June 21, 2024 Update


State Fair Master Plan: The Illinois Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, released a new master plan for the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The plan focuses on maintaining the core functions of the Fairgrounds while increasing its year-round events, attendance, and revenue generation.

Proposed improvements to the Fairgrounds include the creation of a “Town Square” south of the Midway to improve the aesthetics and navigability of the grounds, the development of an onsite hotel property, and expanded staffing to include dedicated sales and marketing functions.

West Nile Virus: Illinois is now reporting the presence of West Nile Virus in 13 counties, including Champaign, Cook, Douglas, Fulton, Kane, Hancock, LaSalle, Morgan, Washington, Whiteside, Williamson, Winnebago, and Woodford. The first mosquito batches this year were found in mid-May, about two weeks earlier than in a typical year. No human cases have been reported at this time.

Flood Damaged Property Buy Out:  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources  – through IDNR’s Flood Hazard Mitigation Program – will provide nearly $2.6 million to the City of East St. Louis to buy out 39 properties that have experienced repeated flooding and flood damage. The funds will also provide homeowners who resided in the flooded structures up to $22,500 in additional funds to purchase a home. Read more here.


The Illinois General Assembly will reconvene for the Fall Veto Session on November 12-14 and November 19-21. 


US Supreme Court Ruling on Bump Stocks: On Friday, the US Supreme Court struck down the federal ruling on “bump stocks” and other devices that increase the firing power of semiautomatic weapons. The Court, in its 6-3 ruling, noted that the ATF exceeded its authority in issuing a rule that classifies bump stocks as machine guns. Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office responded to the decision saying it does not impact Illinois’ ban which was included in the assault weapons ban passed in 2023. That Illinois law is the subject of a challenge pending before the US Supreme Court. The Court is expected to decide if it will take up the challenge to the Illinois law in the coming days. Read more here.

African Descent-Citizens Reparations Commission: The State of Illinois African Descent-Citizens Reparations Commission will hold the first of a series of public hearings to discuss reparatory actions for Black Americans in Illinois who are descendants of American Chattel Slavery. This initial hearing will take place in Chicago on Saturday, July 13th at Kennedy-King College and will feature speakers who will present the intergenerational impact of enslavement, racial terror, political disenfranchisement, and ongoing racial discrimination. The ADCRC is committed to gathering diverse perspectives from the public to shape recommendations for tangible actions toward justice and restitution. Read more here.

Mayor Johnson Creates Reparations Task Force: Chicago Mayor Brand Johnson issued Executive Order 2024-1 which will establish a Task Force to support the strategy, implementation, and engagement of a Chicago Black Reparations Agenda. In partnership with the City of Chicago and Aldermanic Black Caucus, the Task Force will: 

·        Create a City of Chicago definition and framework for reparations. 

·        Develop educational tools to build capacity within the City of Chicago and the public for reparations.  

·        Identify core issue areas for redress and reparative action – for example, housing, economic development, health, education, community safety, mass incarceration and over-policing, and more. 

·        Conduct a comprehensive study and examination of all policies that have harmed Black Chicagoans from the slavery era to the present day. 

·        Hold public hearings and a broader community engagement strategy to gather testimonials and personal narratives from Black people with lived experiences of their harm. 

·        Make a series of recommendations that will serve as appropriate remedies and restitution for past injustices and present harm consistent with international standards. 

·        Recommend appropriate ways to educate the Chicago public on the report. 

·        Identify connections to existing City of Chicago reparative policies and programs. 

Kirk Dillard Reappointed to Lead RTA: The Regional Transportation Authority Board of Directors voted to name current RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard to a third five-year term. Dillard has served as the chairman of the RTA Board of Directors since June 2014.

Emergency Supplemental Victims Fund: The City of Chicago will expand a pilot program that funds basic needs for victims of gun violence and their families. Under the expansion, the Emergency Supplemental Victims Fund will receive $10 million over three years and expand from 5 to 15 communities. The program provides  $1,000 for basic needs such as medical expenses, child care, and groceries; $1,000 for relocation services to move to a safer place; and $1,500 for funeral and burial expenses. Read more here.