COVID-19 Update: On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,953 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 28 additional deaths. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 255,643 cases, including 8,242 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity from September 3rd – September 9th is down to 3.8%. Within the past 24 hours, labs have reported 48,982 test results. As of Wednesday night, 1,609 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 346 patients were in the ICU and 141 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
As of September 4th, 29 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for COVID-19. A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase. Those counties are – Boone, Bureau, Clinton, Coles, Cumberland, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Greene, Henry, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Lake, Lawrence, Madison, McLean, Monroe, Pulaski, Randolph, Rock Island, Shelby, Stark, St. Clair, Union, Wabash, Warren, Williamson, Will.
Some common sources for the increase in cases include college parties, weddings, large gatherings, bars and clubs, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, travel to neighboring states, and spread among members of the same household who are not isolating at home. Cases connected to schools are also beginning to be reported and general community spread is also increasing.
Social Equity Applicants: The Illinois Black and Latino Caucuses are calling on Governor Pritzker to suspend the lottery to award 75 new marijuana dispensary licenses to social equity applicants. Last week, IDFPR announced 21 applicants would move forward in the lottery process to award 75 new social equity dispensary licenses. All 21 applicants tied with perfect scores. The Black and Latino Caucuses want the process suspended until the public can learn more about how and why only 21 finalists were chosen.
Governor Pritzker and former state Senator Toi Hutchinson, the state’s senior marijuana adviser, said that under state law, the lottery must move forward. The Governor noted he is open to changes in the next round of the licensing processes. Changes to the law could surface in the November veto session.
Two applicants who were not selected for the lottery, Southshore Restore and Heartland Greens, filed a lawsuit alleging that the 21 groups selected are politically-connected insider companies and argue the selection process does not allow for appropriate due process for unsuccessful applicants. The suit asks to have the lottery delayed until applicants can challenge why they did not make the cut. The complaint it here. A list of the applicants moving forward to the lottery is here.
COVID-19 Job Opportunities: Governor Pritzker announced a new $16.6 million investment to expand job opportunities for Illinoisans who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through two new grants received from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will distribute funding to place, train and hire nearly 1,300 residents for jobs related to the ongoing pandemic response. The State will distribute funding to 12 Local Workforce Innovation Areas throughout the state. LWIAs represent employers, local government, community colleges, and community-based organizations which partner with DCEO to provide year-round training and support to communities across the state. More information is here.
Attorney General Update:Attorney General Raoul filed a lawsuit Thursday in Cook County Court against e-cigarette maker Juice Man, LLC, over allegations the company allegedly developed and marketed its products to attract minors. More information is here.
101st General Assembly: The House Investigative Committee held its first hearing on Thursday, September 10th at 9am. The meeting was organizational in nature. The committee voted unanimously to contact the US Attorney’s office to discuss how to conduct the committee proceedings without interfering with the ongoing federal investigation. No additional hearings are scheduled at this time. The House investigative process has only been utilized twice: once last year against Representative Luis Arroyo and once in 2012 against Representative Derrick Smith. Arroyo resigned before the committee met.
The Senate Human Services will hold a virtual hearing on September 14th at 2pm to discuss the Family First Program, Intact Family Services, mandated reporting in schools during COVID, and the Death or Serious Life-Threatening Injury Report prepared by DCFS.
The Senate Special Committee on Public Safety and the Senate Criminal Law Committee will hold a joint hearing on September 15th at 1pm to discuss sentencing reforms with respect to truth-in-sentencing; mandatory minimums; three strikes enhancements; and re-sentencing after decriminalization.
The Senate Higher Education will hold a joint virtual hearing with the Senate Education Committee on September 16th at noon to discuss early childhood education funding and access to early literacy.
The hearings will be conducted remotely via Zoom and broadcast live on the General Assembly website. Members of the public may submit electronic testimony or electronic witness slips via the General Assembly website in advance of the hearing. Representative Ammons filed HB5830 which makes various changes to collective bargaining of peace officers, the process to file a complaint against a peace officer and interrogations of peace officers.
Representative Thapedi filed HB5831 which allows a municipality to own and operate a photovoltaic generation farm, energy storage facility, or biomass-fired combined heat and power plant that directly or indirectly reduces the energy or other operating costs of the municipality. Allows a municipality to ask for the assistance of any State agency in obtaining financing options for such operations. Representative Flowers introduced HR905 which urges all branches of the medical profession to commit to eliminating racism and recognizing biases, all colleges and medical institutions that prepare students for careers in the medical profession to focus on the recruitment of more minorities, and the State Board of Higher Education to pursue and provide more scholarships opportunities for minority applicants seeking to enter all aspects of the medical profession.