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Pritzker implores protesters to “not force a difficult second rebuilding on our small businesses in the course of expressing your very justified pain”

Sunday, May 31, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

[Comments have been opened on this post.]

* Gov. JB Pritzker at a joint media briefing with Mayor Lori Lightfoot today…

I have activated 375 members of the Illinois National Guard to carry out a limited mission to assist local law enforcement with street closures. With regard to protesters who are exercising their first amendment rights. The guard has explicit direction not to interfere. They will operate under the most stringent parameters on use of force and General Neely has made those parameters abundantly clear to members of our National Guard.

Remember to pardon all transcription errors.

* More from the governor…

I also think it’s important to recognize that for much of the day yesterday. The protests here in Chicago were beautiful, massive and peaceful. That is as much a part of the story of what’s happening in this city in this country as anything else.

But late in the evening yesterday. The protests became about violence and damage, and that changes the conversation, away from the terrible acts that took George Floyd’s life away from the insidious racism that we all have a role in addressing.

It’s hard to find the right words to say today. The truth is, words alone don’t cut it anymore. But it’s my job in moments of crisis to be a voice for all of Illinois, to bear witness to pain and rage and anxiety and fear. And I see the pain of this moment written on the faces of my black friends and colleagues and staff.

I know that peacefully protesting is only one part of the expression of that pain. I know that they need to see action, which includes real criminal justice and policing reform, as well as a sustained economic investment in black and brown communities. I know that they need to see complete and full justice for George Floyd and his family. Something we have not seen yet. I know that one of my most sacred obligations as your governor is to take actions that build trust. And that takes time.

I also have an obligation to the state, and to the city of Chicago to keep people safe, even as we are dealing with this destructive pandemic. We have never curtailed people’s right to peacefully express themselves. But the virus is still out there.

And we cannot forget that we have communities all around the state that are desperately trying to recover from the damage that this virus has done. And I’m imploring people to not force a difficult second rebuilding on our small businesses in the course of expressing your very justified pain.

I know things are broken. It doesn’t make us weaker to acknowledge that. I know people are suffering. and it doesn’t diminish us to see that despair exists when things are broken and people are suffering, and then everyone refuses to acknowledge it. We cannot fix things that we decide not to see. So let’s go forward with our eyes wide open in our hearts committed to actions that back up our words.

* Mayor Lightfoot…

I want to be clear and emphasize what the governor himself just said, the Guard is here to support our police department. They will not be actively involved in policing or patrolling, but here as needed support.

* More Lightfoot…

To be clear, we all support and cherish the First Amendment and the right of us as residents to express ourselves in peaceful, nonviolent protest. I’ve certainly marched in a number of protests myself.

But we also have an obligation to make sure that when there are elements amongst the protesters, or others who joined the fray that don’t have respect for peaceful, nonviolent protest, but do have, as the design, the decision to bring hammers, shovels, bottles of urine, excrement, accelerates, as we saw throughout yesterday and into the evening. We do have an obligation also, to protect life and liberty, and property. And that’s exactly what we did, and we will continue to do.

We are a strong city, and a proud people. This is our home. This is the city that we built. And we will always protect our city because this is the home that will provide for all of us, for generations to come. This is a city that also cares for each other. I’ve seen that over and over again in countless ways. During the darkest moments of the pandemic called COVID-19.

* More Lightfoot…

And I want to take this opportunity to once again to thank our men and women of the Chicago Police Department who exercised incredible restraint all day, all night against a very difficult and traumatic circumstances. I want to thank the men and women of our fire department who responded and put out fires that arsonists had said, and I want to express my gratitude to our many other city employees. We’ve been working around the clock now for days to keep our residents and businesses safe and our steady running, and they include the members of the Office of Emergency Management communication, because Call Center has been working overtime, as well as our men and women in our department of streets and sanitation and buildings and water management, our Department of Transportation, and the CTA. And I want to thank other partners who are standing with us here today. Illinois State police state police gave heroic support to the men and women of the police department yesterday and I am grateful for their assistance. Yesterday and today I want to thank State’s Attorney, Kim Fox, whose office has been an invaluable partner with us as we navigate these very difficult times. The governor said this, he is right, this is a time for us to unite.

Even from the destruction that we’ve seen what I choose to focus on is not what we’ve lost, but what we can and will gain from this moment, as we come together as a city and move forward as we return our pain into the purpose and continue the hard but necessary work of building a more inclusive equitable and just city. This is who we are, Chicago, and we will not let a small element subvert us try though they might, we will stand and rise above this moment, we will support our people who want to raise their voices and peaceful protests, and we will never, never allow element to conflate that noble and righteous expression [audio cut out at that point]

* From National Guard General Neely’s remarks…

I stood at this podium many times over the last several weeks as we responded to COVID-19 as our doctors and our medical personnel swarmed into the city to stand up community based testing and to support the communities, some of these communities today that are most challenged, ensuring that underserved communities had the testing that they needed and ensuring that we were there on the frontlines supporting our medical providers. And today, that’s what we do.

Again, we come in to support law enforcement. to support peace, to support First Amendment rights to free speech. Some of us have soldiers in our [garbled], or civilian police officers, first responders, some are teachers, firefighters, factory workers, mechanic ,students. They come from a variety of backgrounds. We are a slice of Illinois. And we are a slice of the city.

We are here to carry out a limited mission at the request of Mayor Lightfoot and the governor to help manage street closures, so that those protesters will not interfere with those who want to exercise their First Amendment rights. In fact, we are committed to protecting every citizen to ensure their rights are are not stepped on whether they’re here in Illinois, or while deployed overseas.

Today, the first contingent of National Guard members have already arrived, they’re fully equipped to protect themselves to get for this mission, as well as against COVID-19, the risk associated with a current mission, have been addressed. Each soldier has been given strict guidelines as the governor outlined with the use of force. And we will not during this teleconference today discuss those guidelines or policies, and that’s really for the protection of our soldiers who are on the fruit on the street and to ensure their safety. We are here to help.

* Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx…

As someone who was born and raised in this city, born in one of the toughest neighborhoods in this city, a community that was fair to say had been on the margins, who had seen all of the inequities that we are talking about this week, driving into the city with a piece of hope in my heart when I saw the skyline and my heart broke when I saw the boards on our windows. This is a tough day.

* Foxx on George Floyd…

When I looked at that video, and I made the mistake of looking at the whole thing, and I watched that man with his knee in that man’s neck hand in pocket. In the casual disregard for his life in broad daylight, while being filmed without a concern in the world as to what would happen to him that we will be inclined to think that it’s just the murder of George Floyd that has our streets filled. What I remember feeling in that moment was the casualness of all of the things that we have experienced in this country that we were dealing with, with COVID-19, the casual acceptance of racial disparities in health care that when we looked at the work that has been done in the last few months to deal with this pandemic and the news came out that African Americans were disproportionately dying and Latinos, the casual acceptance that that’s part of what happens with underlying health conditions, because the casual acceptance that we have people living in communities that don’t have access to health care. And we just accept the casual acceptance that those who were losing their jobs in the midst of this pandemic are frontline workers are essential workers were black and Latino and going into grocery stores and being clerks and being the least paid we casually accept that.

We casually accept with the hand in our pocket that the last time there were major riots in the city of Chicago in the 60s on the west side where we’ve seen burnt out buildings that remain an economic disinvestment continue that those folks we know, had been victims of historic discrimination and redlining that brought Martin Luther King to our neighborhoods in the 60s before I was born, and we still see the same levels of discrimination today with a hand in our pocket looking into the camera as though nothing’s going to change.

* More Foxx…

Whether it is those that have come here to sow discontent, who would have the audacity to write Black Lives Matter on buildings, when they don’t at all feel that, who would use this as an opportunity to sow that discontent to distract from what the real issues are.

To use criminality to poison the conversations around what we ought to be talking about that the last 24 hours. We’ve been talking about buildings and not policy, that the last 24 hours we’ve been talking about structures and not structural racism, that for the last 24 hours we have watched our neighbors have to shovel up glass, and rebuild after already having to endure closures due to the pandemic.

I want us to be clear.

We are working with our partners in the Chicago Police Department who have demonstrated extraordinary restraint. I’ve watched the national coverage. I’ve seen other cities. And I remind us that this is a test, the restraint, is what is required.

And we’ve met that test here.

And that we will hold accountable those who are seeking to exploit this moment, that those people who took to that street yesterday and exercise their first amendment right, mothers with children, elders who were there, who stood toe to toe, but did it without crossing the [boundaries]. That’s what this is about.

And I don’t want us to forget that for a moment. I don’t want our Twitter fingers to only tweet about the images that there are some only one of us to see. Because we will continue in this perpetual cycle. We will continue this thing that we do, the sensationalism of what this is and this, ladies and gentlemen, is a full [garbled] home.

And these people who’ve come in to try to disrupt that, the organized elements, who care not about systemic issues, but shoes for profit.

* More Foxx…

If we continue to talk about that [garbled] element who’s tried to hijack this and not about the men and women who died in the systems that have allowed for their deaths to go unpunished. We’ve learned nothing from this.

The State’s Attorney’s Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners in the city of Chicago, and throughout Cook County to again hold those accountable. Not protesters. I want to be clear. We conflate protesters and looters. So two different groups. Let us not conflate what is happening in our streets across the country with the bad acts of a few. And I know we know that language, because we’ve heard about bad acts of a few versus systems use the same rhetoric, when talking about those who are taken to our streets right now, and not conflate them with those who seek to do harm.

* Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton…

There is righteous pain and outrage over injustice and historical inequities. These emotions are real and raw. And we all feel them in the black community. And as a black woman, I think about my black daughters, my black husband, my black brother, father, and nephews. And I’m sick about what happened to George Floyd and my prayers are with his family. I cannot imagine the pain that they are feeling and the pain of losing a loved one in this way.

Even still, our [angst] must be expressed peacefully. There is a message to be heard. And it should be heard loud and clearly. It should be heard without the distraction or disruption of the few who taint the goal of the many.

* On to questions for the governor, mayor and others. Were more police officers ordered on the job yesterday, was overtime authorized and really was the police department prepared for this?…

Mayor Lightfoot: Yeah, yes yes yes and yes. The planning for yesterday started days before. We had canceled days off over time. There were a number of police out on the same over the course of yesterday. We’ve now also shifted to 12 hour days, three watches.

But what happened yesterday over the course of a long day and the governor I think described it well. We moved from peaceful protest to an element that was in the crowd that was clearly there for a fight. You don’t bring a claw hammer or shovel, or bottles in urine or accelerants molecules talk cocktails, unless you’re up to something other than peaceful protests. And so, dealing with that element, certainly became a challenge. And then on the heels of tamping that down, we saw literally people coming by the car loads, and with u haul vans to loot and destroy and damage our businesses.

* Do we know who that element is?…

Mayor Lightfoot: We know what kind of organizations might be. What I can tell you at this point is we are in partnership with the FBI, the US attorney’s office the ATF particularly their bomb and arson unit. There’s no question that both the people who were fighting and brought the weapons that was absolutely organized and choreographed, it seems also clear that the fires that were set both of the vehicles and buildings that that was organized that was an opportunistic, as well as the looting, that we saw somebody driving up with a u haul, having crews jump out, breaking the windows, going in and literally hauling out the merchandise in coordination, as we saw in way too many places. Last night, car caravans doing a similar thing people jumping out using a metal device to pop the window, jumping into the stores and then loading up the cars by like an assembly line

Can we identify who they are?

Mayor Lightfoot: That is still under investigation. And once we are able to, we will certainly reveal that.

* Culd you please explain the timeline of the events leading up to the decision to activate the Illinois National Guard, we’ve kind of gone over this about the National Guard’s mission. But will they be visible. And what happens if they are confronted?…

Mayor Lightfoot: Well, what I’ll say is this, the governor I were in frequent contact throughout the course of the day yesterday, and he is frequently offered up the use of the National Guard, as a day in the evening wore on and we saw the really is a criminal element that we’ve now talked about at length. Really arising and thinking about what our deployments, were going to be. We, the superintendent and his leadership team made the call late last night, early this morning, indicated that they believe that it would be helpful to have additional resources from the National Guard and the general has explained what the limited role is that they will will play. But I’m grateful that the governor was up and around at about 1230 last night or this morning, when I called him and acted decisively and quickly to activate those resources and we’re grateful for it.

Gov. Pritzker: To the mayor’s credit yesterday, she asked for help from the state police. They were engaged yesterday they provided up to 150 troopers that were assisting. I have 250 troopers and we had 150 troopers engaged, they provided backup yesterday as well they will continue to to 100 I believe today and tonight, and the National Guard, the decision by the mayor to ask for National Guard late last night we I Mayor knows I don’t really sleep that much anyway so I was, I was up and ready for a call and call general Neely who jumped on it and you know we we acted quickly in there, you know we have 125 immediately engaged and others on their way 375 in total.

* What happens if they’re confronted?…

Gov. Pritzker: Well their job is to provide a perimeter. They’re not going to be on the front lines. There’s been a lot of discussion about that, and what their role would be but they’re really there to provide a perimeter, so that the center of the city doesn’t get overtaken the way that it seemed to in certain times.

* There are questions of whether 375 are actually enough or hearing reports this afternoon of issues in Tinley Park they’ve now issued a curfew for tonight, several miles across the suburbs, it isn’t just the city of Chicago. So, will 375 actually be enough?…

Gov. Pritzker: Well 375 National Guardsmen another hundred state police, and they, each of you know the state police in particular has the ability and does in fact on a regular basis assist local law enforcement I also want to point out that there is a network of police departments in a system called Ilyas where law enforcement agencies share resources across lines. And so for many of the other towns or cities that need additional resources they can turn to Ilyas as well so there really are resources available at all levels here for law enforcement.

* Are you concerned that their presence will inflame the violence?…

Mayor Lightfoot: No, I’m not. And to go back to the question that Rick asked, what happens if they’re confronted, there is every bit as well trained as our officers are, they are trained to come into these circumstances that particular acids that are going to be initially deployed are military police officers. So I have every confidence that they will show exactly the same kind of restraint, that our officers do, and we’re not going to let them get into a difficult circumstance thatthey can’t handle.

* Is there more you can tell us about whether any of the looters have known connections to alt-right groups? And is this criminal aspect of the protests that we’re seeing here in another city something that warrants the FBI?…

Mayor Lightfoot: The FBI is very much involved and they have been with us. Really along every single day and beforehand as preparation. We’re working in partnership with the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office, the ATF particularly their bomb and arson units. It’s too soon. In the course of this investigation for us to be able to say definitively one way or the other. As I said before, when I can say there’s no question that some of the destruction that happened last night, particularly the arsons were absolutely organized and coordinated. We’ll learn more about this over time as the investigation takes us course. But that’s, I’m confident of that.

* Mayor you mentioned in your earlier 11am news conference about thinking phase three as even trying to get into the city is so difficult and watching all the boarding up going on is phase three really going to be happening on Wednesday should people plan on coming to work this week, and going out to dinner this week in the city of Chicago?…

Mayor Lightfoot: I think we have to have a lot more conversations first and foremost with our public health officials and we’ve started those conversations very early this morning. I’m very concerned about the fact that while I think the vast majority of people that gathered in the streets were wearing masks now, we could, we can have an interesting discussion about why and who was wearing masks. But the fact of the matter is, there were thousands of people in the street in very close proximity to each other, or not social distancing there, we know from both Governor’s guidance and transparency around how COVID is spread certainly ours as well. There are a number of asymptomatic people that are out there. I’m worried. I’m absolutely worried about a potential outbreak. As a result of what we saw yesterday thousands of people in cheek to jowl in small spaces is exactly the opposite of what we have been preaching now for 10 weeks time. I’m worried about it. I think it’s too soon for us to say we are still on track for reopening on Wednesday. But if that changes we will certainly let people know as quickly as possible.

But let me just also just say this last piece. There are many things that were heartbreaking about what happened last night. But I will also say that for those businesses that have been closed out for 10 weeks in river north, and it really all over the city that we’re starting to prepare had put out. In many instances brand new patio furniture, wanting to give their workers, an opportunity to earn money, and to provide entertainment for people in the city to see their hard work and their money and resources, literally go open flame, their property, reduced to kindling. That’s heartbreaking. And that kind of lawlessness, as I think State’s Attorney fox is so incredibly eloquently that’s not first amendment expression. That’s criminal conduct. And my heart aches for the people who suffered the loss that we saw all over the city.

* Do you agree that an indefinite curfew something that hasn’t been seen in Chicago for decades, is the right course of action. The ACLU calls it broad and vague, which could lead to quote arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement and is exploring possible litigation?…

Gov. Pritzker: Well, I can say that these are decisions that get made at the local level. I think that certainly anybody who watched what happened last night, and the night before too would have to would have to understand the need for a curfew of some sort. And so I think that it seemed to be helpful to the police to Chicago police last night, as there was a curfew or really kept people, most of the people off the streets, the people who were breaking the curfew were of course the very people who are doing the damage that was done.

* If the protests causes an upswing in COVID cases, would you consider putting Chicago into its own region, its own IDPH region?…

Gov. Pritzker: We’ll have to look forward to what happens over the next two to three weeks. But I am deeply concerned, as the mayor said and I said in my remarks, I am deeply concerned that when you gather people together, large groups of people even when they’re wearing masks in very small or large groups in spaces that they can’t certainly distance and don’t, we do run that risk. And so we’ll have to look at this going forward, but I at the moment you know we’re not heading backward.

But I think that it is a warning to everybody that is protesting. Just to, you know that if you could have the decency to spread out in the process of doing it, of course, the lawlessness is completely unacceptable and not tolerated. But I am concerned about the COVID-19 that can spread even in a peaceful demonstration so people should just take it easy on each other.



Reader comments closed for the weekend

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From an old friend…

You need to take a break. Living that in real-time all day, every day is too much. It’s too much.

I’ll be back Monday, but I’m hoping to take off much of next week now that the daily briefings have ended and the stay at home order has been lifted. It’s been real. Too real. Peace

‘Cause it won’t be too long

  Comments Off      

Pritzker thanks Dr. Ezike, extends financial protections, points to progress, says no more daily COVID-19 briefings - Calls Trump tweets “reprehensible” - “I want to send my condolences to the family of George Floyd, and also to every African American in this country” - Defends budget decisions - Credits Illinoisans for progress against virus - No bill signing ceremonies - Hopes testing progress continues - “It seems as if President Trump is withdrawing us from the rest of the world” - No out of state travel plans - Talks contact tracing - Asks Illinoisans to be careful during reopening - Will sign Medicare for undocumented seniors bill - Refuses to criticize Lightfoot for Trump comments - Talks about difficulties in securing testing locations - Dr. Ezike and Pritzker respond to question about what they’ve learned about themselves and leadership - “We’re no longer in a stay at home order”

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Gov. Pritzker began his remarks by thanking Dr. Ezike…

Thank you for being here with me every day during this difficult time for our state. I really applaud the amazing work that you’ve done communicating with people in Illinois about this very very challenging infection and virus.

Please remember to pardon all transcription errors.

* The governor said he’ll be issuing a new executive order today. From his remarks…

In addition to the extension of necessary legal mechanisms like our disaster proclamation, the state and national economy demand that we take action to protect people as best we can from the financial challenges that COVID-19 has brought on. So I’ll also be extending our ban on residential evictions, moratorium on utility shutoffs and suspension on repossession of vehicles. We will also continue offering the ability to conduct marriages and notarization remotely, as well as the suspension of many in-person licensing and training requirements for the time being, to ensure that workers can keep their professional credentials active.

* More…

The president puts out a lot of tweets encouraging reopening before experts say that we should. But the White House guidelines on reopening developed by Dr. Fauci and the CDC are actually really specific and data driven, focusing on positive tests per capita and positivity rates, overall testing rates, hospitalizations and ICU availability, the same metrics that we track here in Illinois.

Well earlier this week Illinois became the first state in the nation to meet the White House guidelines to move to the next phase of reopening the first in the nation.

The path to this point has been tremendously difficult, no doubt. We have lost over 5000 of our fellow Illinoisan’s to this virus. It’s a harrowing number. And it’s just over a few months. Many of our residents have lost someone they love a family member, a friend to this virus. I have too. If you’re someone who doesn’t know a single person who has died because of COVID-19 or been hospitalized because of COVID-19. That doesn’t mean that pain isn’t real for another mother, another child, another friend. I hope you will take at least a moment to grieve for their loss.

As we take our next step forward. And especially as we begin to safely reopen meaningful swaths of our economy. We have to continue to look out for each other, our number one priority must be the health and safety of workers and families, and all of our state’s residents.

* And…

Finally, let me address this platform from which I’m speaking today. Eighty-two days ago, we held our first of these daily briefings. And aside from the last few weekends, we’ve joined together every afternoon for a public update on our COVID-19 response every day since. Keeping the public informed and our operations transparent has been our top priority over the last two and a half months, as it’s been throughout my administration. And on that front nothing’s going to change.

But as the state moves into phase three of our restoring Illinois plan, our daily update will be replaced by briefings specifically dedicated to COVID-19, only on an as-needed basis. That will start on Monday. Instead, we’ll be bringing back some of our more traditional public events, continue to make myself available to the press as often as possible and of course, COVID-19 questions are welcome at briefings, no matter the topic at hand. Additionally, IDPH will continue to send out our daily COVID-19 press releases, and our restore Illinois regional metrics, will continue updating every 24 hours so the public can track our progress online, and you can find the latest status of your region as we move through phase three at So thank you.

* On to questions for the governor. Do you have a message for the president following his tweets concerning Minneapolis, your thoughts on Minneapolis, the devastation that’s happened there and the arrest today of the officer?…

Well, I have a lot I’d like to say, but let me begin by saying that from the very moment that I announced my decision to run for governor, three plus years ago, I said that this President was a racist, misogynist, homophobe, a xenophobe, and I was right then and I’m right now. His tweets, his reaction, his failure to address the racism that exists in America is stoking the flames in sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways, is completely unacceptable. It’s reprehensible, in fact, and I’m outraged by what he does in response to these situations. I mean this is, I cannot imagine the rage and the fear that must be felt by a black American watching what happened to George Floyd, the threat that comes to every black American under color of law, that they see in a video like that. We’re lucky that that video was ever taken because that is happening around America, probably every day.

And, unfortunately, time and time again, even when these videos come out. Even when so many of us have the feeling of it’s time for a major change. And we work toward that change somehow for black America never really comes. And that’s unacceptable. And to me, the progress that should have been made has failed. So, we have so much that we need to accomplish in this country but especially we need to address the underlying racism that clearly exists. And I will be a bulwark of change and somebody who believes to my core that we must change. And I want to send my condolences to the family of George Floyd, and also to every African American in this country.

* Churches declaring a big victory today after weeks of you being strong about a number of people not being allowed into churches, why did you lift restrictions, did you cave. And why are you backing down from prohibiting in person services or places of worship?…

Well actually, as you know from the very beginning I have said that the most important thing that houses of worship can do and faith leaders can do is to keep their parishioners safe. And that’s why we put out guidelines even in phase three recommending to people that they have services that are either online or drive up services, or in groups of 10 or less, because that’s the safety guidelines that have been recommended by the experts. And all along I have followed that science, those recommendations, and I would recommend that every faith leader do that. I’ve also said from the very beginning that I would never do anything to go break up a service, to interfere with religion. What I have done is implored leaders to not gather their parishioners because what we want most of all is for people to be healthy and safe.

Are those new guidelines in the pipeline or was it in response to that lawsuit?…

You know, we’ve always as you know I’ve talked from this podium about those guidelines, but we had never put out kind of business by business guidelines before. But in phase three we did that industry by industry and including outdoor activities things that aren’t really industries, and of course for religious activity. And no I mean if it were, wouldn’t be as comprehensive as it was if it was something that was just done on the fly.

* You keep saying the state government has been hollowed out if that’s the case, why is Illinois continuing to spend more year after year with plans to have level spending based on borrowing if there’s been a hollowing out?…

Well I don’t know if Greg has noticed, but if you look at the number of people who have worked at the Department of Public Health and the number of people who work at the Illinois Department of Employment Security or go, one after another, each of the agencies of government and you’ll find that there are many more authorized employees than there are actual employees, and many fewer authorized employees than there were in prior years. So, the hollowing out, I mean just look at the numbers of people working in state government. As you know, Illinois has the fewest number of state employees per capita of any state in the United States. And so talking about hollowing out, look what happened two years in a row with no budget in the state. That’s what hollowed out our state government.

* What is your polling during May indicated about voter support for your COVID-19 response and your stay at home orders? How did it change from pulling results back in April?…

Well, I don’t think it’s our polling results. I’ve read polling results I can say honestly that it’s clear that people supported the stay at home order, that people are deeply concerned to make sure that their fellow Illinoisans are kept safe and healthy. And that people support what we’ve done to keep people safe in Illinois.

It is actually gratifying in a way just to know, you’ve seen how Illinois have stepped up during the state home order. Look at what’s happened to the numbers and it’s because of them. And I think those polls are something of a reflection or at least the numbers as they’ve dropped a reflection of what those polls tell you, which is an overwhelming number of people in Illinois understand why we’ve had to react as we have to COVID-19, and they they’re the ones who their poll numbers the people of Illinois their poll numbers are the ones that I think we had a point to. They’re the ones who’ve done this for us.

* What plans do you have for acting on the bills the legislature sent you including whether there will be any big ceremonies for them?…

I don’t think there are any big ceremonies for anything these days. At least not well we’re in phase three and have gatherings of 10 or fewer people, but certainly I will be signing this number of pieces of legislation that came through.

* According to ABC seven analysis of COVID-19 testing data, why is it testing rank every week for the last two months to now rank 10th overall per capita and second per capita among large states. What will you do to ensure Illinois maintains this level of testing as the state reopens and more people are exposed to the virus?…

Again, we’re going to do what we’ve been doing every week. Those numbers are an indicator of where we’ve been and where we intend to go. So I just had a meeting earlier today, as I do on a regular basis, with our team that is in charge of building up our testing capacity and our testing supplies. All the things that are required for us to keep building that number up. So it’s hard to do I might add that this is not an easy endeavor. Because again, we’re competing against everybody else in the nation for a limited amount of supplies. And because we all need to ramp up testing in a massive way. I think we’ve been more successful than most other states at doing it. And I’ll just credit the people who have led that effort for us, and also our common drive and our goal that we set the mission that we set to make sure that we have testing, but there’s so much more to do. I would like to test much much more than we’re doing now, but right now we have to focus it on the most vulnerable populations and do what we can to keep people safe and healthy, as they’re going back to work. There’s no doubt going to be employers who will need to have their employees tested and we will try to jump on that wherever we need to.

* What does the US lose by having President Trump terminate the country’s membership in the World Health Organization?…

Well, I’m not. What I’ll tell you is the World Health Organization is one of several very important organizations that, I think all of us have looked for guidance from the CDC a national organization here in the United States is yet another one. But it seems as if President Trump is withdrawing us from the rest of the world and I think we saw what happens to a nation when you withdraw from the rest of the world what happens in terms of chaos around the world when the United States is not leading, and unfortunately that’s where President Trump has taken us to where the United States is not leading where it ought to.

* Now that you’ve looked at the stay at home order Do you plan to travel out of state with your family now perhaps as soon as this weekend?…

I don’t have a plan to travel outside of the state right now. But I’ve never said that people couldn’t travel outside the states.

You know people have for their jobs, sometimes people live in Wisconsin or in Indiana and they work in Illinois or vice versa. And there’s nothing wrong with traveling to your, if it was in the last stage and essential business and job. Now as things have opened up more and no doubt there’ll be even more activity, again, I would just encourage people to recognize that traveling is is a safe thing to do, but making sure that when you go to a state that has fewer restrictions that you’re not engaging in an activity that epidemiologists are telling us are relatively unsafe and put you at risk of catching COVID-19.

* It’s been reported Illinois contact tracing program is not near where it ought to be at the stage, can you reiterate what the contact tracing benchmarks are in order for the state to move to the next phases if there are any, are there any public information campaigns about contact tracing planned for the coming months?…

To the latter part, yes, of course we want to make sure that people as it is spinning up all over the state, we want people to understand what contact tracing is. I thought Dr. Ezike had a great message about, there are people who are scammers, who, on the idea of a contact tracing they use that to get your credit card information your Social Security, whatever. No one will ask you for that. You would get a call from someone from contact tracing in your county, typically, and, and that call would never ask you for that kind of private information they will provide you with information that’s all they’re intended to do provide you with information about the fact that you’ve been exposed to somebody.

So the first part of it was how far are we behind what are the two, what are the benchmarks to move forward. Yeah. Well we’ve talked about this before today as you know where we have, we’re covering about 30% of the contact tracing that you can’t, you know that’s of people who are contacts, and we need to get above 60%. And so that we’re trying [garbled] to get there. And again, it’s a large endeavor we have, you know, 97, local health departments that we’re coordinating with, they’re doing a terrific job by the way more than 80 of them are already very active in helping us build up this contact tracing capability. We have grants that are going out to them, allowing them to hire people over the next two weeks those grants in many places will have been given to them. And so there’ll be hiring, that’s ongoing during the month of June. But to the extent of what does it require to get us to the next phase, it’s building up that contact tracing and we’re doing it now.

* Just looking back, I think you said 82 days of these nearly 82 days of these, looking back just your, your emotion to all this, maybe what would have been done differently or something would have been done faster I know there’s lots of things we’ve talked about that would have, you know, been better had they worked faster. But just how are you feeling right now I think there’s a lot of hope right now on the street and it’s going to be a beautiful weekend and people are excited to hit the patios, how are you feeling?…

Well I have two minds about giving you an answer to that. I am happy to I’m very happy that again that people have been so good to each other in the state. And with this enormous challenge, you know, we’re all doing exactly what I would hope that we would and that doesn’t really surprise me. I mean, the people of Illinois are some of the most generous genuinely giving people. So it doesn’t surprise me.

I also, I can’t finish an answer without saying that we have to be careful things as we open up also means that opportunities to get catch COVID-19 open up. And so, wearing your face covering. I came here wearing it. I’m standing here without it, but when I step back, I will wear it again. Wearing your face covering in public, and other people wearing theirs, it’s an enormously important thing to be doing going forward. All of the experts, the true experts have recognized this and that’s why we put in a face covering requirement when you’re in public. Same thing all the things we’ve been saying over and over again. I have to keep reminding people, please wash your hands, please be careful, don’t gather in large groups because all those situations, not washing hands not wearing a face covering gathering in large groups. Those are the situations in which we get an outbreak and those is situation where people go into hospital. And ultimately, some of them die and I just, it’s we’ve worked so hard to get where we are. If we can just follow the rules going forward as we’re opening up. We can do this safely and keep people healthy.

* State lawmakers passed a bill that would offer Medicaid to undocumented seniors. Do you expect to sign this and do you foresee expanding it just beyond seniors?…

I will sign that bill. I think it’s important, especially at this moment in our history, during the middle of this crisis that we expand healthcare.

* Mayor Lightfoot was blunt in her criticism of Donald Trump and saying her message to him was FU. You’ve been outspoken in your criticism of Trump, but in using such a term has a line been crossed? Isn’t it just playing in his sandbox? Your thoughts?…

I’m sorry it’s him playing what ,she said is playing in his sandbox? I don’t know, look, I told you what I think. I’m pretty blunt about this, he’s a racist. I’m not sure what else I need to say. That’s more severe, the [garbled] of that’s precisely everything that I have fought against in my entire life is represented by what he tweets and says.

* There are reports that some testing locations are being scarcely used such as rolling Meadows. What metrics is the state using to determine testing location viability and sustainability?…

So we don’t get to pick every location, just to be clear. We try very hard to pinpoint neighborhoods that we’d like to be in. But then you’ve got to find an actual space to do it in. So, in a drive thru circumstance, those are harder to do than in a building. Just because of the amount of effort to create facilities. And then, when you’re doing it in a building, you’ve got to get the permission of the people in the building and the, you’ve got to be able to get ingress and egress at the hours that you want and so on. So I mean I would say we’re trying very hard to pinpoint the communities that are most vulnerable. Make sure that there’s testing there, but also to make sure it’s available to everyone in the state. Because first responders and healthcare workers and people who have compromised immune systems, that they are there isn’t an easy way to pinpoint a community that each of those people might live in. And so we just need to have it everywhere.

* What has COVID-19 taught you about yourself and what it means to lead Illinois?…

Dr. Ezike: I’m grateful for the support that most of Illinois has shared. I think it’s so evident that leading means having an amazing team of people to work together with and collaborate with and at this level it’s involved working with our various state agencies working with our local health departments working with all community based organizations. So leading just means collaborating on this stage with this COVID pandemic it’s meant collaborating on just the most intense levels across all bandwidth, up and down, all levels. And it’s really the more that’s done, the more successful we can be and I think, Illinois has just been a shining example of what leadership means in terms of collaboration and working together, and just making sure that everyone can have input to make sure we get the best results and I think we’ve done that, as the first state to actually meet the White House metrics, I think that’s a very laudable goal that we really have to celebrate and it also involved. The people of Illinois, being able to trust their leadership and be more wanting to follow the direction that we were trying to lead in so grateful for that opportunity grateful to have so many amazing partners that grateful to have such great teams and grateful, very grateful to be under the leadership of this governor who was so supportive of following the science so that we could do the right thing. And so glad that we could show that science works.

Gov. Pritzker: I don’t know exactly how to describe what it’s taught me about myself. I will say that it has really tested everyone in state government. It has tested everyone.

Think about the the workers that needed to come to work because what they do every day, providing services at our veterans homes or for our developmentally disabled or providing or helping people file their unemployment claims, or the many people at the Department of Public Health who have worked 24 hours a day. We have some unbelievably dedicated public servants. And so I just, I don’t know what to say as somebody who has not held elective office before becoming governor, but I did have some great pride in people who work in government, but I don’t think I had seen it this up close and in this intense environment ever before. And I think the people of Illinois should be just so proud really of the people who work every day. I’m not, sorry that the elected officials, I’m talking about Dr Ezike I’m talking about the people who are answering the phones, people who are actually, one on one serving people as part of state governments serving the people of Illinois, just by their second to none.

* Will the new executive order extend your emergency proclamations related to telehealth or civil liability protections for healthcare facilities?…

Yes that will continue under the under the emergency disaster proclamations. We didn’t talk about every aspect of it I suppose today. But there is, we obviously we’re no longer in a stay at home order. And there’s a lot that has evolved, but much will remain. And we do want to make sure there’s a bill that’s passed on telehealth which I’m very glad it did. And we began that in our executive order but any aspect of it. That isn’t covered by that bill we would extend.



1,622 new cases, 86 additional deaths

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,622 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 86 additional deaths.

    Boone County: 1 female 70s
    Coles County: 1 female 60s
    Cook County: 1 male 30s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 6 females 60s, 5 males 60s, 8 females 70s, 8 males 70s, 5 females 80s, 8 males 80s, 6 females 90s, 4 males 90s
    DuPage County: 1 female 30s, 1 male 30s, 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
    Kane County: 1 female 70s, 2 males 80s
    Lake County: 1 female 60s, 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s
    Madison County: 1 male 50s
    McDonough County: 1 male 70s
    McHenry County: 1 female 70s
    Ogle County: 1 female 50s
    Rock Island County: 1 male 60s
    Sangamon County: 1 male 50s
    St. Clair County: 2 females 90s
    Will County: 1 male 60s
    Winnebago County: 1 male 60s

Edgar County is now reporting a case COVID-19. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 117,455 cases, including 5,270 deaths, in 101 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 25,513 specimens for a total of 855,479. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from May 22–May 28 is 8%.

*All data are provisional and will change. In order to rapidly report COVID-19 information to the public, data are being reported in real-time. Information is constantly being entered into an electronic system and the number of cases and deaths can change as additional information is gathered. Information for deaths previously reported has changed, therefore, today’s numbers have been adjusted.

…Adding… Dr. Ezike…

As of midnight, 3599 individuals were hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those 3599 individuals, 980 were in the ICU and 593 were on ventilators.


*** UPDATED x1 *** What in the heck is going on in Rockford?

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Rockford Register-Star

The Winnebago County Board meets Thursday to consider a resolution condemning Chicago Rockford International Airport Director Mike Dunn for calling board member Dorothy Redd “pathetic and stupid” in a fiery text message he sent her this month.

The controversy began soon after Chairman Frank Haney nominated Mike Schablaske on May 4 to the Greater Rockford Airport Authority Board of Commissioners. Schablaske served as a finance executive at Woodward for many years before leading the Transform Rockford civic organization from 2013 to 2018.

In a May 14 memo to Haney, Redd asked that Haney withdraw Schablaske’s nomination and let whomever voters elect to succeed Haney in November nominate someone to the airport board. Redd’s concern? The airport board lacks diversity. Five of its six members are white, as is Schablaske. Two of the six airport commissioners are women.

When Dunn learned of Redd’s memo to Haney, he sent her a text message that read:

    “I just read your pathetically stupid memo to the chairman re: the airport board. Please be aware if you did your research you would know that there hasn’t been an all-white male board at the airport for over 30 years. Since I have been associated with the airport and or the airport board since 2001, there has at all times been a minority on the board — Judge Gwyn Gulley, Rev. K. Edward Copeland and now, Leslie West. Your idiotic and stupid statements are actually more pathetic than stupid. Do your job. Thank God, the airport board is not and has not been filled with the likes of you.”

A minority”? Rockford is 51 percent white, 21.2 percent African-American and 18.4 percent Latino. But, yeah, the airport board has always had one “minority.” Woo-hoo!

You may not be surprised to see the photos of County Commissioner Redd and Airport Director Dunn…

[Oops. I originally uploaded the wrong pic for Dunn. Fixed now.]

* And the airport board is backing Dunn up

A scathing text message that the city’s airport director sent to a Winnebago County Board member was the communication of a private citizen and does not reflect the opinion of the airport board, said Paul Cicero, chairman of the airport board. […]

“Sounds like a private citizen expressed an opinion,” said Paul Cicero, chairman of the Greater Rockford Airport Authority Board of Commissioners, when asked on Thursday about his opinion of Dunn’s text message. […]

On Thursday, the County Board approved a resolution declaring Dunn’s text message to Redd was “inappropriate in subject matter and tone.” Board members elaborated on that message in a letter to airport commissioners.

“The lack of respect Mr. Dunn showed Ms. Redd is not acceptable from anyone, much less someone who occupies the position he has with the airport,” the letter states. ”… Mr Dunn owes Ms. Redd and the entire County Board on which she serves an apology. In the future we hope that his speech and writings will be tempered with professionalism and respect.”

* Back to the original story

“I have known Mike Dunn for 30 years or maybe more,” said [county board member Angie Goral], D-13. “I am tired of people saying ‘Well, that’s the way he is.’ He doesn’t just owe Dorothy an apology. He owes the whole board an apology. We all need to stay together on this.”

*** UPDATE *** From Gov. Pritzker’s press secretary Jordan Abudayyeh…

Gov. Pritzker has assembled one of the most diverse administrations in state history, because the governor knows representation matters. No public official should use inflammatory language and insults to silence those that call out inequity. The governor urges the Winnebago County Board to take action and make a real commitment to equity.


COVID-19 roundup

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller


Since the first death in the state on March 16, the toll of the coronavirus pandemic has hit hard in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs in Cook County.

WBEZ is memorializing the names of those victims here and on air.

The names and information displayed below come directly from the Cook County medical examiner’s office; this page will be updated frequently.

Click here and read the list.

* Tribune

Illinois will lose the equivalent of 550,000 yearlong full-time jobs due to the pandemic, with 40% of them concentrated in trade, transportation, leisure and hospitality services and the professional sector, according to a new study from the University of Illinois.

The study by the university system’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs also warned that more than $28.5 billion in income will be lost to Illinois citizens and businesses, along with $76 billion in economic output representing the value of goods and services produced due to stay-at-home and business closures.

The study’s authors said that in a slow reopening of the state’s economy, small changes in the critical economic component of household spending, such as non-food shopping or going to restaurants, could significantly impact a recovery.

The authors of the study note that the recession caused by the pandemic appears unlike previous economic-driven recessions, as Illinois’ economy is moving in concert with the entire country rather than lagging behind the rest of the nation.

* NPR Illinois

As University of Illinois officials deliberate over how to reopen the Urbana campus this fall, a group of faculty members say they don’t believe the university can safely allow tens of thousands of students back into residence halls and classrooms this year.


Experts say tracking where people who’ve gotten COVID-19 live and work — and presumably where they may have come into contact with the virus — is vital to preventing and identifying potential future outbreaks. […]

But the problem is, this data is woefully incomplete.

To try to track cases in its infectious disease database, the Illinois Department of Public Health issued a 14-page form that it has asked hospitals to fill out when they identify a patient with COVID-19.

But faced with a cumbersome process in the midst of a pandemic, many hospitals aren’t completely filling out the forms. Then it falls to public health workers, already overstretched and under-resourced, to play catch up with patients to get this information.

Maybe shorten the form?

* Hope they find a buyer

The Illinois Press Foundation announced Thursday it has made the difficult decision to sell its facility at 900 Community Drive in Springfield.

The building has been owned by the foundation and home to the Illinois Press Association since its construction was completed in 2000.

“Times have changed, and the association no longer utilizes the entire 12,000 square feet of the building,” said Sam Fisher, president and CEO of the Illinois Press Association. […]

“The association plans on finding more suitable space, and the sale of the building will provide additional money for the Foundation to expand support of its many efforts, in particular Capitol News Illinois,” he said.

* Hannah Meisel

With restaurants and bars throughout the state reopening Friday, they will not have the ability to reap lost profits by serving takeout cocktails — even though legislators passed a bill last weekend allowing it. […]

Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), said the process for the House Clerk to send a bill to the governor’s desk may take some time depending on what sort of review the governor has requested. Additionally, a bill must be rewritten into a clean version including all amendments passed by the House and Senate.

“It’s a paperwork issue, but a meticulous one because you want to make sure the enrolled and engrossed version [of the bill] matches the amendments before going to the governor’s desk,” he said.

But even when Pritzker’s signature hits the bill, bars and restaurants in Chicago, at least, will not be able to sell pre-mixed cocktails just yet; the Chicago City Council must take up the issue to amend a part of the city’s liquor code to allow cocktails to go. The next time the council is scheduled to meet is June 17.

* On to the Tribune’s live blog

All on-duty CFD firefighters and paramedics ordered to undergo testing for COVID-19, officials say

Six Flags Great America preparing to reopen soon with attendance caps, mandatory face coverings

Law firm Jenner & Block sued for $3.8 million in unpaid rent, in first big Chicago office space leasing lawsuit of COVID-19 pandemic

The state tried to test for COVID-19 in every nursing home. It’s now ordering homes to do it themselves

South and west suburbs see 8%-15% decrease in home values amid coronavirus pandemic, Cook County assessor says

* Sun-Times live blog

Harvey barbershop opens for mask-wearing clients: ‘It’s pretty much like a normal Friday’

Suburban restaurants move tables outside

Hair salons reopen with masked stylists, temperature checks

Reopening scenes in Chicago’s suburbs

Illinois starts reopening today; here’s what it looks like

Woodfield Mall to reopen Friday, with others to follow

Pritzker bolsters testing rules for nursing homes, issues Phase 3 ‘guidance’ for churches

The future of riding the CTA: Here’s how Chicago commutes will change

Chicago police announced Thursday one more case of COVID-19, bringing the total in the department to 552.

A pair of Cook County judges have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first cases of the coronavirus in judges of the Circuit Court, officials announced Thursday.

Pandemic boosts the folly and madness of conspiracy theorists

D.O.A. proposal for South Side hospital merger deserves second chance

Chicago’s new normal: Cashless, contactless transactions might become our default post-COVID-19


Asian American groups seek more services during the pandemic

Arts funding preserved in state budget amid pandemic

Nearly half of Illinois’ COVID-19 deaths were in long-term care facilities, state says

Chicago to reopen many businesses and amenities June 3


All metro areas reporting record high unemployment rates

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release

The number of nonfarm jobs decreased over-the-year in April in all fourteen Illinois metropolitan areas, with six metro areas at record low payrolls, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Data also shows that the unemployment rate increased over-the-year in all metro areas to record highs for the month of April as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact local areas across the state. The official, BLS approved, sub-state unemployment rate and nonfarm jobs series begins in 1990. Data reported prior to 1990 are not directly comparable due to updates in methodology.

“With every corner of our nation impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is time for the federal government to provide state and local governments with additional relief,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes. “Our administration is focused on helping small businesses rebuild and ensuring working families recover as communities across the state begin safely reopening their economies next week.”

Data shows the number of nonfarm jobs decreased in all fourteen Illinois metropolitan areas. Total nonfarm jobs were down in Peoria (-17.9%, -30,500), Decatur (-17.6%, -9,000) and Rockford (-15.6%, -23,600). Jobs were down -12.8% (-483,200) in Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights. Job losses occurred across all industries and there were no industry sectors that recorded job growth in a majority of metro areas.

Not seasonally adjusted data compares April 2020 with April 2019. The not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 16.9 percent in April 2020, a record high for the month of April, dating back to 1976. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 14.4 percent in April 2020, also a record high, dating back to 1948. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment.

* More

Not Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Total Nonfarm Jobs (Not Seasonally Adjusted) – April 2020

Not Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates (percent) for Local Counties and Areas

* And

Kankakee, IL MSA

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 15.9 percent in April 2020 from 4.4 percent in April 2019. The April 2020 unemployment rate is the highest April unemployment rate on record.

Total nonfarm employment decreased -3,900 compared to April 2019. The Leisure-Hospitality (-800), Manufacturing (-700), and Educational-Health Services (-600) sectors recorded the largest employment declines compared to one year ago.

Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL Metro Division

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 17.6 percent in April 2020 from 3.5 percent in April 2019. The April 2020 unemployment rate is the highest April unemployment rate on record.

Total nonfarm employment decreased -483,200 compared to April 2019. The Leisure-Hospitality (-200,500), Professional-Business Services (-64,700), Retail Trade (-47,000), and Educational-Health Services (-44,100) sectors recorded the largest employment declines compared to one year ago.

Elgin, IL Metro Division

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 16.6 percent in April 2020 from 3.9 percent in April 2019. The April 2020 unemployment rate is the highest April unemployment rate on record.

Total nonfarm employment decreased -38,200 compared to April 2019. The Leisure-Hospitality (-12,400), Educational-Health Services (-4,900), and Manufacturing (-4,500) sectors recorded the largest employment declines compared to one year ago.

Lake & Kenosha Counties, IL-WI Metro Division

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 15.1 percent in April 2020 from 3.7 percent in April 2019. The April 2020 unemployment rate is the highest April unemployment rate on record.

Total nonfarm employment decreased -53,900 compared to April 2019. Leisure-Hospitality (-19,500), Professional-Business Services (-10,700), and Retail Trade (-8,100) sectors recorded the largest employment declines compared to one year ago.


School seclusion and restraint bill derailed after opposition

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Jennifer Smith Richards of the Chicago Tribune and Jodi S. Cohen of ProPublica Illinois

After months of debate about schools’ use of seclusion and face-down restraints on children, Illinois lawmakers did not act last week on a measure that would have banned the controversial practices immediately, instead delaying the decision until the fall at the earliest.

Although Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state schools Superintendent Carmen Ayala have vowed to stop the practices of putting children alone in locked rooms and holding them down on the floor, the bill faced opposition from school groups that viewed oversight requirements as too burdensome.

Months of meetings among lawmakers, school lobbyists and advocates ended with broad agreement that schools should reduce their reliance on the physical interventions, used most often on students with disabilities, according to meeting participants. But a last-minute push from the school groups tabled the matter this session; they thought the bill asked too much of school workers, who would be required to hold debriefing meetings with parents or guardians every time a student is put in time out or is restrained.

A Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois investigation last year, “The Quiet Rooms,” revealed widespread misuse of both practices in the state’s public schools.

New state rules adopted in April already significantly limit those practices and require state oversight for the first time, but advocates and lawmakers continued to push for a state law that would have superseded the rules and increased restrictions and oversight.

The most recent draft of the legislation would have made it illegal to put students alone in a locked room or in a room with the door blocked, and would have required that students placed in seclusion have access to food, medication and the bathroom. The bill also would have required school workers to meet with students and parents within two school days of each instance of time out or restraint and ordered the Illinois State Board of Education to develop plans within 90 days to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion in any form within three years.

“We’ve had all these meetings, all these meetings, and then at the eleventh hour, they come in and kill the bill,” Rep. Jonathan Carroll, a Democrat from Northbrook, said of the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance, which lobbies on behalf of the state’s public school principals and administrators, school finance officials and school boards. Carroll, who has spoken about being secluded as a child and the harm it caused, sponsored the House version of the bill. […]

Phil Milsk, a legislative adviser for the Illinois Association of School Social Workers, said the organization opposed the legislation because it was not clear that it applied to all schools, including private schools and special education cooperatives. He said requiring two debriefing meetings after each time out or restraint was “excessive” and would be “a huge burden on staff” and families. […]

Kyle Hillman, director of legislative affairs for the National Association of Social Workers, which supported the measure, said he was disappointed that opposition derailed the bill after months of negotiations.

“We have said from the beginning that … ultimately the bad actors in this state are not willingly going to end this abusive practice,” he wrote in a statement. “We continue to hold out hope our elected officials step up and end this practice now before this becomes another Illinois tragedy story.”

* From Rep. Carroll…

I’m very disappointed that special interests put the protection of its members over what’s best for our most vulnerable children. I’m not surprised that the School Management Alliance did this because it’s what they always do, but I’m disappointed that other organizations would join in these efforts. Senator Gillespie and I are committed to ending these brutal practices and will continue pushing forth this legislation.

According to Carroll, the groups opposing the bill included the Statewide School Management Alliance, the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education, the Illinois Association of Private Special Education Centers, ED-RED, the Illinois Association of School Social Workers, LEND and SCOPE.

…Adding… Equip for Equality…

We are extremely disappointed that the legislature didn’t act on this critical issue. The sponsors spent months working with a stakeholder group primarily comprised of school associations and adopted many changes at their request. Despite this process, in the end, the school industry united and stopped the legislature’s reform effort.

It felt like déjà vu. Twenty years ago, after a television news expose by Dave Savini, we were able to pass a temporary law banning these practices, while ISBE developed rules to stop the abuses by schools. ISBE allowed school groups to dominate the stakeholder membership; our voice for student and parent rights was largely ignored. Schools continued to ignore the weak law, as this year’s exposé demonstrated.

It is shameful that Illinois statutes provide life-saving limitations on the use of restraint and seclusion on adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness, but not on vulnerable students with disabilities.

Unlike other states that are seeking to reduce and eliminate the use of these practices, and some states that have banned them altogether, Illinois’ school industry continues to be steadfast in its opposition to reform. The legislature has been all too willing to bend to their preferences. The schools blocked meaningful reform 20 years ago, and again last week. The legislature needs to stop giving in to the schools and take a more balanced approach that takes into account student safety.


Attorney DeVore asks appellate court to dissolve another TRO

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* May 1

Just days after a downstate judge granted him a restraining order exempting him from the extended statewide stay-at-home order, state Rep. Darren Bailey is asking the Illinois Appellate Court to vacate that order so he can file an amended lawsuit.

Bailey filed another lawsuit but the attorney general is attempting to move it to a federal court.

* A week ago today

A Clay County judge who has repeatedly criticized Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order again ruled against the governor on Friday, but stopped short of issuing a statewide temporary restraining order that had been sought by a downstate business owner.

James Mainer and HCL Deluxe Tan had filed a new lawsuit on Thursday, seeking to have the governor’s executive order declared null and void. At a hearing on Friday, Mainer’s attorney, Thomas DeVore, sought a temporary restraining order barring the governor from enforcing the order statewide, but instead Clay County Judge Michael McHaney granted an order only for Mainer and his business.

The temporary restraining order exempts Mainer and HCL Deluxe Tan from the stay-at-home order until June 5, when McHaney will hold another hearing on the plaintiffs’ bid for a permanent injunction.

“Waiting until such time as a hearing might be had on the determination on the merits of the injunction is too great a risk for James and HCL, given their freedom and livelihoods are being stripped away in violation of Illinois law every hour that passes,” McHaney’s ruling states.

* Yesterday


JAMES MAINER, in his individual capacity and on behalf of all citizens similarly situated, and HCL DELUXE TAN, LLC, an Illinois limited liability company, on its behalf and on behalf of all businesses similarly situated,

v. GOVERNOR J.B. PRITZKER, in his official capacity,


The undersigned, being counsel for the Appellees hereby advise this Honorable Court the Appellees consent to the dissolution of the temporary restraining order entered by the circuit court in this cause as the Governor’s restore plan has remedied the injury to Appellee at least prospectively, and as such respectfully request an order entering dissolving the temporary restraining order and remanding this matter back to the circuit court to proceed consistent with said order.

Thomas G. DeVore

…Adding… Another attorney in a different case…


Question of the day

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I love this country

Edwin Ramirez, the 15-year owner of 201 Stylez on Park Avenue [in New Jersey], has rolled out “Shields on Wheels” to help keep clients and their barbers safe during a cut.

Ramirez, who was forced to close his barbershop in March, came up with the idea for a plexiglass shield while working at a carpentry shop he also owns, Pix11 reports.

The shield contains a cutout large enough for the barber to fit their hands and tools through, and is on wheels, so the barber can work around a client’s head.

Ramirez is working on a concept for hair salons and has already been contacted by other barbers looking to order a set of shields.

* Here’s the prototype…

Click here to watch a video.

* And I’ve always been partial to Amsterdam

A Dutch restaurant has come up with an idea on how to offer classy outdoor dining in the age of coronavirus: small glass cabins built for two or three people, creating intimate cocoons on a public patio.

Waiters wear gloves and transparent face shields, and use a long board to bring dishes into the glass cabins to ensure minimal physical contact with customers.

While the concept is currently being trialed only for family and friends of staff from the ETEN restaurant, which is part of the Mediamatic arts centre, it certainly looks glamorous, as diners enjoy candle-lit meals with a waterside view.


* The Question: Do you have any ideas to make public spaces and services more accommodating? They don’t have to be brilliant inventions. Just stuff you’ve noticed over the past couple of months that could be improved or changed.


Madigan issues new guidance to members, staff

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From Speaker Madigan’s chief of staff Jessica Basham…

Good morning, members –

Please see the information below, which I shared with staff just a bit ago.

Many of you have asked about suggestions and guidelines for the re-opening of your district offices. While your office may wish to mimic some of the guidelines I plan to put in place for the Office of the Speaker, your offices are each unique and also more public-facing. The following are some suggestions for your consideration:

    · Regarding your staff, develop a schedule that blends in-office and remote work, in order to reduce the number of staff in the office at one time.

    · Meet with constituents by appointment only, if a remote (video or call) meeting is not possible. Provide face coverings for members of the public who come into the office.

    · Limit the number of public that can be in a waiting area at one time.

    · Share information (on your website, social media, newsletter, and/or posting at your office) about your protocols regarding meeting with constituents.

    · Refrain from inviting large groups to visit the office.

    · Provide access to face coverings and sanitization products for staff, and add additional cleaning responsibilities to staff’s assigned duties.

As always, you will choose how and when to make operational changes for your district offices. The points above and below are suggestions for your consideration.

If you have further thoughts about these plans, or ideas that you’re developing for your offices, please share them. As we navigate these uncharted waters, I’m happy to share them with the whole caucus for further consideration.

Take care and be well,


* Memo to staff…

Good morning, staff –

First, thank you to everyone for working almost exclusively remotely over these last many weeks. As the State enters into Phase 3 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois re-opening plan, the Office of the Speaker (the “Office”) has been reviewing the public health guidance to develop a plan for safely return to the workplace.

Beginning June 8, 2020, employees of the Office are directed to report to their offices in Springfield and Chicago on a limited basis, while continuing to work remotely for the remainder of the work week. Each staff member will be required to be in the office for 12 hours, unless otherwise directed. In the coming days, your supervisor will be in touch to discuss shift assignments. Shifts will be arranged in such a way as to minimize the amount of staff physically present in the office at any one time in order to facilitate social distancing.

The following safety precautions are being taken to support the work of the Office in this next phase of operations:

    · A cloth face covering will be provided to staff members. Staff should wear a face covering at all times when coming within 6 ft. of another person, and at all times when coming to and from the office or walking around the office space (e.g., to and from the restroom or break area).

    · Staff members should perform a daily temperature check before coming to work. Alternately, staff members may visit the on-site paramedic (Capitol Room 206, 8a-5p Mon-Fri) to have their temperature taken. Those with an elevated temperature or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms should not report to work.

    · The Capitol and Stratton Buildings will remain generally closed to the public, unless that person is accompanied by a state employee. Staff are discouraged from taking any in-person meetings; instead, meetings should continue to be conducted remotely whenever possible. If interaction with a member of the public is necessary (e.g., a constituent meeting), those should be done by appointment only.

    · Only a limited number of people should ride elevators at once, to maintain social distancing. Guidelines, which may differ depending on the elevator size, will be posted at the elevators.

    · The janitorial staff will be working additional hours to continue a robust sanitation protocol. They will be supported by the Secretary of State janitorial staff, who will be returning to the office full time beginning Monday, June 1.

    · Additional hand sanitizer stations have been added to the buildings.

    · Plans concerning the Bilandic Building are still under development; however, staff should anticipate a requirement to wear a face covering, as well as limitations on public access and elevator capacity.

    · Staff members who report to the Bilandic Building and are reliant on public transportation will be eligible for reimbursement of parking expenses for their required shifts.

Next week, we will have an all-staff call to review more specific safety precautions and answer other operational questions.

Thank you again. Take care and be well,


Jessica Basham, Chief of Staff

Office of the Speaker

Illinois House of Representatives


Architects abandon alternative reopening plan

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller


Two weeks ago Peoria leaders introduced the Restore Heart of Illinois plan, made up of 11 counties in Central Illinois with the goal of reopening more quickly than the state wide plan allowed.

Now with phase three of the state plan, Restore Illinois, starting Friday those same leaders are now saying the Governor’s plan takes the lead.

Peoria officials said when they started working on their Restore HOI plan there was no guidance from the state. But now the Peoria Health Department said a lot has changed.

“As this moved forward and we were waiting for responses and then there was different executive orders and different discussions about insurance liabilities, professional regulations as well as even administrative code updates we never want to put any of our entities in a situation where they had to determine about their liability and risk and safe practices.” said Administrator Monica Hendrickson

She said much of Restore HOI has now merged with the Governor’s plan or includes compromises, such as the outdoor seating for food establishments.

“What Restore HOI initially did was to create that guidance. Since then restore Illinois provided guidance just this weekend and upon comparison we recognized that a lot of our feedback was actually implemented and so from a local health department perspective we are following restore Illinois.”

* Peoria Public Radio

[Peoria City/County Health Department Admnistrator Monica Hendrickson] said the Restore HOI plan has now “merged” with the governor’s plan.

“I think people want to say Restore HOI was a failure or whatnot,” she said. “But really, it was a way for us to provide guidance and get people to think about what it was going to be like to reopen, as well as to help advocate and support our state entities as they were moving into a very much new phase of this pandemic, which was to start reopening and releasing restrictions.”


After nearly two hours of discussion, McLean County Board members voted 12-8 Thursday night to table a resolution to implement the Restore Heart of Illinois plan.

No date was set to take up the plan again.

Earlier in the day, Peoria County Administrator Scott Sorrell confirmed at a press briefing that Peoria, which developed the plan as an alternative to the state’s Restore Illinois plan, would not be bringing it to its own county board for consideration.

In fact, none of the other 10 counties included in the regional reopening plan has chosen to implement it.

McLean County Board Member Carlo Robustelli made the motion to table the vote. “The plan author has abandoned their plan,” he said. “A regional plan without the region all buying in and adopting it makes it impossible to do the regional metrics that have been laid out in it.”

* Pantagraph

[McLean County] Board members opposed implementing the Heart of Illinois Plan pointed to a letter from and a statement by McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight, who said, “The health department does not have the capacity to fulfill our role in the implementation.” […]

Of seven public comments read into the record, only two supported implementation of the Heart of Illinois Plan.

In addition, Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner sent a letter to the board opposing immediate implementation of the plan. In his letter, Renner wrote, “I urge you to be prudent and wait until further plans are properly vetted and to operate within the framework established by Governor Pritzker.


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House of worship attendance limit expected to be removed from stay at home order

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Dan Petrella and Jamie Munks at the Tribune

Facing a barrage of legal challenges from churches, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to remove a provision limiting the number of people who can attend in-person religious services when he signs a new version of his statewide stay-at-home order on Friday.

The move comes as the state moves into phase three of Pritzker’s reopening plan, with a wider range of businesses opening their doors for the first time in more than two months. On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health issued new guidelines for houses of worship, hours before the state responded to the U.S. Supreme Court in a lawsuit by two churches seeking to block Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.

Pritzker’s extended stay-at-home order, issued April 30 and set to expire after Friday, added religious services to the list of “essential” activities for which residents are permitted to leave their homes but mandated that they be limited to 10 or fewer people.

In its Supreme Court filing, the state argues that the churches’ request is moot because Pritzker “has announced that after that date religious gatherings will no longer be subject to mandatory restrictions.”

The attorney general’s filing is here. The guidelines are here.

* ABC7

“This is a total and complete victory for people of faith,” said Peter Breen, the vice president of the Thomas More Society, in a statement. “Illinois’ governor and his administration abused the COVID-19 pandemic to stomp on the religious liberty of the people of Illinois.”

Gov. Pritzker released the new guidelines during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

“We’re not providing restrictions,” he said. “We’re simply providing the best recommendations that we can for keeping people safe, so we hope the pastors will follow that guidance.” […]

The governor’s spokeswoman, Jordan Abudayyeh, warned that attending church is still a high-risk activity. She said the guidelines are new, but churches have always been allowed to do what they want.

But those who filed a lawsuit on the churches’ behalf see the new guidelines as a win for worshippers.

* Related…

* Pritzker lifts ban on Illinois worship services starting Friday


Open thread

Friday, May 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Have a look…


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* Follow along with ScribbleLive

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* Isabel’s afternoon briefing
* Beyond the horse race
* Cannabis baron ridicules equity programs: "We’re going to give these assets to felons and people that have two heads and all this kind of stuff"
* IEPA says it won't do anything about polluting refineries
* Pritzker stands behind his messaging, claims support for candidates
* A quick Illinois history lesson
* Vallas gets out in front of attacks
* Following the money
* A massive failure
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
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* Open thread
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* Live coverage
* Laurence Msall
* Yesterday's stories

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