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Capitol News Illinois

Pritzker Activates National Guard As FBI Warns Of State Capitol Protests

Jan 15, 2021
Capitol News Illinois photos by Peter Hancock

Gov. JB Pritzker has activated 250 members of the Illinois National Guard amid FBI warnings of potential armed protests at the 50 U.S. state capitols in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Crews could also be seen Friday placing plywood over the windows of the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield.

McLean County Improves Into Tier 2 COVID Mitigations

Jan 15, 2021

Gov. JB Pritzker announced revisions to his COVID-19 mitigation tiers Friday that would allow earlier indoor dining, but no regions have thus far met the requirements.

Welch To Become State's First Black Speaker Of Illinois House

Jan 13, 2021
Gordon-Booth and Welch

UPDATED 9:05 p.m. | One of the most transformative six-day periods in the history of Illinois government came to an end Wednesday with the election of Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, as the state’s House speaker – the first Black man to hold the title.

Black Caucus Passes Criminal Justice Omnibus Bill Through Senate

Jan 13, 2021
Elgie Sims speaks

The Illinois Senate passed a criminal justice omnibus bill early Wednesday morning after a grueling 20 hours of politicking during Tuesday’s lame duck session.

Black Caucus Puts Welch Forth As Speaker Candidate; Williams And Kifowit Withdraw

Jan 13, 2021
Welch on the floor
Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register

One day after state House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, announced a suspension – but not a withdrawal – of his campaign for another term as speaker, a state representative who has been accused of being a staunch Madigan protector has launched a bid for the post.

Governor Weighs In On Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Jan 12, 2021
Capitol News Illinois photo by Jerry Nowicki

Gov. JB Pritzker took questions on a massive criminal justice omnibus bill backed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus on Monday, noting he was generally “in favor of the process and the work that the Black Caucus has done overall.”

When pressed on specific provisions in the bill that have been seen as controversial, especially as it relates to changes in how policing is done in the state, Pritzker said he would wait until the final version of the bill is presented to him.

Some Counties Entering Next Phase Of Vaccine Distribution

Jan 11, 2021
Ezike speaks at podium
Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois

Some regions of the state could see loosened COVID-19 restrictions as early as Friday as some counties have already transitioned to the next phase of vaccine distribution, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday.

Madigan Suspends Speaker Campaign: 'This Is Not A Withdrawal'

Jan 11, 2021
Madigan on the floor
Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois

UPDATED 2:25 p.m. | Michael Madigan announced he would suspend his campaign for House Speaker of the 102nd General Assembly on Monday, but his statement made clear he was not withdrawing from the race.

Higher Education Reform Bill Unveiled In Springfield

Jan 9, 2021
Zaldwaynaka Scott speaks

A bill aimed at making college education and teacher preparation programs more accessible and affordable for people of color began working its way through the General Assembly on Saturday with the formal introduction of language that lawmakers have been negotiating for months.

House Kicks Off Lame Duck Session; Governor Announces Tax Code Change Priority

Jan 8, 2021
House members at a session
Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois

Illinois House lawmakers were back in the capital city Friday for the first time since May, kicking off a five-day “lame duck” legislative session.

Black Caucus Introduces Sweeping Police Legislation, Faces Opposition From Law Enforcement

Jan 7, 2021
Elgie Sims

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has introduced a sweeping criminal justice omnibus bill that aims to heavily alter the state of policing in Illinois.

Regions Could Have Some Mitigations Loosened Starting Jan. 15

Jan 6, 2021
Pritzker speaks at podium

Statewide Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigations could be lifted within 10 days.

Only Three New Laws Take Effect Jan. 1

Dec 29, 2020
Megan speaks
Peter Hancock / Capitol News Illinois

When a new year begins in Illinois, there typically are dozens if not hundreds of new laws going into effect.

Restaurant Asks Illinois Supreme Court To Throw Out Indoor Dining Ban

Dec 21, 2020

Lawyers for a Kane County restaurant are asking the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn an appellate court decision that found the governor’s indoor dining ban was lawfully imposed.

OSF Workers In Peoria To Receive First Vaccine Doses On Tuesday

Dec 14, 2020
OSF exterior
Jeff Smudde / WGLT / WCBU

Gov. JB Pritzker is expected to visit Peoria on Tuesday as OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center employees become the first in Illinois to receive the new COVID-19 vaccine.

New Jobless Claims Surge In Illinois

Dec 10, 2020
Unemployment Office

More than 107,000 Illinois workers filed first-time unemployment claims last week, a 45% increase over the week before as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the state and national economies.

Madigan Floats Income Tax Increase; GOP Leader Asks For Spending Cuts

Dec 8, 2020
Jim Durkin
Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois

As the state government attempts to close a multi-billion-dollar budget hole, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan has said he is prepared to vote for an increase to the state’s flat income tax rate should the governor request it — a proposal met with pushback from his Republican counterpart, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.

LaSalle Veterans Home Administrator Fired, Nursing Director Placed On Leave

Dec 7, 2020
Andre speaks at hearing
Peter Hancock / Capitol News Illinois

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs announced Monday that LaSalle Veterans’ Home Administrator Angela Mehlbrech has been fired after a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle facility has resulted in at least 32 resident deaths. 

Gov. JB Pritzker standing while wearing a mask
Eric Stock / WGLT

Health officials gave an update on the state’s COVID-19 vaccine plan Friday with potential federal approval anticipated as early as next week.

Senate Committee Grills Veterans Affairs Officials On LaSalle Home Outbreak

Nov 24, 2020
Linda speaks

Members of the state Senate Veterans Affairs Committee had pointed questions for officials with the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs about the agency’s response to an outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home that has resulted in at least 27 resident deaths from COVID-19-related complications.

State Issues Stricter Mitigations Amid Hospitalization Surge

Nov 17, 2020
Pritzker speaks

Gov. JB Pritzker announced the entire state would enter Tier 3 of his mitigation plan starting Friday as he noted the best way for Illinoisans to avoid another stay-at-home order was by staying home.

Sue Rezin

Republicans on the Illinois House Veterans’ Affairs Committee called for a hearing this week to investigate a COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home where at least nine residents have died after testing positive for the virus.

Kwame Raoul

Lawmakers, in tandem with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, are looking to bolster the state’s system of certifying and decertifying law enforcement professionals.

State Releases Contact Tracing Data As One-Day COVID-19 Caseload Tops 10,000

Nov 6, 2020
Pie graph

Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration unveiled a new central location for COVID-19 contact tracing data on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website Friday.

Pritzker Warns Of Additional Restrictions As New COVID-19 Cases Soar

Nov 5, 2020
JB Pritzker closeup
Rex Arbogast / AP

Gov. JB Pritzker warned Thursday that additional social and economic restrictions may need to be imposed statewide in the near future if the surge in new COVID-19 cases continues on its current path.

With Graduated Tax Failure, Governor Predicts 'Painful' Cuts

Nov 5, 2020

Backers of a graduated income tax constitutional amendment conceded defeat Wednesday for Gov. JB Pritzker’s marquee policy proposal that was projected to bring in more than $3 billion annually to state coffers.

State Announces Winter Sports Restrictions

Oct 27, 2020
Pritzker speaks

Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced new guidelines for youth and adult winter sports on Tuesday that temporarily put a halt to competitive basketball, hockey and wrestling events.

State To Fund 2 Manufacturing Training Academies

Oct 27, 2020
Pritzker at a podium

The state of Illinois plans to invest $15 million to construct two new manufacturing training academies at downstate community colleges.

Lawmakers Push To Reform State's Bail System

Oct 23, 2020
Robert Peters speaks

Some state lawmakers are looking to reform the cash bail system in Illinois, mainly by ending the use of money bonds as a factor in preventing a suspect’s release.

People testify
Capitol News Illinois

Despite a temporary rule that extends the expiration dates for Firearm Owners Identification cards and concealed carry permits, many Illinois gun owners are still finding it difficult to buy weapons and ammunition.