Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker says vote by mail bill “a reasonable compromise” - Explains federalism - Explains state needs legislation to distribute federal $ to local governments - Explains federalism - Talks about new job report - Dodges childcare question - Concerned about privacy issues with contact tracing apps - Repeats need for federal money - Repeats need for federal money - Repeats need for federal money - Repeats need for federal money - “Running government is not like running a business” - Now unsure about state fairs - IDPH working on guidance for youth sports - Won’t apologize to Florida and Georgia - State workers coming back in Phase 3 - Asked about hiring Illinois union contractors during a recession to work on his Wisconsin farm - Happy for a workers’ comp deal - Still wants a Chicago casino - “An awful lot can happen in a day and a half” - Defers lawsuit question to AG
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Pritzker says vote by mail bill “a reasonable compromise” - Explains federalism - Explains state needs legislation to distribute federal $ to local governments - Explains federalism - Talks about new job report - Dodges childcare question - Concerned about privacy issues with contact tracing apps - Repeats need for federal money - Repeats need for federal money - Repeats need for federal money - Repeats need for federal money - “Running government is not like running a business” - Now unsure about state fairs - IDPH working on guidance for youth sports - Won’t apologize to Florida and Georgia - State workers coming back in Phase 3 - Asked about hiring Illinois union contractors during a recession to work on his Wisconsin farm - Happy for a workers’ comp deal - Still wants a Chicago casino - “An awful lot can happen in a day and a half” - Defers lawsuit question to AG

Thursday, May 21, 2020

[The time stamp on this post has been altered for Friday visibility.]

* Question time for Gov. Pritzker. Did you get a COVID test before you came to Springfield after you had been isolating?

I did not. I was tested before I was isolated and because I isolated the entire time, right up to the point where I came to Springfield. I didn’t get another test.

Please remember to pardon all transcription errors.

* One of the measures that the General Assembly is working on is this vote by mail so several questions there I’ll try to group them together for one. Does it go far enough? This would merely be mailing to people who voted in recent elections applications for vote by mail you would want natural ballots mails so doesn’t go far enough. And then on the opposite end some Republicans are saying that this could lead to ballot stuffing. So, how do you ensure the validity of this particularly the President Donald Trump has raised questions about voting…

Well this has obviously been a republican strategy, all across the country to deny people the ability to actually go to the ballot box or to deliver their ballot to vote. Republicans generally speaking, have been in favor of suppressing the vote, all across the nation they think it’s bad for them if more people vote. I think everybody has the right to vote. We live in a democracy The vote is sacred. And so I’m very much in favor of making sure that everybody gets a ballot who is eligible to vote, and then returns that ballot

Does it go far enough?…

In my view, I would like more done, and of course this has been a discussion and negotiation, conversation, about how to make sure that the most people get it, and that, you know, we’re doing the best we can with the resources that we have. So, allowing people to send out ballots, or rather applications to everybody that voted in the last number of elections and still giving everybody else the ability to apply to get a valid, I think is a reasonable compromise and gets us what we want which is people don’t need to go to a physical validating location, and you see by the way that there are other aspects of that legislation that do provide easier access to the ballot box for people who do need to go in person.

* There are concerns about Illinois losing federal funding, getting threats by President Trump regarding states that do proceed with expanding vote by mail. Is that a concern? And this is from Mark Maxwell is jumping off of that. You have made similar threats to local governments in terms of holding up funds from the States. If they don’t comply with your executive orders. So, why might it be bad when the President does something like that but okay when you do it? [Somebody needs to brush up on their federalism.]…

Well there’s an awfully big difference. The President is threatening to take away funds from states [that are] doing something that’s legal. And what we were talking about, as you suggest in the week before about the possibility of holding up funding for local governments because they’re not following the law. That’s a much different thing. But look, I want, I think it’s very important for people to get access to the ballot. The President doesn’t want that. I do want people to get a ballot and to vote and that’s just an enormous, enormous ideological difference. I believe in democracy and the right to vote.

* The Republican delegation to Congress has sent you a letter that wants to know more about what Illinois is doing as it allocates federal funding that is received for the coronavirus response, it was appropriated recently, of course under the cares act, citing a report from the National League of Cities that says Illinois is a state that is withholding funding from municipalities…

No funding is being withheld at all. We need enabling legislation. We needed the legislature to actually get together to provide that enabling legislation and that’s what’s happening over the next day and a half.

* I know that there were a lot of folks who rejoiced about your announcement yesterday and yet, a lot of questions so I’m going to try rapid fire these from news organizations, for starters that Mayor Lori Lightfoot in Chicago has said that restaurants in the city are not going to be able to open, restaurants, by the end of May. What is your response to that and does that underscore complaints, particularly from leaders in the collar counties in the suburbs, that they have been unfairly lumped in with Chicago…

Well the decision by a municipality like Chicago to not have outdoor seating is completely up to them as I’ve said all along. We’ve tried to provide a baseline to protect people in various communities in different cities and counties, they can do something that’s more stringent and decide not to allow certain activities because maybe they’re a hotspot. Maybe they’re concerned about something in particular that they want to deal with on a local level. But I think many many towns, cities and counties across the state will in fact be having outdoor seating for restaurants and, and, you know, those that choose not to, that’s a completely local decision.

* And you did ease up on those restrictions obviously from the original Restore Illinois plan. Again, we’re still hearing a lot from those suburban leaders and collar county executives that are saying, why are we part of Cook County and Chicago. So do you have any plans any second thoughts as to whether that might change?…

That’s not something that I’m looking at doing and we have four regions, they’ve all been moving in the right direction. You see that everybody in Illinois now, all four regions are not only moving in the right direction, but are going to be able to. barring some catastrophic thing that may happen in the next eight days, will move into the next phase.

* Retail stores are going to in phase three be able to reopen with capacity limits. There are of course, large places of worship. Will they be able to observe capacity limits in phase three as opposed to the restriction of 10 people or fewer?…

Well, again, capacity limits are intended. We’re still in a phase where 10 people or fewer is the desired number that’s what the epidemiologists are recommending and so on. Many small stores that is a number that maybe less than they normally have in their store, but it’s still a reasonably good number and they can keep track of people who are coming in and out and those who can’t fit in can certainly socially distance outside as they wait to go in with regard to churches and mosques and synagogues. I think it’s important for people to be able to get together and worship. But again, we’ve got to follow the same rules. The whole idea here, this isn’t something that I made up. This is something that the epidemiologists really have emphasized that until we know whether having larger groups together you know and what the effect of that is we need to watch what it’s like when we let everybody get together in a group of 10, in groups of 10. Even with social distancing. We don’t really know, right it’s what you’re doing is watching and that’s why you have a phase. We’re watching week by week, day by day, through the phase to see what’s the effect on the number of people who are coming down with COVID-19, the number of people who end up in hospital, and you’ll see as we move forward, we’ll provide you with more data but you can see it yourself if you go to the DPH website that it takes several weeks for these things to work through you know groups people get together and they do something that they shouldn’t have done and someone spreads it in a group. You don’t see an immediate effect. Two weeks later, you start to see maybe people are entering the hospital more people are in in hospital and then perhaps two weeks later you’re seeing people going into the ICU and perhaps on a ventilator, and even a week after that perhaps people dying. And so that’s why we’re trying to take a gradual approach here to all of us.

* Today, the Illinois Department of Employment Security came out with new figures, pretty awful ones regarding the number of people who have lost work last month, and yet there continued to be issues with IDES and filing for that. Elizabeth Matthews at Fox asks about someone who was given a runaround as they tried to receive pandemic unemployment assistance, the caller hung up. So are workers properly trained for this, or was training at all rushed? Can you address as well just the general high figures of unemployment?…

Let me start with just saying that this is a tremendously disturbing problem that everybody in the country is facing and the high unemployment, the number of people who have been furloughed laid off, perhaps permanently. The number of businesses that especially small businesses which are really the lifeblood of job creation in our country, right those small businesses when they close up it’s hard for them to restart. And this is, it’s a tragedy that requires us to really put shoulder to the wheel to make sure that not only the federal dollars that have been provided through PPP but also the state COVID relief effort is trying to revive is working to revive employment and revive small businesses, and to get people back to work that’s certainly a very, an extraordinarily high priority for me.

As to people who are experiencing problems connecting with unemployment and I know the PA system as you mentioned, look I there. There are going to be these circumstances, there have been, it’s not you know it’s not something’s not excused in any way. It is something that when we have these rush of applications that come in a single day, the number of people answering the phone there’s only a certain number of people who can. And then, things are going to happen. I mean, there’s no doubt that mistakes get made, if somebody gets cut off the phone line it’s not because there’s somebody on the other end who’s saying I don’t really want to do that work and hitting a button. That’s not what’s happening. And yeah you should see these IDES employees. TheRE are people who are you know yelling at them because they’re angry about their situations, but the IDES employees are working so hard to try to get the job done. And I just want you to know that for people who are continuing to have difficulties, please keep trying. I’ve been, we’ve been doing our best to expand the ability, both to take phone line calls, as well as online applications.

* If they are unable to find childcare, can they continue to receive unemployment? There are those who say that they are fearful that they won’t be able to go back to their job because they have nowhere to send their children, then therefore what do they do well quit right so that’s one of the things…

Well, number one, as you know, we created emergency licenses and we’ve licensed to more than 2500 I think we’re at about 2650 or more emergency childcare locations. Remember, you have to back up to second This isn’t a desire on any of our part to limit childcare. The idea here is that with everything that we know especially the, the, the potential that there are COVID related illnesses that can befall children that we want to make sure that we’re also limiting the social interaction the numbers of people that are in a childcare setting, both the children and the adults. And so, this is obviously a difficult circumstance when you think about most childcare facilities have many more than 10 children they may have, you know, 15 or 20 in a space and then they have multiple spaces, and they often are you know running into each other in the hallways. Under normal circumstances so when you you know when we have a pandemic and mystery, you know, that is COVID-19, that we’re all trying to unravel. And we’re trying to protect people. We’ve got to move to what’s the best way to protect them and so moving to these emergency 10 person 10 child facilities has been the best thing to do. Now we also need much more child care. And so we’re working with childcare providers … I really believe in providing childcare for families. It’s something I’ve worked on a long time and I’ve been expanding into the state of Illinois before COVID-19 came along. So it’s something I believe in. So we are working with childcare providers to try to figure out how in their facilities where we’ve only said you could have 10. Is there a way to keep children separated in groups of 10 without having the kind of interactions that you normally would have in a childcare facility, between all the people the teachers that are there the childcare providers and the children themselves so we’re working on it we have a task force of childcare providers who are motivated trust me to want to open their facilities and I am motivated because I know as we get people back to work, they need more childcare so we’ve been at this for some time. Suffice to say my deputy governor and my first Assistant Deputy Governor are on top of it, working with this task force to make sure we expand.

[There was a long question and a long answer on contact tracing. Not much new, so we’ll skip to the privacy angle.]

* Apple and Google are now out with apps that have these abilities to do some of that contract tracing work. So, can you respond to that particularly given Illinois biometrics laws and limitations fears about breaches?…

Privacy is a huge concern, online privacy huge concern. We have good laws on the books today, we probably need even more privacy legislation. But suffice to say there’s nothing that we’re going to do with our contact tracing that will violate those laws. And the Apple and Google apps that you’re talking about is something that, genuinely I’m a little concerned about because it it potentially and I don’t know the intricacies of it, but I’ve read enough to say it potentially could invade someone’s privacy. Having said that, we do need to make sure that we’re doing our best at all levels to identify contacts and this may be, it may be a worthwhile thing for us to do if we can maintain people’s privacy.

* So when it comes to the budget, your original proposal called for putting money in reserves that counted on your graduated income tax constitutional amendment getting approved in November’s election. Is that still what you want to happen or given the great many other unknowns, having to do with borrowing what we will or will not get with the from the feds how conservative do you plan to be in terms of spending with all of those outliers those monster questions?…

Well, let’s be clear that the budget that is now in the General Assembly is one that the General Assembly has worked very hard on. It comes with an outline that that perhaps started with what I had in February proposed. But today is much different. I mean obviously we are in a much different situation for our state. So I’m gonna look at what the legislature has done. Our team has been responsive to questions the legislature has put to us. You know, we need to make sure that we’re working together as best we can to have a budget that pays the bills for the state. And as I’ve said many times before, we have a sincere hope and belief that there will be help that comes from the federal government because without it, this state and states all across the nation will end up laying off firefighters and police officers and nurses and and so many other people in the services that people need exactly in one of the worst economic circumstances that we’ve had will go away without that federal help.

* Rep. Fred Crespo … said that he’s talked with IDES about answers. Says that it’s time for you to work with the legislature to do something about this problem. When’s that going to happen and what does that look like?…

Well we’ve talked to the legislature about, particularly with the budget as you know IDES is one of those agencies that was woefully inadequately funded for many years. And we talked about government getting hollowed out over the last few years, that’s just one of the agencies, but it is one of them. And you can imagine that well gee when the economy is getting better every year. People don’t pay much attention to the unemployment system because it’s, you know, too small, it doesn’t really affect that many people, that’s the theory that the General Assembly has gone by for many years now here we are, right with all that underfunding affecting idea so I am absolutely we first were working with them on making sure we get the right funding levels for it. Yes. And secondly, that we are working to use that funding to upgrade the systems that exist, and the people because there’s been a drop in the number of employees.

* Businesses have made significant sacrifices during the pandemic. How is your administration going to help offset the expected increased burden, because of unemployment insurance?…

Yeah. So again, two things to keep in mind. The first is typically unemployment is something that is an agreed upon, understanding between business and labor and employees, and so we’re going to continue that. But, as every state in the United States and I’ve talked to many Republican and Democratic governors about unemployment in particular and about the funding of unemployment. Again, this is part of what the cares Act, or this next heroes act addresses is unemployment support and we’re going to need that like every other state.

* Also with unemployment. When do you anticipate things getting back to normal? Peter Hancock capital news Illinois, are the programs now in place extended benefits and federally funded pandemic related extensions is going to be enough to carry people through?…

I’m concerned that it’s not enough. I’ll be honest with you I see the $600 extra that people got and are getting in unemployment benefits, even that, you know, added on top of the existing unemployment benefits it doesn’t seem to be enough. And when you think about the amount of time that … economists are saying that it might take us to get back to normal. I’m concerned that the typical number of weeks that are allowed and may not be enough.

* How realistic is it for the state to spend around the same next year as it spending this year, given the state’s dire financial situation?…

So, again, one of the challenges when you get into an emergency when you get into a, an economic downturn, is that you have not only a increased number of people unemployed, decreased number of people who are paying taxes. Revenues dropping for the state. You also have a massive increase in the amount of services that people need more middle class families, drop their income substantially people who’ve never needed the state’s supports perhaps. Now they need that support. So you you can’t say as a state, we’re just not going to help people. And that’s why we’ve asked the federal government like all the other states for help, we’re just trying to replace the revenues that were lost this is not anything more than that.

* Well, on that question about getting funding from the federal reserve fund for instance, I spoke with Congressman Rodney Davis today, he said you know it’s a good program glad the state’s looking into it but he says it still doesn’t take away the bad policies the state’s had in place for decades that have led to a lot of the underfunding that’s happened, even before the pandemic. Is it time to reassess those programs and the policies that have been in place to, you know, ensure that we’re ready for any other possible pandemics or any other disasters that may be down the pike?…

First of all, once again, if all we did was restore the state to where would have been, we still would have challenges, no doubt about it. And that’s not something that’sstarted this year, right, that’s something that existed for years before I became governor. So I think that Congressman Davis probably does understand that balancing the budget is a hugely important goal of mine, that I’ve been focused on since before I became governor. We balanced the budget we put the only budget that I put forward the first budget that I put forward, was a balanced budget and indeed, even reporting you could look at COGFA for numbers and others even reporting, up to the time of the pandemic. We were on track to have a mild surplus in the state something that hasn’t happened for a long time, which would have been used to pay down some of our bills. We were on track to do better. Obviously everybody has a different opinion about how much you should do how fast, and so on. But here we are. Look, here we are, we have to take care of people in our state, who need us. This is what government is for.

* After this is done, is it time to reassess the policies that have led to before the pandemic the incredible financial problems that the states had?…

Yeah. And as I say you know when you set aside, it’s hard to do that but setting aside the question of the effect that the pandemic has had on our budget, if you were able to put that aside, we’ve been making progress. And again we have differences of opinion about how fast that progress is and what we ought to be doing.

This is not a business though I want to be clear. Running government is not like running a business, you would take maybe different measures if you’re running a business here. Our job is to take care of people or, that is to say people who are in need, people who are falling through the cracks people who are in extreme poverty, people who now have lost their jobs, people who need medical care who no longer have insurance. So our job is to provide those services for them in government and so for people who want to make massive cuts in government today, think about who you’re doing that to you’re doing that to the middle class you’re doing that to the working class you’re doing that to the people who need government the most.

* Ohio has just canceled their 2020 State Fair, when do you expect to make a formal decision on the state fair here in Illinois, and if so, if it’s canceled, how do you comply with the state law that says the fair shall be held in DuQuoin and Springfield?…

We’re working on that now. I don’t have an answer for you, we’re still trying to figure out what we can do if there’s something we can do. But again, on the current situation of phase two, moving into phase three, we couldn’t do it within that timeframe, but it isn’t scheduled for that timeframe. So I’m very hopeful once again I’ve said all along that the greatest thing that would happen and I hope everybody will put this in their prayers today, would be an effective treatment and or a vaccine. Because if that happens, then we can do things like have. [garbled] So I do think it’d be something you may cancel it, but then revisit it and see if we can postpone it or something to that effect I think all of us enjoy the state fair so I mean I would love to make it happen. We just have to, you know, do the best we can.

* We’ve received a lot of calls from youth sports leagues wondering what specifications are in place for when phase three and 10 person gathering sizes are happening, mainly Have there been they’ve been wondering if there will only be 10 on a field or multiple groups of 10, can you offer any clarification, when it comes to the phase three for gatherings, when it comes to sports?…

We’re certainly working with IDPH to make sure that summer sports, to the extent we can do it with 10 or fewer people. You know that we want to make that happen. Again more outdoor activity within the parameters of what the epidemiologists are saying. I think it will be difficult to have crowds in the stand watching those games, but I know that there are literally games and other sports during the summer that perhaps could happen. And again we’re we’re working with IDPH or IDPH is working with folks who run those games to make sure that you know if you can do it that they’re done safely.

* Do you have a sort of apologies to those states [Florida, Georgia] for saying that they’re doing this wrong and jumping the gun and reopening their states?…

Well I think I expressed my deep concern and I think now you’re seeing that in Florida perhaps the data isn’t accurate. Right. They fired the person who was managing the data, and she says it was because she was reporting trying to report it accurately and couldn’t. So I look I can’t speak to you know the comparison I can only tell you that we’re in our state doing the best we can to open carefully. We’re not an outlier in any way there are many states that are following our lead and I think doing it in the right way. But look, our number one consideration again is to keep people out of the hospital and make sure that we are providing the healthcare service that people need and hopefully we can continue to reduce the outbreaks.

* When are state employees going to be back to work?…

In phase three there we bring it back. As you’ve seen DNR as we will open all the state parks, all the DNR employees will be back. We’re moving people back as fast as we can. But to be clear. Just as with offices, remember as we open in phase three lots of offices, businesses that are in offices have to follow certain social distancing guidelines and therefore telework will continue. That’s very likely to continue for state workers as well.

* Fox 32, numerous construction workers in the Chicago area are driving up to Wisconsin every day to work on a large construction project on your Kenosha County horse farm. You’ve been vocal about urging Illinois residents to not cross borders. Does this travel square with your advice? Are you concerned they’re traveling to a state that is essentially opened up?…

Well, first of all, they’re operating an essential function. Construction is an essential function. And second of all, they’re union employees that are going to do the work that they do. And I’ve never said that people can’t cross the border into another state. That’s not something I’ve said, I have urged people against crossing the border and going into situations in which there’s no social distancing, aren’t wearing, following any of these rules right away, not wearing face coverings not washing their hands. So you know all the things that can be happening in Wisconsin because they have literally no orders in place as far as I understand, except perhaps in certain local areas.

[That was some weak oppo. He’s paying unionized Illinois construction workers during a recession! The horror!]

* Governor a deal has been reached on workers compensation that enshrines the gist of what you wanted in your emergency rule with the ability for businesses to give a rebuttal. Do you regret putting that workers’ comp rule forward since it was ultimately struck down by a judge and worked out among stakeholders anyway?…

Well I’m glad that both sides were able to work on getting something done. Because that ultimately that’s the best solution for all. As you know we’ve been working in pandemic time right I mean everything is moving very fast, every day is like a week. And so we have to get things done, decisions need to be made. And so, you know, look, glad that we’re finally, we’ve got the right answer.

* Chicago’s mayor is still hopeful the tweaks for the Chicago casino will get legislative approval what’s going on with the negotiation?…

I can tell you this that I have encouraged every legislator that I talked to make sure that Chicago was able to get the casino bill passed. And it’s very important I think for not only for the city of Chicago, for their pensions, but also for jobs that will get created. And of course for the capital program for the state. Again, eventually casinos will reopen. I can’t tell you exactly when, but just by passing that bill at least give Chicago the ability to build the [garbled] to locate it. I don’t know where they will, and then build that casino. So I’m very much in favor and I want people to know that this is a hugely important priority for the city of Chicago.

* Dave Dahl wants to know what exactly can get done in a day and a half?…

Who has that question? [Dave Dahl, he was told.] He should know that miracles can happen in a day and a half in Springfield. I’ve only had one May in Springfield and we’ve seen an awful lot can happen in a day and a half.

* The Archdiocese of Chicago submitted a plan for what he wants to do in phase three, we’ve heard from other faith groups who expect to be given the same provisions will they have the same provisions in phase three as the Catholic Church?…

It’s appropriate that’s the question right after the miracles. But the answer is that the Catholic Church, I mean every church is different, and mosques and synagogues. And so we’ve tried to provide guidance where we’ve been asked. The city, I mean sorry that the Archdiocese of Chicago, did a terrific job with their plan, very detailed webinars and lots of detail. So I hope that other churches will take that lead from the Archdiocese.

* The AG removed Rep Bailey’s lawsuit against you to federal court and Bailey’s lawyers have asked to keep it in state court. Why remove the case to federal court, any response to Bailey’s latest request to keep it in state court?…

I mean, it’s the attorney general’s office who handles these things. It’s a legal manner. I would say, I think they they felt like there were federal issues at hand.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - GregN - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    Yet Trump voted by mail from his Florida address.

  2. - thoughts matter - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    Regarding child care issues -allowing more emergency child care to open up is not the same as allowing the parents to take their child to the child care center of their choice, or even to one in their area. A child is not a plant that just needs watered. Parents don’t want to take their child to a stranger, they want to take their child to their preferred provider.

  3. - GADawg - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:10 pm:

    Why is it safe for the General Assembly to meet over the course of three days, with safety precautions and social distancing in place, and not for churches to do so for an hour a week, with the same type precautions in place?

  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:13 pm:

    === Why is it safe===

    The GA is designated an essential.

    Places of worship are currently not.

    Please start there. With respect.

  5. - Molly Maguire - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:16 pm:

    I’ve talked to child care providers, and the emergency child care is very tiny, and has strict requirements that would not allow 95% of parents to participate.

  6. - Molly Maguire - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    Why is Pritzker talking so fast? It’s like someone told him he is long-winded, and instead of talking less and giving shorter answers, he just sped up. Overall, he goes on way too long, gives way too much detail, and should have other people doing the bulk of this heavy lifting. He’s way overexposed as the governor of the state, in my opinion.

  7. - Left Center Right - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    That’s the problem. Churches are a lot more essential to our well being than the General Assembly

  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:19 pm:

    === Churches are a lot more essential===

    1) Opinion

    2) Only *one* GA… lots of places of worship

  9. - Left Center Right - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:24 pm:

    With respect. If you can’t turn to the church during this time of need, when can you ??

  10. - GregN - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:24 pm:

    Left Center Right:
    Speak for yourself. Some of us regard churches/religion as part of the problem on many levels.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    === If you can’t turn to the church during this time of need===

    When having 10 or more people together can spread a virus deemed a global pandemic?

  12. - GregN - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    === If you can’t turn to the church during this time of need===

    The lord helps those who help themselves.

  13. - BlueStreet - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    Pritzker believes the General Assembly is more important than churches and faith life, hence the not nonessential. He believes government is more important. This is incredibly shortsighted. Many people, on both sides of the political aisle, think going to church is essential. When a giant church that can seat 1000 people can’t have 100 people in it, all practicing social distancing, when other places of business and the GA can do this, is hypocritical. It makes no sense. Treat them the same.

  14. - Pundent - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    =He’s way overexposed as the governor of the state, in my opinion.=

    He’s out there every day and has been for over two months now. I’m sure there’s a link between approval on the virus response and the governor’s willingness to address the state every day even when the message is dour and may not change from day to day. He’s giving us the choice of listening to his daily briefings or tuning them out. Be grateful that we have that choice.

  15. - Bourbon Street - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:33 pm:

    @GADawg. First, in terms of possibly spreading the virus, my understanding is that the size of the building and how well the building is ventilated matters. Unlike many houses of worship, the Bank of Springfield Center is spacious. Second, the number of people attending the session is a fixed number and access to the House floor can be easily restricted. Churches may have a harder time restricting access. Third, singing in an enclosed space can be a high risk activity because singing may spread the coronavirus further than six feet. I can’t imagine that a government official would want to ban singing as that order could be seen as trying to dictate how people should worship.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:33 pm:

    === Pritzker believes the General Assembly is more important than churches and faith life, hence the not nonessential. He believes government is more important.===



    The functionality of the state legislature (one body, two chambers) is essential for *any* state and reason enough to allow “group meet”

    If you’re so devout in faith, Matthew 18:20 covers you to practicing?

    Essentially, Matthew says…”For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

    … but it’s not essentially, that’s what Matthew 18:20 says.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:37 pm:

    === He’s way overexposed as the governor of the state, in my opinion.===

    Then we don’t see the Governor for three days running during a once a century global pandemic… “where is the Governor? Why haven’t we see him”

    Can’t win.

  18. - BlueStreet - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    OW: Fair point with scripture, but it still doesn’t make sense that Lowes can have 100 people but a giant church can’t have 25% capacity. The Menards in Springfield has a sign that says capacity: 500. People can walk side by side in Menards but people can practice better social distancing at church because you are locked in one spot. It’s ridiculous.

  19. - Pundent - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    =Pritzker believes the General Assembly is more important than churches and faith life, hence the not nonessential.=

    When I hear Cardinal Cupich make this claim I might consider it. You do know the Vatican was closed as well?

  20. - GADawg - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    I’m really looking for consistency. You can buy clothes at Wal-Mart, but not Kohl’s or the locally owned clothing store. For government bodies across the state, virtual meetings are okay, but not for the General Assembly. I am all for taking precautions, and do not want to see anybody at risk. But there is still inconsistency in applying the rules. I also know the Governor refers to the federal government’s definition of “essential”, but does he follow all other federal guidelines and definitions?

  21. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:40 pm:

    === Lowes===

    … deemed essential.

    That’s all I have. The administration has the rationale to consider.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:42 pm:

    === I’m really looking for consistency.===

    You’re really looking to thread a needle outside what is deemed essential.

    === I also know the Governor refers to the federal government’s definition of “essential”, but does he follow all other federal guidelines and definitions?===

    See for yourself. Both are available online.

    Research yourself, make your argument accordingly.

  23. - Bourbon Street - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:45 pm:

    @BlueStreet: Being locked in one spot is not a good thing because you do not know if the person sitting or standing next to you for an hour is asymptomatic. The briefer the contact with an infected person, the better.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:48 pm:

    It’s still as concerning as it was in March;

    Faith based on the attendance of the sheep for the shepherd, how much danger must a shepherd put the sheep in when Matthew 18:20 makes clear that attendance is not faith.

    As someone who will go to Mass, knowing the dangers of attending, I understand why online Mass is the right call.

    With respect to all. I, like you all, wavy everyone safe in worship.

  25. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:51 pm:

    ===For government bodies across the state, virtual meetings are okay, but not for the General Assembly===

    For crying out loud. Are you truly that dense?

  26. - Dr. Feelgood - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    Repeats need for federal money…
    Right after he wrongly accuses Republicans of having a policy of suppressing votes.
    Smart. Real smart

  27. - BlueStreet - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    @Bourbon Street: Not if the people are 6 feet away. At least that is what all the experts are saying. If you still believe someone sitting in a pew more than 6 feet away is a problem, then all these guidelines of 6 feet for social distancing are wrong.

    OW: I guess we’ll disagree in that church should be considered essential. No one has given a good answer to if Mendards can have 500 people, why can’t a church that seats 1000 have a limit of 100. If I can walk with 10 friends in a park next month, why can’t I sit in a pew with people 6 feet away from me? If I can sit next to someone outside at a food establishment and be 6 feet away, why can’t I be 6 feet away from someone in the pew? The answer of well because the Governor said so is exactly what I am getting it. His reasoning is flawed.

  28. - 44th - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:59 pm:

    Chop chop on the youth sports. All this studying studying. IDH is suddenly an expert on youth baseball? Come on, consult the leagues, there are plenty of ways of starting up and it doesn’t involve crowds in the stands. This is the point, you have to do the hard work on a micro level to make it all work. I know in my business we shut down way before the state mandated anything, and frankly we could go back even now, but it doesn’t make sense for our business. We will go back after restrictions are lifted frankly, but we have doctors, crisis management experts, etc. advising us along with common sense. My point being, a lot of people can figure things out, focus on areas like nursing homes that need help and stop with 30 day studies. Figure it out on a micro level. If not you lose your credibility and therefore people won’t follow the lawful orders, like that silly state rep.

  29. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 3:59 pm:

    ===No one has given a good answer to if Mendards can have 500 people, why can’t a church that seats 1000 have a limit of 100.===

    Viral load. Read up on it.

  30. - tea_and_honey - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:00 pm:

    Our church has actually had such good success with virtual services we just voted to continue it indefinitely. I’m sure small bible study groups will eventually start meeting in person again but I don’t know that we’ll ever go back to sitting in uncomfortable pews and having to wear “real clothes” in a large group on Sunday morning.

  31. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:03 pm:

    We do agree to disagree, no worries.

    But this?

    === No one has given a good answer to if Mendards can have 500 people, why can’t a church that seats 1000 have a limit of 100.===

    No, it’s explained in what is essential, your own *opinion* differs with that thought.

    Frankly, spending an hour and 10 minutes at Mass, for me, during this time, when I can seek my spiritual fulfillment via the internet with my parish, that’s safely practicing my faith.

    Attendance seems like Matthew’s warning about the hypocrites needing to be seen praying, as the Father knows what’s also done in private.

    Agree to disagree. Stay well.

  32. - low level - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:05 pm:

    The military has been using vote by mail since the Civil War. Any concerns raised by the Trump Republicans are nonsense.

  33. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:10 pm:

    JB announced phase 3 will allow for gatherings of 10 people for any reason. Presumably a church could open up with the pastor and 9 parishioners at a time. Granted it would make for a long Sunday for a church leader, but it might stop some of the bellyaching from those of you who refusing to acknowledge that live-streamed religious services are an acceptable substitute and are commonly available.

  34. - Proud Sucker - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:10 pm:

    Places of worship are not considered essential in the Federal guidance which the Governor used:

  35. - Responsa - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:16 pm:

    His overt attack on Republicans “generally speaking” may come back to bite him come Fair Tax vote time. Besides being untrue I don’t understand why he thinks insults are a good approach for attaining his goals and garnering support for his policies.

  36. - dbk - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:17 pm:

    Okay, so 2650 child care facilities x 10 = 26,500 capacity. I have difficulty believing this is the total capacity that will be required when office workers / parents of young children return to work in phase 3.

    I’d appreciate one of the two people the governor mentioned as having line responsibility for child care (Deputy Gov, first Assistant Deputy Gov)attending one of the pressers and getting down in the weeds about how this is going to work.

    Child care has emerged as one of the nation’s most important issues as states start reopening and requiring parents to return to work.

  37. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:26 pm:

    === His overt attack on Republicans “generally speaking” may come back to bite him come Fair Tax vote time.===

    In Illinois?

    Come November, the anti-Trump/Trumpkin voters might want a say to “tax the 3%”

    We’re at 16% unemployment.

  38. - Pundent - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:34 pm:

    =Besides being untrue I don’t understand why he thinks insults are a good approach for attaining his goals and garnering support for his policies.=

    I think this was what he was referring to:

    “They had a level of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

  39. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:34 pm:

    ===His overt attack on Republicans “generally speaking” may come back to bite him===

    It could, but it’s May, not November.

  40. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:39 pm:

    ==I don’t understand why he thinks insults are a good approach for attaining his goals and garnering support for his policies==

    See Trump, Donald.

    Nobody understands it. But apparently it sometimes works.

  41. - Jibba - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:52 pm:

    “Right after he wrongly accuses Republicans of having a policy of suppressing votes.”

    If you think this has not been an overt policy of Republicans nationwide, you’d better read a little. It might not have been necessary to be so critical, but it’s not like he is pushing away many R votes in the GA anyway.

  42. - Merica - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 4:53 pm:

    Rodney Davis didn’t have much to say when Rauner wasted/ran up a $9B tab of unpaid bills, he didn’t protest when Rauner gave out dozens of sweetheart leases to Springfield landlords, I’ve never heard him criticize Jim Thompson or the local units of government including police and firefighters in his district who double dip in those pension systems (still), why doesn’t he start there first and maybe we can all agree to cut the waste and corruption together instead of pointing the finger at the other side and taking no responsibility for the graft and gravy of our friends

  43. - Blue Girl in Red County - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 5:12 pm:

    ===Chop chop on the youth sports. All this studying studying. IDH is suddenly an expert on youth baseball? Come on, consult the leagues, there are plenty of ways of starting up and it doesn’t involve crowds in the stands. . .===

    I’m curious if Little League or other youth sports organizations have recommendations on how to move forward with play while protecting the players and the people they live with. Let’s remember - children do get COVID-19 and they spread it to others.

    As someone who played softball in her youth and has a lot of friends with kids in youth sports, I know that parents stay and watch practice and games, especially if the kids are in their younger years. Usually, it’s family who makes up “the crowd in the stands”. Will parents not be allowed to be present? And, how do you conduct the game while practicing social distancing? How do you put 6 feet distance between the batter, pitcher, and umpire while maintaining the integrity of the game? Do runners and those playing defense need to stay 6 feet away from each other? Who gives the space? The runner or the first baseman? You’ll probably need to expand the required social distance for the safety of players because physical exertion results in increased chance that droplets will be expelled beyond the 6 feet that occurs when someone is simply talking.

  44. - tea_and_honey - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 5:22 pm:

    Blue Girl

    Not to mention all the shared equipment. It’s more normal as kids get older and involved in travel ball for everyone to have their own bat and helmet but at the younger ages much of that is shared. Do you stop and disinfect between each batter? Do you disinfect the ball every time it is put in play?

  45. - Pundent - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 5:51 pm:

    =Right after he wrongly accuses Republicans of having a policy of suppressing votes.
    Smart. Real smart=

    Well the President has now stated that he’s going to withhold federal funding from states that expand voting by mail. Seems like this is becoming a package deal.

  46. - PoolBoy - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 6:09 pm:

    Mr. Governor says “you know” a lot. No, I don’t know. Sorry, pet peeve of mine.

    That is all.

  47. - P-town Cynic - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 6:50 pm:

    The argument about churches is all about viral load. See this case in Arkansas:
    Or why South Korea had a flair up, early on in their dealing with the public health crisis:

    When others say their rights are being trampled, you are trampling the rights of those around you. The mask and public health arguments, along with the church arguments speak to the inability to see that your rights can not and do not impede the rights of others. You have a right to practice a faith, but you do not have a right to endanger those around you. Even before the pandemic, one can practice their faith, but that does not mean I need Christian symbols or any religious symbols in public places. I’m okay with faith being practiced, but that does not trump my right to not practice and be healthy.

  48. - CJ - Thursday, May 21, 20 @ 10:48 pm:

    Love how no one is calling out Pritzker for spreading the lie about the firing of the Florida worker when she was fired for blatant insubordination.

  49. - 44th - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 7:33 am:

    Tea and Blue. Good questions. Coincidently we had a meeting on opening up some play last night. Some are working on protocols where no sharing equipment. Limit sharing of balls. Nobody on the benches One parent or parents have to stay in the car to watch. Some of the older teams actually rented some fields in Indiana. Probably thought out enough to start some practicing next month. Leagues are hopeful to work out protocols so that games can return in July. Fingers crossed.

  50. - Jibba - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 9:51 am:

    CJ…no one is calling out JB for spreading a “lie” because none of us knows the truth. She says one thing and DeSantis says another. Time will tell who is right, so you’re jumping the gun a bit, but it is odd that a governor knows so much detail about a low level employee unless he is covering up.

  51. - LibertyBlue - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    @Thoughts Matter - agree with you 100% that children are not plants that can easily be replanted. No parent wants to enroll their young children in a new daycare facility. Children need their routine, caretakers they are familiar with, their friends. In smaller towns, emergency daycares are full. Spots are being reserved for children of police, fire, and hospital staff. Waiting lists are long. And if you are lucky to enroll, for how long? A month? This can be very traumatic for kids. I fear smaller daycares with reduced numbers will simply close due to overhead cost. I expect access to daycare providers will be a compounding issue.

  52. - Huh? - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    “Running government is not like running a business”

    Finally, a business man who understands the role of government and the reality that government can’t be run like a business.

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* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* 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"
* 1,622 new cases, 86 additional deaths
* *** UPDATED x1 *** What in the heck is going on in Rockford?
* COVID-19 roundup
* All metro areas reporting record high unemployment rates
* School seclusion and restraint bill derailed after opposition
* Attorney DeVore asks appellate court to dissolve another TRO
* Question of the day
* Madigan issues new guidance to members, staff
* Architects abandon alternative reopening plan
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* House of worship attendance limit expected to be removed from stay at home order
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Sheriffs file suit against state for refusing to accept jail transfers
* Pritzker says IDPH has offered "suggestions" to churches - Says he's received "pushback" from some private nursing homes - IDPH will file new rule on nursing homes - Still looking at what to do about IDPH rule - Dodges question about Willie Wilson - Employers should use "common decency" when bring workers back - Will wait on feds before making any more budget decisions - Central Illinois hospitalization numbers improve - "We might potentially have to move backwards in the phases - "Not our intention" to make changes to Phase 4 guidance - No plans to dine at restaurant this weekend - No decision about ending daily briefing - Repeats that he has never encouraged police enforcement - Suggests GOP demand for IDES audit could be a "political move" - Still pondering school reopening - All testing is free - Asked about dangers of Legionella in large buildings - Testing and tracing metrics are "internal goals" - Points to federal rules on unemployment and workers who refuse to return - "Difficult for us to open theaters in the near future" - Dr. Ezike talks rules for malls - Dr. Ezike monitoring outbreak at county jail with ICE detainees
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