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Education services extended for special needs students

By PETER HANCOCK
| July 28, 2021

Students with special needs will be able to finish their last year of high school regardless of when their birthday falls on the calendar, while those who lost a year or more of in-person schooling due to the pandemic and have since aged out of special education eligibility will be given another year to complete their schooling.

A new study by WalletHub has Illinois ranked 29th out of 50 for best states to start a business in.  The study looked at factors including business environment, access to resources, business costs and other factors. Contributed photo

Study ranks Illinois 29th in best states to start a business

By Andrew Hensel
| July 26, 2021

A new study by WalletHub has Illinois ranked 29th out of 50 for best states to start a business in.

Pritzker administration announces $742 million in COVID-19 relief now available to Illinois small local governments

July 23, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – Governor JB Pritzker announced that beginning today more than 1,250 small cities, towns and villages across Illinois that have not already received aid from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) can apply for their share of more than $742 million in federal funds. The money can be used to cover expenses incurred while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first payments are expected to be made in August.

Pritzker talks plans for Unemployment Trust Fund, pandemic response

By Jerry Nowicki
| July 23, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker isn’t considering using federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay down a multi-billion-dollar Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund deficit, and he’s watching the state’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers closely.

Democratic leaders seek to dismiss redistricting lawsuits

By Jerry Nowicki
| July 22, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – Lawyers for Illinois’ Democratic legislative leaders last week filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit from Republicans and a Mexican American advocacy group regarding newly drawn legislative maps, calling the challenge “purely speculative” until full U.S. Census data is released.

OSFM reminds Illinoisans to observe safety practices in and around water to prevent drowning

July 21, 2021

SPRINGFIELD — As the summer heat continues in Illinois, pools are a favorite destination for many to cool off. It’s important to follow all posted rules and pay attention to any children when around bodies of water. The number of pools installed in backyards drastically increased last year due to the pandemic. Installing a pool means adults need to be extra vigilant to protect any children who have access to the water. It is also essential to take the proper steps to keep pools secure and restrict access to prevent injuries and drownings from occurring.

State 'strongly encourages' public, private colleges to require students to get COVID-19 vaccine

By Jerry Nowicki
| July 20, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – The state’s higher education agencies released updated COVID-19 guidance Monday encouraging all public and private higher education institutions in Illinois to issue mandatory vaccine policies.

Pritzker, Stratton announce reelection bid

By Jerry Nowicki
| July 20, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday he will seek a second term, joined once again by Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton as a running mate. 

Pritzker has 'no plans' for added mitigations; 'local control' is focus of new school guidelines

By Jerry Nowicki
| July 16, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – The wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines has changed the state’s approach for mitigating the virus’ spread statewide and in schools.

Public health officials announce 4,449 new cases of coronavirus disease over the past week

July 16, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 4,449 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 62 additional deaths since reporting last Friday, July 9, 2021. 73% of Illinois adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and more than 57% of Illinois adults are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

State to pick overdue marijuana dispensary winners by Aug. 19

By Jerry Nowicki
| July 16, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – More than a year after new marijuana dispensary licenses were scheduled to be distributed per the state’s 2019 adult-use legalization law, the governor’s office announced the initial lottery and two new ones will happen by the end of August.  

Gov. JB Pritzker

Pritzker bans deceptive interrogation of minors

By Jerry Nowicki
| July 16, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – Terrill Swift spent 15 years in prison, convicted of a rape and murder which DNA evidence later proved he did not commit.

Illinois Department of Revenue issues automatic tax refunds to thousands of unemployment benefit recipients

July 15, 2021

Chicago — Governor Pritzker announced today that the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) has issued automatic refunds to close to 350,000 eligible taxpayers who electronically filed their 2020 Illinois Individual Income Tax Returns prior to a newly enacted federal unemployment tax exemption.

The U.S. federal courthouse in Chicago will be the site of a trial in September involving challenges to the recently-passed legislative redistricting maps in Illinois.

Federal 3-judge panel to decide whether state redistricting plan is constitutional

By Peter Hancock
| July 15, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – Lawyers for plaintiffs and the state told a panel of federal judges Wednesday the issues involved in two lawsuits challenging the state’s legislative redistricting plan are “straightforward” and ought to be resolved in short order.

USDA reminds Illinois producers to file crop acreage reports

July 14, 2021

SPRINGFIELD — Agricultural producers in Illinois who have not yet completed their crop acreage reports after planting should make an appointment with their U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) office before the applicable deadline.

Identity theft-related unemployment fraud on the rise ahead of September expiration

July 14, 2021

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) is urging Illinoisans to be on high alert for phishing schemes that may be leading to identity theft as international bad actors continue to attempt to exploit unemployment systems across the country. 

New legislation to impose larger penalties on employers that violate the Wage Payment and Collection Act

July 13, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) today announced that employers in Illinois that don’t adhere to rules outlined in the Wage Payment and Collection Act are now subject to larger penalties. Following Governor Pritzker’s signature of HB 118, an employer found to have violated the Act is liable for not only the unpaid wages and final compensation, but also 5% of the damages of the underpayment per month, for each month during which wages or final compensation remain unpaid. Previously, employers owed 2% of the damages for underpayment.

Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at an event in Springfield earlier this year. On Friday, he signed another 53 bills into law, increasing his total bills signed to 97 for the current General Assembly out of more than 600 that passed through the General Assembly.

Media literacy requirement, animal products ban among latest 53 bills signed by Pritzker

By Peter Hancock
| July 12, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – Public high schools in Illinois will soon be required to teach students how to access and evaluate various kinds of news and social media they see online and elsewhere as part of their regular curriculum.

Unprecedented unemployment deficit threatens to 'cripple' businesses, claimants

By Jerry Nowicki
| July 9, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – Since economic shutdowns began and COVID-19 death counts started to rise in March 2020, national unemployment rates have hovered at historically high numbers, stressing state unemployment systems left dealing with an unprecedented number of claims.

Gov. JB Pritzker signs a bill into law Friday requiring all public schools in Illinois to teach a unit of Asian American history, starting in the 2022-2023 school year as the bill's sponsors, Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, left, and Sen. Ram Villivalam look on.

New law requires public schools to teach Asian American history

By Peter Hancock
| July 9, 2021

SPRINGFIELD – All public schools in Illinois will soon be required to teach a unit on Asian American history and culture as part of their social studies curriculum.


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