spring season, but the rapid spread of COVID-19 put a pause on their plans. One broker offered advice to the industry on what it should be doing through the pandemic.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, some Illinois centers that treat people with substance use disorders will continue with outpatient and residential services. However, there are other options for those who choose to stay home.

Addiction recovery meetings are still taking place with small groups at some treatment centers, and centers are now offering virtual and over-the-phone options for patients.

Kerry Henry, executive director of Gateway Foundation in Springfield, said precautionary measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 are enforced for those still attending sessions.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker called on former physicians and medical professionals, including those who are retired, to “join the fight” against COVID-19. 

Illinois’ closure of bars and dine-in restaurants has Springfield businesses worried as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread throughout the state.

Brent Schwoerer of Engrained Brewery, on the west side of Springfield, said his major concern is the survival of his employees.

The tourism sector of Springfield is looking toward summer travel plans, rather than the spring conventions that usually bring millions of dollars into the city, because of gathering restrictions put in place to fight COVID-19.

Republicans are renewing their call to suspend Automatic Voter Registration after more problems with the system came to light this week.

Earlier this year, it came out that several people who self-identified as non-citizens were permitted to vote. Now, more than 1,100 actual citizens in Illinois were improperly classified as having opted out of voter registration — potentially denying them their right to vote.

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Springfield Sunday for the annual Women’s Day March. Demonstrators focused on opposing policies they say threaten women’s health and target immigrants.

The Illinois House has approved legislation that would allow people to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP benefits, online.

Illinois officials say the state should be doing more to level the playing field for women and girls. A council working toward that goal released its first annual report today. 

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether sex education teachers should have to warn students about the consequences of “sexting” — sharing or forwarding sexually explicit videos, pictures, and text messages.

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether parents should be allowed to keep their children from participating in active shooter drills at school.

Some parents and school personnel say the exercises have a negative effect on children. State Sen. Scott Bennett, a Democrat from Champaign, said he’s not against active shooter training, but he said it should be conducted with more sensitivity.

Lawmakers are considering whether to make comprehensive sexual education mandatory for grades K-12 in public schools across the state.

Pet owners in Illinois that live in public housing often have to choose between keeping their pet and staying in a place they can afford. A proposed Illinois measure aims to prevent that situation from ever happening.

Even though Gov. J.B. Pritzker says school funding is one of his top priorities, Republican lawmakers are criticizing his budget proposal, which could significantly cut promised funding if voters don’t approve the graduated income tax in November.

A day after former Vice President Joe Biden finished fifth in the New Hampshire primary, he still had the support of former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

LaHood, once a Republican congressman from Peoria who went to work for the Obama administration, said Wednesday he does not have a second-choice candidate.

He said if Biden can win over diverse states like South Carolina and Nevada, he’ll show he can bring the Democratic Party together.

LaHood also continued to criticize President Donald Trump.

Illinois lawmakers are considering a proposal to give students mental health days away from school.

The legislation would allow children in kindergarten through twelfth grade who have mental health issues the opportunity to take up to five days off during the school year.

A group of Illinois lawmakers and health care advocates want the state to more equitably provide money for low income hospital patients.

A panel of lawmakers on Wednesday grilled Secretary of State Jesse White and officials from the Illinois State Board of Elections over problems with the state’s automatic voter registration system.

As public universities in Illinois have seen enrollment declines in recent years, one state lawmaker has an idea aimed at keeping high school graduates from leaving.

Lawmakers are demanding answers from the Illinois State Police about delays on DNA processing.

Both Republicans and Democrats say they want more answers as to why more than 500 non-U.S.citizens were mistakenly added to Illinois voter rolls.

Members of both parties say they take the issue of election security seriously.

Both of Illinois’ U.S. senators voted in favor of a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

Around 94,000 medical marijuana licenses have been issued in Illinois, and about 600 of them are for children under the age of 18.

Students who need medical marijuana – typically to treat conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy – used to have to rely on their parents to come to school and give them their treatment. Now, students can get their cannabis from the school nurse, or administer it themselves under the nurse’s supervision.