Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Connecting the dots between our economy, government and people —

Top Illinois Stories

Gov’s Toilet Scam Contractor Got $9 Million Coronavirus Contract – Patch

"Is it just a coincidence the contractor involved in Pritzker's private construction projects got coronavirus contracts?"

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Illinois church becomes 2nd congregation to file emergency request with Supreme Court over coronavirus orders – FOX News

The case will be handled by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, based on geography, and he has asked the opposing state officials to respond by Thursday evening, just as Justice Elena Kagan asked of the California church that filed an emergency request on Tuesday.

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Americans Don’t Get Ruled – Real Clear Politics

Following is an excerpt from Judge McHaney's recent ruling in the case of Mainer vs. Pritzker, a lawsuit brought by an Illinois small business owner against the Governor's stay-at-home order.

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Gov. JB Pritzker Appeals After Judge Grants Stay-At-Home Exemption To Clay County Resident, Tanning Salon – CBS2 (Chicago)

“Besides being dangerous, this conclusion is flawed as a matter of law, conflicts with three recent decisions upholding the Governor’s authority against nearly identical challenges, and is belied by the longstanding practice of numerous governors,” the attorney general’s office wrote.

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Illinois Dems Bank on a Congressional Bailout – Washington Free Beacon

The state's 2021 budget, now headed to Gov. J. B. Pritzker's (D.) desk, is written with the expectation that the $3.5 billion the state received under the CARES Act will be freed up for general spending. That would require Congress to change limitations on those funds, which currently can only be spent on expenses directly related to coronavirus—not general fiscal costs.

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More Highlighted Illinois Stories

Worker at Springfield Arena Where Illinois Legislative Session Held Tests Positive for Coronavirus – NBC5 (Chicago)

The memo from House Speaker Michael Madigan’s chief of staff encourages legislators and staffers to be tested for coronavirus and to continue to monitor their health in the coming days. All participants in the legislative session had already been asked to self-isolate for 14 days after the conclusion of the proceedings.

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Unemployment mess leads lawmaker to push for Pritzker’s recall – Illinois Policy

The process to recall a governor in Illinois is a multi-step process. First, an affidavit must be signed by at least 20 state House Representatives and 10 state Senators – with no more than half in each chamber belonging to a single political party. Then, the affidavit would be filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

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As non-COVID-19 patients return to Chicago-area emergency rooms, doctors see skyrocketing blood pressure and other side effects of delays in care. ‘It’s terrible, and it’s frightening.’ – Chicago Tribune

Some of the affected patients avoided hospitals or doctors’ offices due to fears of getting COVID-19; others had trouble getting treatment due to job loss, health insurance loss or disruptions in the health care system, doctors said.

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Comptroller addresses lawmaker pay raise rumors – ABC20 (Springfield)

Mendoza said, “The General Assembly appropriated no money for legislative COLAs, so lawmakers will be paid the same amount as last year."

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Opinion: State GOP insurgents organize to challenge Democrats’ majorities – Champaign News-Gazette

Jim Dey: "Wilhour announced the formation of his group May 21, identifying 20 of the 44 House Republicans as members. But four members...dropped out after Republican Leader Jim Durkin expressed concerns about a new caucus within his caucus."

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Commentary: The link between booze and the state budget – Journal Standard (Freeport)

"Just as there is a state law prohibiting booze in the statehouse, there is a provision in the state constitution requiring a balanced budget. Admittedly, it is vaguely written and lacks any enforcement provision. But the rule is still there. And widely ignored."

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Commentary: Illinois’ bloated budget needs a crash diet … again – Chicago Tribune

From former state representative and current candidate for Congress Jeanne Ives: "True in 2013 when I wrote it, still true today: 'There are no quick fixes, diet pills or miracle creams to solve the problem. Major reform, like weight loss, requires commitment, hard work and true lifestyle changes.'"

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Real estate market in Illinois gaining steam despite pandemic – Center Square

“People that were qualified to buy and qualified to refinance were pushed to go ahead and act because when is the last time you saw a 30-year fixed rate at 3 percent or less?” one loan officer said.

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In Springfield, officials trade cease-and-desist letters over reopening plans – Center Square

“We are not getting the backing of the public health department in regards with enforcement, that’s a big issue,” Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder said Tuesday. “When you have a restaurant open up … that’s why we took action. We all know this is a health pandemic. The police department have their hands full especially when they don’t have the backing of the health department that they should get.”

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4 Things To Know About How Illinois’ New Budget Will Impact Education – WBEZ (Chicago

Administrators have to plan in case buildings remain closed in the fall, which means additional costs to improve remote learning. But they’re also planning out safety measures if buildings do reopen. “Do we need to do plexiglass around our desks?” asked ISBE Vice Chair Donna Leak at last week’s board meeting. “Do we need to budget for partitions to turn multi-purpose spaces into classroom spaces, so we can actually socially distance in an in-person learning environment?”

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Illinois Is 1 Of Only 2 States Meeting Trump’s Guidelines For Reopening Amid Coronavirus – Block Club Chicago

The guidelines are just suggestions, though, and states don’t have to meet them to start reopening — in fact, many states have already started reopening despite not meeting the criteria. There have been mixed results as states reopen: Some that flung open the doors, like Wisconsin, are now seeing an increase in confirmed coronavirus cases.

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The Illinois Politician – Illinois Policy

The Illinois Politician

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Illinois DMVs to begin reopening June 1 – WGNTV (Chicago)

All facilities across the state will only be serving new drivers, people with expired IDs and vehicle transactions until July 31.

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NBC 5 Responds: Spike in Fraud Involving Unemployment Benefits Amid Pandemic – NBC5 (Chicago)

IDES says fraud is part of all employment of systems and recognizes it can be particularly egregious during trying times. Asked how many fraud claims have been filed and investigated in Illinois, a spokesperson said that information isn’t readily available, but says it is focused on increased productivity, processing claims, and paying benefits as quickly as possible.

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US Attorney, Illinois AG Spar On Court Venue Changes In Bailey Lawsuit – NPR Illinois

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State Bankruptcy and Bailout Reactions: More Reactions – Stump

An actuary's perspective.

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Only Illinois has met the federal government’s criteria for reopening – American Independent

Comment: The White House/CDC guidelines this article references are widely ignored because they are illogical on their face for reasons we wrote here.

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Illinois passes budget that hinges on borrowing through Fed program – The Bond Buyer

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‘We Seem To Have Come Off The Peak’: Pritzker – WTTW (Chicago)

All four regions of Illinois remain set to move into the third phase of the state’s reopening plan on Friday, which will allow a number of businesses to reopen and gatherings of up to 10 people, Pritzker said.

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How accurate is Illinois’ count of deaths caused by coronavirus? We asked the experts – WGNTV (Chicago)

“This is kind of like the fog of war. It’s really hard to tell what’s happening in the middle of a pandemic,” said Dr. Emily Landon of University of Chicago Medicine.

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Hospitals in Illinois to get $75 million pandemic lifeline – Center Square

“The state has been able to obtain additional federal funding for the Medicaid program, which they are sending to hospitals," said Danny Chun, a spokesman for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. Even before the coronavirus, more than 40% of Illinois hospitals were operating in the red or struggling to break even.

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Downstate business group sues Pritzker over stay-at-home order – Center Square

"It should not escape this court that the Madison County Board of Health, in wielding its supreme authority over business closures for public health risks, almost unanimously passed a comprehensives plan to reopen businesses under its jurisdiction," the filing by the Edwardsville-Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce said.

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Editorial: Is this news anymore? Illinois lawmakers approve out-of-balance, gimmicky budget – Chicago Tribune

"Illinois lawmakers kissed the ring of organized labor repeatedly during their special session, arguing that state workers — at this time of great need — should not be touched, as if every employee in every agency is a front-line worker dealing with a health crisis, which is preposterous."

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Biker Bar Opens For Memorial Day Weekend Bash In Violation Of Gov. JB Pritzker’s Stay-At-Home Order – CBS2 (Chicago)

Owner Kevin Promenschenkel is suing the governor over the stay-at-home order, and many bikers said they were enjoying the party in part to support Poopy’s cause and in part to stick it to the governor.

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Editorial: Data breach, backups continue to plague unemployment agency. Fix this, Gov. Pritzker. – Chicago Tribune

"It’s true that this pandemic has created challenges no one could have anticipated. But it’s been more than nine weeks since Pritzker’s first stay-at-home order came into force March 21. That’s ample time to ensure unemployment benefits applicants get their questions promptly answered and their applications processed when they turn to the IDES."

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Many Are Earning More In Unemployment, Making Return To Work Hard – NPR Illinois

"If you're a janitor and you work at a hospital, you're facing increased risk at your job and likely have not received a pay raise," says economist Peter Ganong. "But if you're a janitor and you work at a school that's shut down, then you actually get a 50% pay raise from claiming unemployment benefits."

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Republican lawmaker launches effort to recall Gov. Pritzker – Center Square

State Rep. Allen Skillicorn of the 66th district said the governor’s inaction to fix the state’s unemployment claims website has gone on long enough. The recall affidavit must be signed by at least 20 House members and 10 senators. Once the minimum number of signatures is obtained, the affidavit would then be filed with the State Board of Elections.

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Not packing the pews: Rockford churches prepare to reopen – Rockford Register Star

“We’d like to open back to worship but it’s a little difficult to open with only 10 people because our congregation is so large,” said Muslim Association of Greater Rockford spokeswoman Sameena Zahurullah, part of a working group appointed by Mayor Tom McNamara to develop guidelines for the gradual reopening of houses of worship as the COVID-19 threat diminishes.

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Lawmakers punt on ethics reform, high property taxes, governor’s pandemic authority during truncated spring session – Center Square

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said there was no mention of reforming the state’s second-highest in the nation property taxes or addressing the cloud of corruption or the red light camera scandal, things that were top of mind just three months ago. The General Assembly is scheduled back after the November election.

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The CDC’s New ‘Best Estimate’ Implies a COVID-19 Infection Fatality Rate Below 0.3% – Reason

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Top Chicago Area Stories

Cook County ME’s caseload for 2020 surpasses total for 2019 – ABC7 (Chicago)

Preckwinkle noted homicides and overdoses have not declined as it deals with more than 3,700 deaths from COVID-19.

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‘Folks Are In Limbo’: Cook County Court Shutdown Could Stretch Into July – WBEZ (Chicago)

Chief Judge Timothy Evans has to "balance the rights of defendants with the realities of the county court system, where social distancing is practically impossible during normal operations. Added to that is the difficult task of assembling a jury during a time when many people are avoiding public gatherings altogether."

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot releases guidelines for phase 3 of city’s reopening plan – Chicago Tribune

Not included are guidelines for reopening sporting events, bars, religious services, outdoor performances, summer programs and youth activities, the lakefront and museums. Those standards “will be available later in phase three when those entities are predicted to begin reopening,” according to the release.

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle vetoes ‘extraordinarily bad’ plan to share coronavirus-positive addresses with first responders, a first in her tenure – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board members narrowly approved the resolution, which only applies to suburban Cook County, last week following a heated discussion about the effects of the measure on black and Latino communities.

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More Highlighted Chicago Area Stories

Around 60 percent of CPS students logged into e-learning sites more than twice a week, data shows – WGNTV (Chicago)

In an official statement announcing the release of the data, CPS acknowledges the rate of participation using the Google tools is lower than typical attendance, and the rate declines when looking at engagement over multiple days. The study also found racial disparities in the use of digital tools among African-American students.

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Plans Call for 130K Chicago Employees to Head Back to Work in Early June – WTTW (Chicago)

Approximately 300,000 Chicagoans have been unable to work since the pandemic hit, officials said.

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Chicago restaurants test COVID-19 surcharges as costs mount, but customer backlash forces one to retreat – Chicago Tribune

“These fees are a necessary step during a time when unanticipated costs have jeopardized the survival of our business,” Lettuce Entertain You president R.J. Melman said in an emailed statement. Melman said the surcharge helps cover the expenses like personal protective equipment for employees and “absorbing the greatest increase in food pricing since 1974.”

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Suburban Airbnb pivots to long-term renting after coronavirus hit – Medill Reports

According to AirDNA LLC, a market-research firm that analyzes Airbnb bookings, Airbnb revenues in March doubled year-over-year in Michigan City, Indiana, and tripled in Waukegan, Illinois, while Chicago shrank 11%.

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Preckwinkle defends veto of plan to share COVID-19 case addresses with first responders – WGNTV (Chicago)

“One could imagine that releasing this kind of information to first responders could cause a significant degree of concern among those communities and make them suspicious or fearful of sharing the honest information we need to perform our contact tracing work,” said Dr. Kiran Joshi, Cook County Senior Medical Officer.

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Lakeview Rallies To Save Businesses After 75 Percent Say They’ll Fail By July – Block Club Chicago

The Lakeview business survey also found:77 percent of business owners are tapping savings and reserves, nearly 2/3 are relying on credit, and 19 percent are dipping into personal retirement accounts. The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce includes neighborhood businesses west of Racine Avenue that collectively employ more than 8,000 people.

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Judge: Illinois federal courts will look ‘quite different’ – WGNTV (Chicago)

Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said emergency judges have handled over 500 motions since the pandemic started in Illinois. Since March 18, attorneys have filed more than 7,200 motions, judges have entered 34,200 orders and more than 1,350 new civil cases have been filed, she said.

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U.S. economy suffered biggest fall in more than 50 years, Chicago Fed says – CBS News

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Radiologists group pulls November meeting — and 50,000 attendees — from Chicago – Chicago Tribune

Between July and December, McCormick Place had been scheduled to host 67 events with an expected attendance of 781,168 people, generating almost $923 million in economic impact, including spending on food and entertainment.

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4 Chicago hospitals scrap tentative $1.1B merger plan – AP Chicago

The hospitals asked the Legislature for $110 million for fiscal year 2021 and a total of $520 million over five years to offset losses as they created the system and built a hospital. Instead, the legislation created an annual pool of $150 million for hospitals across the state for fiscal years 2021 through 2023. The money won’t be distributed until lawmakers create criteria for providing funds.

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Chicago CBP Officers Seize 28,000 Prohibited Coronavirus Treatment Capsules – NBC5 (Chicago)

Officials confiscated three parcels of Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang, a Chinese medication falsely advertising to treat the coronavirus. The domestic cost of the medication equates to $28,797.

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The Plans For A New High School For Chinatown Get A $50 Million Boost – WBEZ (Chicago)

The state legislature included $50 million in the state capital budget. Recent Chicago public high schools have cost between $75 and $130 million - and building in the area could be extra costly given that the school district does not own land for the school and the real estate prices are high near downtown.

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Chicago Police Only Arrested People For Social Distancing Violations On The South And West Sides, Data Shows – Block Club Chicago

“We’ve got several issues outside of just the stay at home order,” a West Side alderman said. “Officers have been dispersing locations that have frequent narcotics sales. If you look at other calls for service in those same areas, you’ll see a correlation.”

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Metra ridership down 97% from COVID-19 – Illinois Policy

The Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees CTA, Pace and Metra, anticipates losing $1 billion this year. With revenue dropping to almost nothing in recent weeks and anticipated declines going forward, Metra and Chicago’s other mass transit systems face difficult decisions to cut costs or find new ways to pay the bills.

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Chicago may soon allow in-law flats, coach houses for first time since 1957 – Illinois Policy

"Chicago’s complicated zoning laws will continue to stifle the housing market and aggravate population declines, but legislation such as the accessory dwelling unit ordinance can help reverse those trends."

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49 Shot, 10 Killed in ‘Alarming’ Memorial Day Weekend Violence – WTTW (Chicago)

Brown said his department recovered 216 guns over the weekend, an increase of 68 over the same weekend last year, including several equipped with extended magazines. Police made a total of 86 arrests for gun offenses. Warm temperatures and restless residents also headed outdoors in droves over the weekend, many in defiance of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, leading to police issuing 300 group dispersal each day, according to Brown.

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Local commercial property sales plunge in April – Crain’s

The 62 percent drop reflects a big pricing disconnect between buyers and sellers that isn't likely to be resolved anytime soon.

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CPD Supt.: Stay-at-home order contributed to most violent Memorial Day weekend since 2015 – Chicago Sun-Times

Lightfoot emphatically denied that a crackdown on overtime pay resulted in 1,000 fewer police officers on the street, and blamed disgruntled cops for spreading that rumor. Still, she said she had told Brown that “this was a fail. Whatever the strategy was, it didn’t work. ... This weekend’s violence was out of control.”

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Chicago Hiring 600 Contact Tracers To Help Stop The Spread Of Coronavirus — And Whatever Health Crisis Comes Next – Block Club Chicago

On Tuesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady announced $56 million in funding to train and certify a 600-person workforce to support contact tracing. The city is now accepting requests for proposals from organizations to lead this massive contact tracing effort.

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Civil Rights Group Launches Court Watching Program To Monitor Unaffordable Bonds – Block Club Chicago

The number of those jailed has dropped about 25 percent in recent months thanks to emergency bond review hearings that have allowed some bail-eligible detainees to be released. But judges have been ordering many detainees to use electronic monitoring devices as a condition for release at the emergency hearings.

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Police Raid Chicago Church, Beating on Door to Demand They Empty the Building – PJ Media

"Armed police showing up at a church, pounding on the door to gain entrance, is not the way the American government deals with American churches. It’s not the way a country that guarantees freedom of worship enforces the law."

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Chicago Police Say 2 in Custody After Viral Video Shows Break-up of Gathering in Englewood – NBC5 (Chicago)

“The Chicago Police Department strives to ensure any enforcement of the statewide stay-at-home order is universal regardless of neighborhood, community or district,” the department said in a statement. Police say shots were fired, but no one was hit.

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DePaul, Northwestern announce plans for students’ gradual return to campus – WGNTV (Chicago)

At DePaul, most courses will continue to be taught online; The school also announced plans to reduce density in its residence halls and academic buildings. Northwestern will see some in-classroom instruction in the late summer, before welcoming all students back to class in the fall.

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Officials see signs COVID-19 is contained at Cook County Jail, while experts caution measures need to remain in place – Chicago Tribune

The reported turnaround has been challenged by a group of civil rights attorneys who have alleged the opposite in a federal court filing, saying jail officials failed to adequately respond to protect those in custody as the crisis overtook the sprawling, Southwest Side complex. The suit will likely play out over some time.

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Chicago’s new normal: When will tourists come back? – Chicago Sun-Times

Tourists, like customers of any business in the post-pandemic world, will need to feel confident that the places they visit are run by people who are competent to keep them safe. Public attractions will need to feel clean and not cramped. Hotels will need to advertise sanitation.

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You Said It: Chicago’s North Shore Stands Together Through the Challenges of the Pandemic – Better

"We note that powerful leaders are standing for women, small businesses and all of us in Illinois: the offices of Lieutenant Governor, Chicago Mayor, Cook County Executive, Treasurer, and Clerk, the IL Department of Public Health Director, and IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity are all currently led by women who support the lives of Illinoisans through cautious and caring leadership during the pandemic."

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Illinoisans trek to Wisconsin over Memorial Day weekend: “There’s no freedom” in Illinois – FOX32 (Chicago)

Indeed, it looked like rush hour on the Dan Ryan in downtown Lake Geneva. “Everyone in Illinois is leaving. We have to leave because we can’t stand it anymore. Wisconsin, it’s free, open. We were here yesterday too because we can’t do anything in our state,” said Robin Anderson.

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Chicago Police Disperse Grant Park Protest Against Illinois’ Stay-at-Home Order – NBC5 (Chicago)

“While we respect First Amendment rights, this gathering posed an unacceptable health risk and was dispersed,” Lightfoot said. “No matter where in the city you live, no one is exempt from Gov. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.”

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How Chicago-Area VA Hospitals Have Pivoted to Treat COVID-19 – WTTW (Chicago)

Much non-COVID-19 outpatient treatment has been handled through telehealth. However, mental health patients are not completely satisfied. “We’ve had feedback from some of our patients involved in groups that they don’t connect as well as other members of their group when they’re not in person, so that has been a challenge,” one doctor said.

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Commentary: Suburbs poised to begin outdoor dining before city: Social distancing on Gov. Pritzker’s menu – Chicago Sun-Times

A new streetscape will be emerging, as suburbs are willing to let restaurants place tables on public land near their eateries. That means closing roads or using parks or public plazas or allowing restaurants to set up tables on parking spaces. Chicago has a vexing parking meter problem which vastly complicates letting city restaurants put tables on many city streets.

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Wirepoints Commentary and Research

Illinois’ COVID-19 crisis: Daily data update for May 28th, 2020 – Wirepoints

Daily COVID-19 data update for May 28th.

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Questions Illinois Reporters Should Ask Governor Pritzker and Dr. Ezike – Wirepoints

And they need to start demanding answers.

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No cuts, record spending, and hoping for a bailout. Eight things you need to know about Illinois’ 2021 budget. – Wirepoints

The Illinois General Assembly has finally passed an emergency budget for 2021  Tax revenues have taken a severe hit due to the impact of the shutdown in response to COVID-19, yet that hasn’t stopped lawmakers’ spending priorities. The state will spend a record $42.9 billion while bringing in just $36.8 billion. 

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Never mind the courts, says Pritzker. Only his views of the ‘science and data’ matter. – Wirepoints

Pritzker is now out of touch -- oblivious to the firestorm surrounding his order, disdainful of the rule of law and confident he can dismiss all critics as political grandstanders and much worse.

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Pritzker doubles down on linking critics and Republicans to Nazism, anti-Semetism or whatever – Quicktake

Everybody should back off on extreme comparisons.

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Chicago squeezing every dime out of beleaguered restaurants – Quicktake

Cough up sales taxes on any surcharges.

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More Wirepoints Original Stories

Big raises for Chicago Teachers Union, state’s AFSCME shows where federal aid to Illinois will end up – Wirepoints

Public payrolls are getting slashed around the country to keep government more affordable for the devastated private sector, but not in Illinois. Quite the opposite.  Pritzker and Lightfoot are doling out raises while saying Illinois’ financial problems can’t be solved without help from the federal government.

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COVID-19 Appears to Have Peaked and be Declining in Illinois – For Now – Quicktake

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Illinois has dropped below 4,000 and is now lower than April 9.

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Our Rebuttal to BGA’s David Greising’s Defense of Pritzker’s Emergency Order – Wirepoints

A more classic straw man case could barely be made, nor a more shallow treatment of the opposition to Governor JB Pritzkers emergency COVID-19 order.

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Illinois No.1: The Harshest Cornoavirus Lockdown Restrictions in America – WalletHub – Quicktake

Illinois is worst on the list, ranking 51st among states and DC for least restrictive.

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COVID-19 spreads to half of all Chicagoland retirement homes. How did this happen? – Wirepoints

When this crisis is finally over, Illinoisans will look back at the failure to protect the vulnerable residents of retirement homes as one of the worst tragedies of the COVID-19 crisis. The fact that cases and deaths have been so widespread means there was a systemic failure in protecting the elderly.

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“People are waking up. Overwhelmingly people are indignant about this emergency rule.” – Mark Glennon with Steve Cortes

“Something is happening here. People are waking up. Overwhelmingly people are indignant about this emergency rule. People are starting to understand the danger of the precedent that would be set here if indefinite powers, like Gov. Pritzker claims he has, are allowed to stand.”

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Trading at junk levels: Illinois borrowing costs 5 times higher than AAA-rated states – Wirepoints

To see how punitive borrowing has become for Illinois, look at the interest rates the state is paying on its 10-year bonds. At 5.65 percent, Illinois’ rate is now five times higher than the 1.13 percent rate it costs AAA-rated states to borrow.

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Wirepoints Original Stories

Illinois’ COVID-19 crisis: Daily data update for May 28th, 2020 – Wirepoints

Daily COVID-19 data update for May 28th.

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Questions Illinois Reporters Should Ask Governor Pritzker and Dr. Ezike – Wirepoints

And they need to start demanding answers.

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No cuts, record spending, and hoping for a bailout. Eight things you need to know about Illinois’ 2021 budget. – Wirepoints

The Illinois General Assembly has finally passed an emergency budget for 2021  Tax revenues have taken a severe hit due to the impact of the shutdown in response to COVID-19, yet that hasn’t stopped lawmakers’ spending priorities. The state will spend a record $42.9 billion while bringing in just $36.8 billion. 

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Top Illinois Stories

Gov’s Toilet Scam Contractor Got $9 Million Coronavirus Contract – Patch

"Is it just a coincidence the contractor involved in Pritzker's private construction projects got coronavirus contracts?"

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Illinois church becomes 2nd congregation to file emergency request with Supreme Court over coronavirus orders – FOX News

The case will be handled by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, based on geography, and he has asked the opposing state officials to respond by Thursday evening, just as Justice Elena Kagan asked of the California church that filed an emergency request on Tuesday.

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Americans Don’t Get Ruled – Real Clear Politics

Following is an excerpt from Judge McHaney's recent ruling in the case of Mainer vs. Pritzker, a lawsuit brought by an Illinois small business owner against the Governor's stay-at-home order.

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Gov. JB Pritzker Appeals After Judge Grants Stay-At-Home Exemption To Clay County Resident, Tanning Salon – CBS2 (Chicago)

“Besides being dangerous, this conclusion is flawed as a matter of law, conflicts with three recent decisions upholding the Governor’s authority against nearly identical challenges, and is belied by the longstanding practice of numerous governors,” the attorney general’s office wrote.

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Illinois Dems Bank on a Congressional Bailout – Washington Free Beacon

The state's 2021 budget, now headed to Gov. J. B. Pritzker's (D.) desk, is written with the expectation that the $3.5 billion the state received under the CARES Act will be freed up for general spending. That would require Congress to change limitations on those funds, which currently can only be spent on expenses directly related to coronavirus—not general fiscal costs.

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Other Illinois News

Worker at Springfield Arena Where Illinois Legislative Session Held Tests Positive for Coronavirus – NBC5 (Chicago)

The memo from House Speaker Michael Madigan’s chief of staff encourages legislators and staffers to be tested for coronavirus and to continue to monitor their health in the coming days. All participants in the legislative session had already been asked to self-isolate for 14 days after the conclusion of the proceedings.

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Unemployment mess leads lawmaker to push for Pritzker’s recall – Illinois Policy

The process to recall a governor in Illinois is a multi-step process. First, an affidavit must be signed by at least 20 state House Representatives and 10 state Senators – with no more than half in each chamber belonging to a single political party. Then, the affidavit would be filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

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As non-COVID-19 patients return to Chicago-area emergency rooms, doctors see skyrocketing blood pressure and other side effects of delays in care. ‘It’s terrible, and it’s frightening.’ – Chicago Tribune

Some of the affected patients avoided hospitals or doctors’ offices due to fears of getting COVID-19; others had trouble getting treatment due to job loss, health insurance loss or disruptions in the health care system, doctors said.

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Comptroller addresses lawmaker pay raise rumors – ABC20 (Springfield)

Mendoza said, “The General Assembly appropriated no money for legislative COLAs, so lawmakers will be paid the same amount as last year."

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Opinion: State GOP insurgents organize to challenge Democrats’ majorities – Champaign News-Gazette

Jim Dey: "Wilhour announced the formation of his group May 21, identifying 20 of the 44 House Republicans as members. But four members...dropped out after Republican Leader Jim Durkin expressed concerns about a new caucus within his caucus."

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Top Chicago Stories

Cook County ME’s caseload for 2020 surpasses total for 2019 – ABC7 (Chicago)

Preckwinkle noted homicides and overdoses have not declined as it deals with more than 3,700 deaths from COVID-19.

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‘Folks Are In Limbo’: Cook County Court Shutdown Could Stretch Into July – WBEZ (Chicago)

Chief Judge Timothy Evans has to "balance the rights of defendants with the realities of the county court system, where social distancing is practically impossible during normal operations. Added to that is the difficult task of assembling a jury during a time when many people are avoiding public gatherings altogether."

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot releases guidelines for phase 3 of city’s reopening plan – Chicago Tribune

Not included are guidelines for reopening sporting events, bars, religious services, outdoor performances, summer programs and youth activities, the lakefront and museums. Those standards “will be available later in phase three when those entities are predicted to begin reopening,” according to the release.

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle vetoes ‘extraordinarily bad’ plan to share coronavirus-positive addresses with first responders, a first in her tenure – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board members narrowly approved the resolution, which only applies to suburban Cook County, last week following a heated discussion about the effects of the measure on black and Latino communities.

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Other Chicago News

Around 60 percent of CPS students logged into e-learning sites more than twice a week, data shows – WGNTV (Chicago)

In an official statement announcing the release of the data, CPS acknowledges the rate of participation using the Google tools is lower than typical attendance, and the rate declines when looking at engagement over multiple days. The study also found racial disparities in the use of digital tools among African-American students.

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Plans Call for 130K Chicago Employees to Head Back to Work in Early June – WTTW (Chicago)

Approximately 300,000 Chicagoans have been unable to work since the pandemic hit, officials said.

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Chicago restaurants test COVID-19 surcharges as costs mount, but customer backlash forces one to retreat – Chicago Tribune

“These fees are a necessary step during a time when unanticipated costs have jeopardized the survival of our business,” Lettuce Entertain You president R.J. Melman said in an emailed statement. Melman said the surcharge helps cover the expenses like personal protective equipment for employees and “absorbing the greatest increase in food pricing since 1974.”

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Suburban Airbnb pivots to long-term renting after coronavirus hit – Medill Reports

According to AirDNA LLC, a market-research firm that analyzes Airbnb bookings, Airbnb revenues in March doubled year-over-year in Michigan City, Indiana, and tripled in Waukegan, Illinois, while Chicago shrank 11%.

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Preckwinkle defends veto of plan to share COVID-19 case addresses with first responders – WGNTV (Chicago)

“One could imagine that releasing this kind of information to first responders could cause a significant degree of concern among those communities and make them suspicious or fearful of sharing the honest information we need to perform our contact tracing work,” said Dr. Kiran Joshi, Cook County Senior Medical Officer.

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