CAPITOL RECAP: Amid pandemic, sweeping changes to November election in Illinois

CAPITOL RECAP: Amid pandemic, sweeping changes to November election in Illinois

Protesters outside the Capitol in Springfield call for Illinois to reopen sooner than the timeline provided in Gov. JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan. Members of the state Senate met inside the Capitol for the first of a three-day special session Wednesday, May 20. (Capitol News Illinois photo by Ben Orner)


By Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House of Representatives advanced a bill Thursday, May 21, that would greatly expand voting by mail in the November general election, as well as make the day a state holiday this year.

By a 72-43 vote, and three members not voting, the House sent Senate Bill 1863 back to its original chamber. The bill was introduced last year as a piece of unrelated legislation and passed by the Senate. It was gutted this week in the House and replaced with the election language via amendment.

Senate passage is needed Friday to send the bill to Gov. JB Pritzker to sign.

The 26-page amendment proposes unprecedented changes to state elections law to facilitate the 2020 general election and make voting easier and safer amid societal restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill would require county election officials, by Aug. 1, to mail or email vote-by-mail ballot applications to any voter who cast a ballot in 2018, 2019 or 2020, as well as voters who registered or changed addresses after the March primary.

No later than Sept. 15, the secretary of state would send a notice to people who received an application but not yet returned it.

Completed vote-by-mail ballots would also be able to be returned in new “collection sites.” As for voting in person, the bill would allow local election authorities to allow curbside voting, in which voters can drive up, be handed a ballot and fill it out in their cars.

SB 1863 would also make Nov. 3, 2020, a state holiday observed by state offices and schools.

Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, the bill’s chief House sponsor, advocated for the legislation Thursday, saying it will “balance public health concerns with robust participation in elections.”

* * *

STATE BUDGET: Lawmakers could vote on a budget as early as Friday, May 22, after working well into the night Thursday, May 21, at the Capitol and a makeshift House chamber at the Bank of Springfield Center.

A 2,246-page amendment serving as an appropriations bill moved into third reading in the Senate on Thursday evening, meaning Senate President Don Harmon’s House Bill 64 is eligible for full passage Friday after passing the House on Wednesday. The amendment to that bill was filed Tuesday in the House.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 264, which sits in the House, had a 2,258-page amendment filed to it Thursday and could serve as the appropriations bill in that chamber. As each bill has already cleared at least one chamber, they could both pass in a single legislative day. Upon passage, they’d need a signature from the governor to become law.

The appropriations bill was one of many items on the Senate’s agenda as it worked well into the night during the second of a three-day special session.

* * *

COVID-19 HEALTH STATISTICS: The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Thursday, May 21, that 2,268 new cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in the state over the previous 24 hours and that 87 additional people had died of virus-related illness. That brings the total since the pandemic first appeared in Illinois to 102,686 confirmed cases and 4,607 deaths. The disease has been detected in 100 of the state’s 102 counties.

There were 4,107 people hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms Thursday, including 1,088 in intensive care units, and 609 of those ICU patients were on ventilators. Those are all increases from Wednesday’s numbers.

Since Wednesday, May 20, laboratories had processed 29,307 specimens, the highest single-day total yet.

IDES said that because of the high unemployment rate, extended state benefits are now available to those who exhaust their 26 weeks of regular state unemployment and the additional 13 weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC.

IDPH said that since March 1, it has processed more than 1.2 million claims for regular unemployment. In addition, it has processed 74,515 applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, since that program launched May 11, and another 36,367 applications for the PEUC program. Both of those programs are 100 percent federally funded.

* * *

RECORD UNEMPLOYMENT: The unemployment rate in Illinois reached a staggering 16.4 percent in April, the highest rate recorded since the modern system of tracking joblessness began in 1976, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday, May 21.

The previous record of 13.9 percent was set in February 1983, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The rate in April was 12.2 percentage points higher than March, which was revised downward to 4.2 percent, reflecting a revised estimate of the number of people in the labor force that month.

That news came just a few months after the state set a record low unemployment rate of 3.4 percent in November, reflecting the speed with which the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a virtual shutdown of most of the state and national economies.

The numbers reflect an overall loss of 762,200 nonfarm jobs since March, the largest single-month decline in state history, and a decline of 822,800 jobs since April 2019.

* * *

FIXES TO MARIJUANA BILL: The Senate on Thursday, May 21, approved House Bill 123, making minor changes to the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act that “make sure it can work effectively,” according to sponsor Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago.

Senators were called to the floor in groups of 10 to cast their votes as side conversations filled the room and several members stood well within six feet of each other. All wore masks, with a few pulling them below their nose or mouth at times.

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, made several calls for members to appear in the chamber to vote for the bill, which ultimately passed 46-10.

Some bill sponsors were barely audible amid the side chatter as the chamber moved along with its action list after several months away from the Capitol.

* * *

COVID-19 COMPENSATION FOR FIRST RESPONDERS: Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, on Thursday, May 21, moved her House Bill 2455, which she said was an agreed bill between business and labor regarding workers compensation and COVID-19.

Among other things, the “labor omnibus bill” created, for the purpose of death benefits, a rebuttable presumption that a police officer or firefighter who dies as a result of COVID-19 contracted the virus on the job. The officer or firefighter must have contracted the virus between March 9 and Dec. 31, 2020.

Sen. John Curran, R-Downers Grove, asked questions regarding legislative intent and ultimately agreed the bill was a strong product of bipartisan negotiation. It passed by a 50-4 vote.

* * *

REOPENING PLAN: House Republicans are calling for — but not expecting — a vote to be taken on Gov. JB Pritzker’s reopening plan this week while lawmakers are in Springfield for an abbreviated legislative session.

Before the legislative session began Wednesday, May 20, for the first time since March, four downstate members of the House GOP caucus hosted a video news conference arguing for more input from the General Assembly — a coequal branch of state government to executive authority. They also argued for a more regionalized approach.

“We are simply not facing the same challenges in most communities today as they are in Chicago, and yet decisions about reopening our businesses and communities are being made by the same single source — Governor Pritzker,” Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, said. “The governor needs to begin allowing for local input today, by agreeing to let members of the General Assembly weigh in on behalf of our communities and make needed changes to his reopening plan.”

The news conference concluded shortly before an estimated 150 Reopen Illinois protestors gathered outside of the Bank of Springfield convention center where House lawmakers would take part in the legislative session.

While Pritzker has long touted that his is a data-driven approach recommended by doctors and epidemiologists, Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, said in the video conference that other localized plans rely on experts as well and should be given a fair hearing.

“This is incredibly disappointing for a governor that has said he’s following the data and the science. Well, we’re doing the same,” he said. “And if we’re not allowed to have meaningful input into the governor’s version of the Restore Illinois plan – the regional reopening plan for the entire state – then we need to allow smaller sub-regions to have their own plan and manage the conditions that they see and work with their own local health professionals, public health staff and other experts.”

Several regions and local officials have proposed sub-regional or hastened reopening schedules that would allow local businesses to open up more quickly, including Peoria County in Spain’s district.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, also introduced Senate Bill 3993 this week, backed by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, directing IDPH to establish the Safe Place of Business protocols on or before May 30 to give guidance to all businesses and allowing them to reopen once protocols are met.

* * *

PHASE 3 MODIFICATIONS: As the entire state remains on pace to enter the next phase of reopening in just nine days, Gov. JB Pritzker announced a major addition to the allowed activities under the phase: outdoor dining at restaurants.

Pritzker on Wednesday, May 20, said restaurants will be able to open outdoor seating to customers when the businesses’ region moves into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois reopening plan, which all four regions are on pace to do on May 29.

“With the right restrictions, tables six feet apart and away from the sidewalks, masks and distancing measures for staff and other precautions, the experts believe that these services can open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities,” Pritzker said during his daily COVID-19 briefing in his office at the Capitol, the first time he’s held a briefing in Springfield since March 16.

Pritzker said that no specific restaurant or legal action forced the addition of outdoor seating to the Phase 3 plan. Instead, he said that he has been continuously listening to health experts and industry leaders.

Sam Toia, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association, said at Wednesday’s briefing that outdoor seating will not be a solution for every restaurant, but it will be “a benefit to many at a time when every dollar counts.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health will issue specific guidance in the coming days. Restaurants are not slated to open to indoor dining until Phase 4.

All state parks will reopen on May 29 under Phase 3, Pritzker announced Wednesday. Phase 3 will also include the reopening of indoor and outdoor tennis facilities with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits.

Golf courses will allow four people per tee time and golf carts will be permitted with either one person or one immediate household per cart. Boating and camping of up to 10 people will also be permitted.

* * *

RESTORE ILLINOIS:All of Illinois is “on track” to progress into the next phase of Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to reopen the state safely, he said Tuesday, May 19, during his daily update teleconference in Chicago.

The current phase of the plan allows residents to visit golf courses and state parks, retail shops to deliver orders placed remotely and medical centers to allow elective surgeries to resume.

By moving into the “Recovery” phase in 10 days, offices, salons, barbershops and manufacturers will begin to return with some capacity restrictions. Pritzker said the progress in various metrics — including the rate of positive COVID-19 tests, hospital admissions and ventilator availability — is “terrific news.”

The governor added while some residents are “itching” to move ahead quicker than the 28-day period prescribed, the Restore Illinois plan was designed by experts to ensure safety.

“I can say with confidence that here in Illinois, we’ve committed to operating with a focus on public health and transparent measurable benchmarks to move to each new phase,” Pritzker said. “…There’s no doubt this is hard, but public health means that each of us is working to protect all of us.”

Also difficult is residents living in border communities seeing restaurants, bars and shops open in Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin, he added.

* * *

YOUTH SPORTS, CHURCH SERVICES: Gov. JB Pritzker faced a number of questions from news media throughout the state Thursday, May 21 on issues ranging from youth sports activities to worship services.

“I’m certainly working with (the Illinois Department of Public Health) to make sure that summer sports, to the extent we can do it with 10 or fewer people, that we want to make that happen,” he said. “More outdoor activity within the parameters of what epidemiologists are saying, I want. I think it will be difficult to have crowds in a stand watching those games, but I know that there are little league games and other sports during the summer that perhaps could happen … and IDPH is working with folks who run those games to make sure that if you can do it, they’re done safely.”

With regard to worship services and retail businesses, however, Pritzker indicated he is not backing away from the 10-person limit.

“We’re still in a phase where 10 people or fewer is the desired number. That’s what the epidemiologists are recommending and so on,” he said. “Many small stores, that is a number that is maybe less than they normally have in their store, but it’s still a reasonably good number and they can keep track of people who are coming in and out, and people who can’t fit in can certainly socially distance as they wait outside to go in.”

“With regard to churches and mosques and synagogues, I think it’s important for people to get together and worship, but again, we’ve got to follow the same rules. The whole idea here – and this isn’t something that I made up, this is something that the epidemiologists really have emphasized – that until we know whether having larger groups together and what the effect of that is, we need to watch what it’s like when we let everybody get together in groups of 10, even with social distancing.”

* * *

EMERGENCY RULE WITHDRAWN: The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday, May 20, that it plans to withdraw a controversial emergency rule that would have allowed for criminal charges against businesses that open in violation of Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.

Instead, Pritzker announced Wednesday that he will pursue legislation while the General Assembly meets in special session this week. He said that bill will call for civil penalties for violations rather than criminal sanctions.

IDPH filed the emergency rule on Friday, May 15, after a number of restaurants and other businesses around Illinois announced they would no longer comply with the mandatory closure during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rule codified that violations of Pritzker’s stay-at-home order could be enforceable under a law known as the Department of Public Health Act, which makes it a Class A misdemeanor to violate one of the agency’s orders.

That sparked immediate controversy, especially among Republican lawmakers who accused Pritzker of criminalizing business owners. Pritzker argued that it was a softer measure than other enforcement mechanisms the agency can use, such as issuing a closure order or revoking a business license, and he likened it to a traffic citation, even though Class A misdemeanors are criminal offenses that can be punishable by up to 364 days in jail.

IDPH announced its intent to withdraw the rule during a meeting of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, or JCAR, a legislative body that has oversight of state agency rulemaking

About an hour later Pritzker announced at his daily COVID-19 media briefing that Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, would be the lead sponsor of a bill being drafted that would give IDPH authority to enforce its orders through civil fines.

* * *

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: Precautions will be in place to check temperatures of entrants at the door, and lawmakers and others in attendance of this week’s legislative session will be required to socially distance and wear face coverings. An added police presence will be patrolling downtown as protests are apparently scheduled around the venues.

Speaker Michael Madigan said in a statement Tuesday, May 19, that the House will immediately vote on new rules requiring those in attendance, including lawmakers, to follow the safety measures. Some of the more conservative members of the Republican caucus have indicated they will not wear masks during the session.

“The House will take up this rule change immediately upon convening Wednesday. After the motion passes, any member in violation of the rule change will face discipline, including potentially being removed from the chamber by a vote of the House,” Madigan, a Democrat from Chicago, said in a statement distributed by his office. “This is not an action I take lightly, but when it comes to the health and safety of members, their families, staff and the communities they represent, it is the right and prudent thing to do.”

“Staff and members of the public not observing the rules will be asked to leave the premises immediately,” Madigan added.

Illinois House members received health guidelines and the legislative agenda from Madigan’s chief of staff Tuesday.

* * *

BAILEY REMOVED: The Illinois House voted Wednesday, May 20, to remove Republican state Rep. Darren Bailey, of Xenia, from session at the Bank of Springfield Center after he refused to comply with a facial-covering requirement in newly-adopted House rules.

In a bipartisan vote, the Illinois House adopted rules Wednesday that include a requirement for members, staff members and visitors to the special session to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth, if they are medically able to do so.

Democratic Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, of Hillside, made a motion to remove Bailey from the House proceedings after Bailey responded “I will not,” when he was asked to come into compliance with the face covering requirement in the newly-adopted rules. The House voted 81-27 in favor of Bailey’s removal.

* * *

COURTS PLAN REOPENING: Illinois’ 24 chief judges can decide when to reopen courthouses across the state to in-person proceedings, the state Supreme Court ordered Wednesday, May 20.

Each circuit is encouraged to continue holding remote hearings as frequently as possible, an extension of the highest court’s previous guidance. But beginning June 1 and in consultation with local health departments, courthouses may hold jury trials, lawsuit arguments and other actions in a courtroom.

The Supreme Court’s plan is independent of Gov. JB Pritzker’s regional Restore Illinois plan, and gives reopening authority to the head of Illinois’ 24 judicial circuits. Schedules in each district should be flexible, according to the order and guidance from justices, because “local conditions may change.”

“The court realizes that the health crisis is not over, but we must advance justice in a safe and organized manner,” Chief Justice Anne Burke said in a statement.

Restrictions implemented to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and “significant levels of backlogged cases” present an obstacle for “most courts for the foreseeable future,” the Supreme Court wrote in its guidance.

* * *

CONTACT TRACING: Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday, May 18, announced the launch of Illinois’ contact tracing program and defended an emergency rule filed Friday to allow for misdemeanor charges against businesses defying his stay-at-home order.

The contact-tracing effort for COVID-19 – one that is required to move the state along the governor’s “Restore Illinois” reopening plan – will begin in two pilot counties.

Pritzker said contact tracing, which was used early on in the state’s coronavirus outbreak when the number of cases was manageably small, consists of tracers interviewing people who have newly tested positive about who they had significant contact with in the past 48 hours.

Those people, often family, friends or coworkers, are then contacted and encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing for 14 days or get tested.

Pritzker called contact tracing “arguably our most sustainable tool” in further slowing new COVID-19 cases and lifting social and economic restrictions.

“This straightforward process truly does reduce the number of new infections,” the governor said during his daily briefing from his Chicago home. “And if done at scale, it can be a very effective weapon against COVID-19.”

Contact tracing will be conducted on the local level by Illinois’ 97 county and city health departments, but supported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The two pilot counties, St. Clair County, outside St. Louis, and Lake County, north of Chicago, will immediately ramp up their contact tracing capabilities for newly-discovered COVID-19 patients.

* * *

IDES DATA BREACH: The Illinois Department of Employment Security has confirmed that a new online portal that processes claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance briefly allowed public access to applicants’ personal information including Social Security numbers.

The PUA system, which went online May 11, is a federal program that provides unemployment benefits to gig workers and other independent contractors who are not normally covered by regular unemployment insurance.

The data breach was first made public Saturday, May 16, when state Rep. Terri Bryant, a Murphysboro Republican, said in a news release that she had been alerted to the issue by a constituent the previous day.

“Through a series of just two clicks, this constituent stumbled upon the personal information of thousands of unemployment applicants on the IDES website,” Bryant said. “This came up in a spreadsheet with thousands of names containing sensitive information. The information she was able to access included the name, address, Social Security number, and unemployment claimant ID number of thousands of people.”

In a statement Monday, May 18, IDES said its analysis found that one PUA claimant had “inadvertently” accessed personal data for a limited number of claimants.

“That claimant notified the department of the issue and within an hour, it was corrected to prevent any future unauthorized access,” the agency said.

* * *

GRADUATED TAX: State Republican leadership is pushing for a vote in the upcoming legislative session to remove a graduated income tax amendment question from the November general election ballot.

“Times have changed dramatically since this initiative was first put forward,” Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said Monday, May 18, in a video news conference. “But never more has our state’s economy been challenged than it will be, and is today.”

But Gov. JB Pritzker has said the revenues anticipated from the graduated income tax – estimated at more than $3.5 billion in its first full fiscal year before the COVID-19 pandemic – are now more important than ever amid uncertainty created by the spread of the virus.

The economic fallout from the pandemic and associated shutdowns has led to projected state revenues for next fiscal year plummeting by billions of dollars. Pritzker said at his news conference Monday that the tax, which would be in effect for only half of the next fiscal year, could bring in more than $1 billion in state revenues.   

While it took three-fifths of each the state House and Senate to put the amendment question on the ballot, only a majority vote in each house would be needed to remove it.

“As to the likelihood of a vote being taken or a decision being made like that, I can’t speak to it,” Pritzker said during his Monday COVID-19 briefing. “I can only say … that the GOP wants to keep people from voting on this, keep people away from the ballot box, says something about their lack of confidence in their position.”

When asked during the videoconference Monday why voters should not be allowed to decide the measure, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, named several other constitutional amendments that are backed by Republicans but have not advanced in the Legislature.

“Why won’t we allow the voters to vote on a fair map amendment? Why won’t we allow voters to vote for pension reform? Why won’t we allow for any type of constitutional protection of property tax owners? How about a constitutional amendment on ethics reform? There’s no balance in the state,” he said. “That’s why this one party has absolutely lost any type of reason or the ability to understand what is clearly at stake in Illinois government. What I just mentioned are more important to people in Illinois than to fulfill a campaign promise by the governor.”

* * *

TESTING UPDATE: Gov. JB Pritzker said Friday, May 15, that the state is focusing on expanding the number of tests performed each day – an effort he said is critical to reopening the state’s economy.

Pritzker said Illinois now has 251 sites that offer free testing, including seven drive-thru locations in Markham, Bloomington, Harwood Heights, Rockford, Aurora, Waukegan and East St. Louis. Illinois is now routinely processing more than 20,000 tests per day.

“Reaching 20,000 tests per day is a great milestone, and we should celebrate it,” Pritzker said. “It put us in a position to keep more people safe from the virus and get people back to work faster, yet there is more to come, and much more for us to do.”

Pritzker said the Bloomington site, which had been scheduled to close this week, will remain open through May 22, but that his administration is working with leaders there to find other ways of expanding testing in that community.

In addition, Pritzker said, six new testing sites have recently come online in Chicago, and four new drive-thru sites will start operations in the coming days on Chicago’s south side, and in Rolling Meadows, Peoria and Champaign.

A searchable map of those sites is available on the state’s coronavirus website.

* * *

BAILEY LAWSUIT: The attorney general’s office has moved a state representative’s lawsuit challenging Gov. JB Pritzker’s use of emergency powers to federal court because it says his case alleges violations of federal rights.

Hours before the state was due to respond to Rep. Darren Bailey’s request for Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney to rule on his case, the attorney general’s office changed the venue with a filing Thursday, May 21. A hearing on the request from Bailey, R-Xenia, was scheduled for Friday, May 22.

Thomas Verticchio, senior attorney general, wrote in the office’s notice that Bailey alleged his rights to religion, due process, interstate travel and “a Republican form of government” were infringed by Pritzker’s stay-at-home orders and disaster proclamations. Those rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and thus issues to be raised in federal court.

“The law gives a defendant the right to remove a case to federal court when a plaintiff files a complaint in state court alleging a violation of rights that are enshrined (in) the U.S. Constitution, and we have done so in several other cases challenging the governor’s executive orders,” an office spokesperson wrote in a statement. “Because Mr. Bailey’s amended complaint alleges violations of his federal constitutional rights, we removed his case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.”

Thomas DeVore, one of Bailey’s attorneys, said the state’s jurisdiction change amounts to a “delay tactic.” His colleague, Steven Wallace, wrote it was an effort to “dodge what [Pritzker] clearly anticipated would be an adverse decision in the circuit court.”

A federal judge can decline the case, which would send it back to Clay County and McHaney’s courtroom.

* * *

FLOODING PREPARATION: Gov. JB Pritzker has activated nearly 60 National Guard soldiers to help communities along the Illinois River prepare for forecasted floods.

Pritzker on Thursday, May 21, issued disaster proclamations for four rural counties along the Illinois River: Grundy, Pike, Scott and Morgan. Grundy County is southwest of Chicago, while the other three counties are in west-central Illinois.

Soldiers will help with sandbagging operations in those communities as the National Weather Service forecasts major flooding over the next several days along parts of the Illinois River, as well as minor to moderate flooding along nine other rivers.

For example, the NWS expects the Illinois River to reach major flood stage Saturday, May 23, in the small Morgan County town of Meredosia, continuing to rise through the middle of next week.

The latest deployment of National Guard personnel comes as hundreds of soldiers have been deployed in various capacities to assist Illinois’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing public health crisis will also change how the state responds to disasters.

All newly-activated soldiers will be tested for COVID-19 before they deploy to local communities and they will be given personal protective equipment, or PPE, to use when they cannot socially distance. Soldiers will also be housed within the communities they are working.

* * *

ELECTIONS LAWSUIT: Third-party candidates will have a little less extra time to get petition signatures this election cycle after a federal judge amended her earlier order last week.

Rebecca Pallmeyer, chief judge of the Northern District Federal Court, in April had extended the deadline for third-party candidates to get the required signatures to be on the Nov. 3 ballot from June 22 to Aug. 7. She also cut the number of signatures required by 90 percent.

But two weeks later, the Illinois State Board of Elections asked Pallmeyer to make the deadline earlier to give election officials enough time to have ballots ready.

On Friday, May 15, Pallmeyer reset the deadline to July 20. The elections board had asked it to be moved back to July 6. The previous order’s allowances of fewer signatures and collecting signatures electronically remain in place.

The Illinois Libertarian and Green parties filed suit initially to have requirements loosened because, they said, Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home and social distancing restrictions made meeting ballot eligibility requirements “practically impossible.”


Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit news service operated by the Illinois Press Foundation that provides coverage of state government to newspapers throughout Illinois. The mission of Capitol News Illinois is to provide credible and unbiased coverage of state government to the more than 400 daily and weekly newspapers that are members of the Illinois Press Association.



May 21, 2020 at 09:31PM

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