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Syverson appears to claim state is “adjusting” positivity rate

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* Wut?

A state Senator from a region slated for additional COVID-19 restrictions from the Pritzker administration says the governor has too much power flipping the COVID-19 restriction switch. […]

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office on Tuesday announced that starting Saturday, Region 1, which includes counties in the northwestern-most part of the state, will have added COVID-19 restrictions such as limits on restaurants and bars. Schools are not impacted by the new mitigations. That’s similar to measures still in place for Region 4 and what was put in place but repealed weeks later in Region 7. […]

“The state with this new power, they can shut any community down anytime they want just by adjusting the positivity rate,” Syverson said. “It makes no sense. These are bureaucrats making bureaucratic decisions.”

And Tom Skilling controls the weather. Right.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* Tribune

The Democratic chairman of the Illinois House special committee investigating Speaker Michael Madigan’s conduct in connection with an alleged Commonwealth Edison bribery scheme blocked an effort by Republicans to legally compel the powerful Democrat and others to testify.

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside ruled Tuesday that a motion by Republicans to subpoena witnesses was out of order, and didn’t allow a vote. The move comes after Madigan and several other potential witnesses declined invitations to appear voluntarily.

* The Question: Should Madigan and other witnesses be subpoenaed by the committee? Make sure to explain yourself. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


New ads in Rodney Davis district

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* NRCC…

Hi!

Betsy Dirksen Lobbyist, who has taken thousands from Mike Madigan’s cronies under federal investigation, keeps a tight circle of other fellow lobbyists, including her corporate lobbyist husband.

And now they’re funding her campaign.

Lobbyist family, lobbyist friends, lobbyist money – that’s Besty Dirksen Lobbyist.

* Rod Blagojevich makes an appearance as well

Script…

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan sure knows a lot of lobbyists. Betsy was a lobbyist and political fundraiser tied to corrupt politicians. Betsy’s husband, another lobbyist. He worked as a top aide to Rod Blagojevich. Yikes, that’s his campaign is bankrolled by her lobbyist friends. She’s taken thousands from lobbyists under federal investigation for corruption and a rape coverup. Lobbyist, family, lobbyist, friends, lobbyist money. That’s Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. The NRCC is responsible for the content of this average.

I really do not like this trend of dragging family members into campaigns.

* As an aside, the GOP can’t figure out if Rod is a bad guy or a good guy…

* Back to the ads. Press release…

Today, Rodney Davis’ campaign for Congress released a new ad titled “Pam,” which highlights Betsy Londrigan’s support for a government-run insurance plan that could force the closure of over half of America’s rural hospital, including 39 in Illinois. The ad also highlights Rodney’s record of strengthening rural hospitals and protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Ad

Script…

Pam: As a nurse, I want the best care for my patients. That’s why I won’t vote for Betsy Londrigan.

Londrigan supports a government-run health insurance plan that could force rural hospitals to close and take away your choice of doctors. Betsy Londrigan’s liberal plans would jeopardize your family’s care.

Rodney Davis is fighting to strengthen rural hospitals and protect those with pre-existing conditions. Rodney Davis is on our side.

* Londrigan response…

Rodney Davis and his allies are currently airing misleading attacks against Betsy and her family in an attempt to distract voters from the fact that Rodney Davis’ own family received over one million dollars in PPP loans, which Davis repeatedly voted against disclosing to the public.

Davis voted against the TRUTH Act, which was intended to bring much-needed transparency and oversight of funds to the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as against the formation of a House committee to oversee coronavirus relief spending.

“Instead of explaining why he repeatedly voted to hide that his family took more than $1 million in PPP loans, Rodney Davis and his party bosses are airing misleading attacks against Betsy and her family,” said campaign spokeswoman Eliza Glezer. ”Davis’ allies are desperately trying to distract from his record of votes against transparency for the Paycheck Protection Program, but taxpayers in Central Illinois won’t fall for it.”

Um, that story broke in July.

* On to the DCCC…

When asked about the President only paying $750 in federal income taxes, Congressman Rodney Davis brushed aside any concerns that many working and middle-class families in Central Illinois pay more in taxes, saying that “those are things [he’s] happy to address in Washington.”

But Davis has had his chance to address that in Washington and instead he voted for his party’s massive tax handout to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations.

Davis’ vote was also considered “a major victory for pharma manufacturers” and gave a tax break to the top five pharmaceutical companies to the tune of $42.7 billion – the same industries that bankroll Davis’ campaign.

“Either Rodney Davis is on the side of working families in Central Illinois or he’s with the wealthiest few that bankroll his campaign. Judging by his votes in Washington, we know where his loyalties lie. For Congressman Davis to claim otherwise is a bad joke and nobody’s laughing,” said DCCC Spokesperson Courtney Rice.

Video…


Speaker Pelosi’s Super PAC has a new ad attacking Davis, but I couldn’t find it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


Pritzker says he “strongly” believes Madigan should testify to House Special Investigating Committee

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* From Gov. Pritzker’s press conference today

Q: Should Speaker Madigan testify before the House Special Investigating Committee? Why or why not?

A: Well, let me just say this, that I think it’s incumbent upon all of us as elected leaders, as people who represent the people of Illinois, to work to restore public trust in government at every level.

I think it’s an important opportunity that this committee in the House receive testimony, and it’s an opportunity to get answers that I think the public deserves to get. You’ve heard me talk about that in the past. And I really, I strongly believe that the speaker should take any opportunity, and this is one, to present answers to the questions that I think you know, all of us have.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


2,273 new cases, 35 additional deaths, 1,632 in hospitals, 3.6 percent positivity rate, IDPH issues Halloween guidance

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 2,273 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 35 additional confirmed deaths.

    Bureau County: 1 female 80s
    Carroll County: 1 male 70s
    Champaign County: 1 female 80s
    Cook County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 100+
    DeKalb County: 1 male 90s
    DuPage County: 1 female 80s
    Effingham County: 1 female 70s
    Fayette County: 1 female 70s, 2 females 80
    Greene County: 2 females 70s
    Grundy County: 1 male 80s
    Jackson County: 1 female 60s
    Jersey County: 2 female 90s
    Lake County: 1 male 70s
    Lawrence County: 1 male 70s
    Macon County: 1 female 80s
    Madison County: 2 males 80s
    Peoria County: 1 male 80s
    St. Clair County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
    Tazewell County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
    Will County: 1 female 70s, 2 males 70s
    Williamson County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s
    Woodford County: 1 male 80s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 293,274 cases, including 8,672 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from September 23 – September 29 is 3.6%. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 58,546 specimens for a total of 5,624,822. As of last night, 1,632 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 378 patients were in the ICU and 152 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

IDPH has been closely monitoring the Region 6 data. As has been noted, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is performing repeated saliva testing for staff and students. This is resulting in a tremendous number of tests, which can average up to 20% of all tests done in the state during some weeks. Because of this high volume, the positivity rate for Region 6 could be overshadowed by what is happening at UIUC. Therefore, in addition to providing data for Region 6, IDPH is now presenting data for Region 6 without Champaign County. However, Champaign County will still be required to implement mitigation efforts if regional metrics are tripped in Region 6.

In doing this, IDPH has found that Region 6, with Champaign County included, is seeing a 2.0% 7-day rolling test positivity average. Without Champaign County, Region 6 is seeing a 7.2%, which puts the region at risk for needing to implement additional mitigation measures, including no indoor bar service or dinning at restaurants, and limiting the size of event gatherings. IDPH is encouraging local leaders and communities in Region 6 to begin taking action now to reduce the test positivity rate, which includes making sure people are wearing masks in public, maintaining social distance, and not gathering in large groups.

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IDPH is now reporting separately both confirmed and probable cases and deaths on its website. Reporting probable cases will help show the potential burden of COVID-19 illness and efficacy of population-based non-pharmaceutical interventions. IDPH will update these data once a week.

*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. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

* Press release…

As we head into the holiday season, starting with Halloween, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is issuing guidance to help people celebrate safely as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidelines include following the 3 W’s – Wash your hands. Watch your distance. Wear your mask.

“One of the hallmarks of holidays and celebrations is gathering with friends, family and loved ones,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We are still in a pandemic, and unfortunately, this year, that means the safest way to celebrate is to stay home and plan virtual gatherings. That said, IDPH recognizes that some who will choose to gather together anyway, and instead of denying that reality, we are issuing guidance and recommendations for safer ways to celebrate together in person. Remember, we know what our best tools are: wearing our masks, keeping our distance, limiting event sizes, washing your hands, and looking out for public health and each other.”

If you think you could have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, do not participate in any in-person Halloween activities.
Trick-or-treating

    - Anyone participating in trick-or-treating, including those passing out candy, should maintain 6-feet of social distance and wear proper face coverings.
    - Consider leaving individually wrapped candy (spaced apart) on a table in driveways or in front of walkways, sidewalks, or any outdoor space where 6-feet of distance can be maintained.
    - A Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Ensure that breathing is not impaired if a cloth mask is worn under a costume mask. If so, discard the costume mask.
    - Trick-or-treat in groups with household members only.
    - Candy collected during trick-or-treating should not be eaten until after handwashing.

An alternative to traditional trick-or-treating is to set up in a large parking lot or other outdoor setting with tables with individually wrapped candy (spaced apart) where participants with a parent/guardian can parade past while still keeping 6-feet of distance and wearing a face covering. It’s suggested to offer reserved time slots to limit everyone showing up at once.
Haunted Houses

    - Halloween haunted houses currently are not allowed in Restore Illinois Phase 4 Guidelines.
    - Consider open-air, one-way haunted forests or haunted walks where 6-feet of distance can be maintained and face coverings are used.

Adult costume parties, social gatherings, Halloween parties at bars

    - Gatherings of more than 50 people or 50% or more of a building’s maximum occupancy are prohibited. (Lower limits may apply for regions in additional mitigation.)
    - The more time you spend at a gathering, the closer the contact, the more people, the higher your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
    - Follow small social gathering safety tips from IDPH.
    Pumpkin patches and orchards
    - Cloth face coverings and social distancing should be enforced.
    - Use hand sanitizer before handling pumpkins, apples, and other produce.
    Hayrides
    - Hayrides should not exceed 50% capacity with parties spaced at least six feet apart.
    - Wear face coverings at all times when around people not from your household.

After participating in any of the above activities, if you think that you may have been exposed during your celebration, take extra precautions for 14 days after the event to help protect others. You should:

    • Stay home as much as possible.
    • Avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
    • Consider getting tested for COVID-19.

…Adding… The revelation that the state is not using UIUC data has been brought up in comments. In addition to what was mentioned above, there’s also this

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s saliva-based COVID-19 test has never operated under emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, despite prior claims that it did, an FDA spokesperson tells Illinois Newsroom. […]

But in response to questions from Illinois Newsroom about the EUA status of U of I’s saliva test, an FDA spokesperson said in an email: “The University of Illinois is not authorized under an umbrella EUA, and they have not had an EUA.”

In an emailed statement, Robin Kaler, a spokesperson for the U of I’s Urbana campus, says faculty and staff relied on an Aug. 5 email from the FDA stating that the campus could perform a “bridging study” — comparing the efficacy of its own saliva test to one that has been authorized by the FDA.

Kaler says the university compared its saliva test to one created at Yale University, which received emergency use authorization from the FDA on Aug. 15. After the bridging study was completed, the university’s regulatory and compliance consultant advised faculty and administrators that they could claim that the university’s COVID-19 test was operating under the umbrella of the test created by Yale University.

Kaler says the FDA reached out to the U of I via phone this month and asked the university to discontinue using the terms “bridging study” and “umbrella.” At that point, the university updated its language to remove references to its test operating under the umbrella of an FDA EUA test.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


Money becoming a factor in Kilbride retention

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* Greg Hinz writes about the Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride retention race

Now, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce has called a press conference for tomorrow to urge a “no” vote. In a preview phone call, chamber CEO Todd Maisch said Kilbride “has been a consistent supporter of organized labor and trial lawyers,” to the detriment of the state’s economy. “The state would have been much better served to have a more even-handed justice.” […]

Maisch said he wouldn’t “tip my hand” and indicate whether the chamber will open its wallet in the race. But in the last few days, several other big donors have, contributing heavily to a group urging a “no” vote run by former downstate GOP Rep. Jim Nowlan.

The biggest donor is Wisconsin businessman Dick Uihlein, a frequent giver to conservative causes and candidates, who gave $250,000. Just behind him is the Judicial Fairness Project, a dark-money group that does not disclose its own donors and gave $200,000 to Nowlan’s group, Citizens for Judicial Fairness.

The Chamber doesn’t currently have much of a wallet to open. Its PAC reported having $9,560.52 on hand at the end of June. Since then, it’s reported raising about $7500.

But Nowlan’s PAC has raised about half a million dollars so far, half of which came from Dick Uihlein.

Justice Kilbride’s committee has reported about three times that amount so far, $1.496 million. But the opponents don’t have to “win.” They just have to keep him from reaching 60 percent.

* More on Kilbride’s money

Tom Keefe’s firm in Swansea and John Simmons’s firm in Alton each contributed $100,000 to retention of Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride after he removed the limit on his contributors.

The Gori firm of Edwardsville added $82,500 to a stream of contributions that topped $1 million in a week.

Less than one percent of it came from the Third District where Kilbride and his voters live.

* And a bit of oppo from the ILGOP…

• Kilbride was the only justice to support allowing a man to sue an ambulance driver that he hit. A six-justice majority ruled that a hospital was not liable under the Local Governmental And Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act and set aside the jury verdict, but Kilbride was the only justice to agree with the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) – which had submitted an amicus brief – that a man should be allowed to sue after he was injured when he hit an ambulance responding to an emergency call. (Opinion, Harris v. Thompson, Illinois Supreme Court, Docket #112525, 6/21/12)
• Kilbride was the only justice to argue a Mississippi man who was injured in Mississippi and never worked in Illinois should be allowed to sue in Illinois. A six-justice majority ruled that St. Clair County was not an appropriate venue for an asbestos exposure case where the plaintiff lived in Mississippi, had worked in Mississippi, and had never been to Illinois beyond one month of engineering school in Homewood. Kilbride was the only justice to agree with an amicus brief filed by the ITLA that the plaintiff’s choice of forum should be given deference. (Opinion, Fennell v. Illinois Central R.R. Co., Illinois Supreme Court, Docket #113812, 12/28/12)
• Kilbride was the only justice to support giving workers compensation to a man who was injured on his own time driving to work. A six-justice majority ruled that a plumber who had taken a job 200 miles from his permanent residence was not entitled to workers compensation for injuries he sustained while commuting to work. Kilbride was the only justice to agree with an amicus brief by the ITLA that the plumber should be considered a traveling employee even though the employer did not direct his travel in any way or reimburse him for travel expenses. (Opinion, The Venture—Newberg-Perini, Stone & Webster v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, Illinois Supreme Court, Docket #115728 12/19/13)
• Kilbride was the only justice to agree that CSX railroad could be sued after a child trespassed on CSX’s railyard and injured himself while trying to jump onto a moving train. The Court initially unanimously ruled that a moving train was indeed an obvious danger and thus the railroads did not owe the plaintiff a duty of reasonable care, but Kilbride later changed his mind and said the railroad owed a duty of reasonable care to the child. (Opinion, Choate v. Indiana Harbor Belt R.R. Co., Illinois Supreme Court, Docket #112948, 11/26/12)
• Kilbride was the only justice to support allowing a personal injury suit against a dead man to proceed, despite the plaintiff failing to notify the decedent’s estate of her lawsuit and instead having her lawyer’s secretary appointed as a “special representative” for the estate. A six-justice majority ruled the lawsuit was time-barred because it was filed after the statute of limitations period, but Kilbride was the only justice to agree with an amicus brief by the ITLA that the plaintiff should be permitted to continue her lawsuit. (Opinion, Relf v. Shatayeva, Illinois Supreme Court, Docket #114925, 10/18/13)

* From the Kilbride campaign…

Republican law enforcement officials, judges and legal professionals warned against the influence of a shadowy dark money group that has funneled more than a half of million dollars into the state in an attempt to influence the retention campaign of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride.

Republicans including past Chief Judge Steve Kouri and former Kankakee State’s Attorney and retired Chief Judge Michael Kick joined prominent Peoria attorney Tim Bertschy, a past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, to decry the influx of out-of-state money being spent on false attacks by special interest groups attempting to influence Illinois’ highest court. It should be noted that donors from Washington, D.C and the state of Georgia are contributing to the shadowy dark money group, which begs the questions who is really behind this organization and why?

“Tom Kilbride has participated in over 1,800 cases while on the Supreme Court. His partisan critics can only point to a few decisions they don’t like, and these are cases which the Court decided unanimously or where Justice Kilbride was only one vote in a majority decision. I have known Tom Kilbride for over thirty years. He is a man of unquestioned integrity and honesty, both personally and professionally. He has a reputation for treating fairly all people and companies before him. He is non-partisan. He is independent. That is why even former Republican colleagues on the court support his re-election and why so many other people and organizations – of both political parties and independents – support him,” said Tim Bertschy, Peoria attorney and past president of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).

“All Illinoisans should be deeply concerned about anonymous special interests attacking Justice Tom Kilbride and an independent judiciary. As a judge, who was elected as a Republican, I reject in the strongest possible terms unfair attacks financed anonymously against Justice Kilbride and ask voters to send a message that our courts are not for sale. Vote YES to retain Justice Tom Kilbride,” said past Chief Judge Steve Kouri, 10th Judicial Circuit.

“As a former Kankakee County state’s attorney and judge, I’ve seen all aspects of our court system and have the highest confidence in Justice Tom Kilbride to fairly administer the law and treat everyone equally. The anonymous, big-money special interests that are distorting Justice Kilbride’s record and trying to mislead voters should be ashamed of themselves. Money can buy a lot of things, but it shouldn’t be used to buy our courts. Justice Tom Kilbride deserves a YES vote for retention on the Illinois Supreme Court,” said former Kankakee State’s Attorney and retired Chief Judge Michael Kick, 21st Judicial Circuit (representing Iroquois and Kankakee counties).

While dark money groups try and politicize the state’s highest court, the state’s top legal professional organization, three U.S. Attorneys, two former Chief Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court, a former Illinois Attorney General and more than two dozen law enforcement officials thought the 3rd Appellate District are supporting Kilbride. Additional endorsements can be found at www.kilbride2020.com.

* Nexstar

Former Congressman Ray LaHood said the [anti-Kilbride] committee will shine a light on the impacts on Central Illinois communities.

“His decisions regarding pensions have made it very difficult for communities like Peoria to meet their pension liabilities. His decision about pensions have now rendered every city in Illinois bankrupt because we can’t meet the pension liabilities,” said LaHood.

Kilbride responded Monday saying, “Ray LaHood, who enjoys a reported $125,000 annual tax-payer funded pension, has his facts wrong. The court’s 2015 pension decision was authored by a justice elected as a republican and was unanimous.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


A brief look at some legislative races

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* The Tribune took a quick look around

After winning a slew of suburban state legislative seats long held by Republicans in 2018, Illinois Democrats are looking to expand their reach even further in November as renewed controversy swirls around their powerful leader, longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Republicans for years have built their campaign strategy around vilifying Madigan, who has been speaker for all but two years since 1983, but it hasn’t paid off in a big way at the ballot box. This year, however, the GOP hopes its anti-Madigan message will resonate in a new way after federal prosecutors in July alleged that Commonwealth Edison engaged in a “yearslong bribery scheme” designed to curry favor with the speaker.

But Madigan, who has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing, is only on the ballot in his Southwest Side district, and Democrats are hoping to capitalize on a changing suburban electorate’s dissatisfaction with the name at the top of the Republican ticket: President Donald Trump. […]

“Voters across the state, and suburban voters in particular, are responding to the intersection of the pandemic, the economy and access to affordable health care,” [Senate President Don Harmon] said. “That’s been our message across the state. It’s resonating, especially in the suburbs.”

A snarky parlor game being played by some these days is guessing which number will be higher after the election: Membership in the Senate Republican caucus (currently at 19 with one on the bubble) or Madigan’s excess majority (currently at 14).

* Some of the spending has been horribly lopsided

* But at least one district is so pro-Trump that money may be a lesser factor than elsewhere

If you don’t subscribe to Scott Kennedy’s Illinois Election Data, you need to change that. Click here.

* Both parties are airing brutal ads. Here’s one from a week ago

Script…

They’re called the Eastern Bloc, a group of ultra-right-wing extremists. And Seth Lewis is their newest recruit. Their agenda? Dismantle Planned Parenthood and block women’s health care, strip away a woman’s right to choose even in cases of rape and incest. The Bloc are for unlimited gun access and against vaccinations for school children. And they’ve removed life-saving COVID protections for essential workers and seniors. Seth Lewis’ agenda? Radical, bizarre, dangerous.

* From the Daily Herald’s endorsement of Lewis, who is running against Democratic freshman Rep. Diane Pappas

He’s a moderate and personable Republican and strikes us as a fundamentally decent person.

You wouldn’t know it by the ads.

* And as I told subscribers this morning, some new oppo was released in the Metro East yesterday

As focus of a local celebrity roast more than three years ago, Monica Bristow downed six shots of Fireball whiskey while listening to several roasters, one of whom said she “drinks all the time.” […]

However, one of the most controversial statements made by Bristow during the Jan. 19, 2017 roast, held as a fund-raiser for Pride, Inc. at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, was a joke she told about a retired teacher whose remains were found inside a vehicle in the Mississippi River in 2005, three years after her disappearance. […]

“About Miss Bricker. I was Miss Bricker’s favorite student…Miss Bricker was the one who met her end going into the river,” Bristow said at the roast. ”I shouldn’t do this but I’m gonna because I’ve had Fireball. She had no children so they’re not here.”

Bristow joked that Bricker was identified by lipstick on her teeth.

“I know it’s in poor taste,” Bristow said, “but I love that joke. God, I love that joke.”

Oy.

But will the HGOPs have enough cash to make sure people hear about it?

That district is in the St. Louis media market, and those TV ads ain’t cheap.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Drug sentencing reform is topic of Senate hearing

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* Center Square

A joint hearing of the Senate Criminal Law and Public Safety Committees on Tuesday took up the subject of drug sentencing reform.

The meeting was a subject-matter only hearing, meaning it was for informational purposes and no legislative remedies were proposed or voted upon.

Ben Ruddell, criminal justice policy director with the American Civil Liberties Union, called for the reduction of penalties for all drug offenses.

“Our recommendation is reforms for all drug offenses to take them down by at least one class, including reducing simple possession from a felony to a misdemeanor,” Ruddell said.

* Capitol News Illinois

“While Black Illinoisans make up 14.5 percent of the state’s population, they make up 54.8 of those in prison and are imprisoned at 8.8 times the rate of whites, one of the worst disparities of any state,” [Ben Ruddell, director of criminal justice policy for the Illinois ACLU] said.

Isolated to drug crimes, the disparities are larger. Between 2016 and 2018, Black Illinoisans made up 69 percent of drug offenders admitted to the Illinois Department of Corrections, and 59 percent of strictly cannabis offenders.

Ruddell suggested three reforms to combat these disparities: reduction of all drug crimes by one class; reclassification of felony possession to a misdemeanor; and elimination of mandatory minimums and sentence enhancements. Lawmakers discussed the third point in a previous joint hearing. […]

[Wendell Robinson from Restore Justice Illinois] cited a Justice Policy Institute study of 200 elderly prisoners in Maryland who were jailed as juveniles and released as result of a ruling by the Maryland Supreme Court. The median age of the individuals was 64 and they had served 34 years on average. Over a 6-year period upon release, the group had a 3 percent recidivism rate. That was far lower than the national average of 43 percent of those released from prison being incarcerated again, according to a 2011 Pew research study.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


House Special Investigating Committee coverage roundup

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* Center Square

An Exelon official testified before a legislative committee on Tuesday that the utility entered a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors as a result of a nearly ten-year-long bribery scheme intended to influence House Speaker Michael Madigan, but said the utility didn’t know if Madigan was aware of the effort.

In the first substantive testimony before the House Special Investigating Committee regarding the ComEd bribery scandal that federal prosecutors revealed this summer, committee chairman state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, asked utility executive David Glockner a direct question.

“There’s nothing anywhere in the deferred prosecution agreement that establishes personal knowledge by Speaker Madigan, correct?” Welch asked.

“I would agree with that,” said Glockner, executive vice president of compliance and audit for Exelon, the parent company of ComEd.

State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, went a bit further.

“Is it fair to say that Commonwealth Edison paid over $1.3 million at least in part to influence Michael Madigan’s actions as speaker of the house?” Mazzochi asked.

“Yes,” Glockner said.

* Capitol News Illinois

Mazzochi asked Glockner about a section in the DPA that stated that “Consultant 1,” identified as former City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty, “had ‘every reason to believe’ that Individual A had spoken to Public Official A about the retention of Public Official A’s associates.”

“Is it reasonable to infer that Mr. Madigan had knowledge of the scheme from that, from ComEd’s perspective?” Mazzochi asked.

Glockner said he wasn’t in a position to comment on that inquiry.

“ComEd has acknowledged repeatedly through the agreement that it believed or intended to influence the speaker through its conduct. Whether it in fact … influenced the speaker, whether the speaker was aware of its intent to influence – those are questions that I’m not in a position to comment on,” Glockner said.

* Tribune

Glockner hewed closely to the deferred prosecution agreement ComEd entered into in July with federal prosecutors, but avoided comment on whether the utility’s efforts had the intended effect on Madigan.

“ComEd acknowledges repeatedly through the agreement that it believed or it intended to influence the speaker through its conduct,” Glockner told the six-member special investigating committee. “Whether it, in fact, influenced the speaker, whether the speaker was aware of its intent to influence, those are questions I don’t think I’m in a position to comment on.” […]

In an opening statement, Durkin said that if Democrats set partisan interests aside, they would see there was sufficient evidence to support a charge that would send Madigan before a disciplinary committee.

“In order to discredit ComEd’s admissions, you would have to believe that Michael Madigan didn’t know what was going on around him,” Durkin said. “You know Michael Madigan. He’s not ignorant of what’s going on around him. He is not naive. And he is not easily surprised.”

* Finke

Once Durkin was finished, Welch thanked him and said he looks forward to Durkin returning in the future and testifying under oath. Welch has suggested Durkin be called as a witness because he helped pass legislation that was beneficial to Commonwealth Edison. The legislation is mentioned in the deferred prosecution agreement.

* Sun-Times

State House Speaker Mike Madigan’s former hand-picked alderman was named Tuesday as one of the powerful Southwest Side Democrat’s associates who was on ComEd’s payroll despite doing little or no work.

Testifying before the Illinois House committee investigating Madigan, David Glockner, ComEd’s executive vice president of compliance and audit, identified Frank Olivo as one of the people who received some of the $1.3 million that the utility paid to Madigan’s associates in what amounted to a ghost-payrolling scheme at a time when ComEd was seeking the speaker’s support for legislation.

Glockner declined to confirm whether the Frank Olivo he identified as Associate No. 2 in the utility company’s deferred prosecution agreement was the former 13th Ward alderman.

But a federal subpoena issued to Madigan’s office named Olivo as well — and tied him to Madigan’s 13th Ward.

* WTTW

Democrats also questioned Glockner about whether ComEd hired lobbyists who were close to legislative leaders other than Madigan and whether Durkin had recommended any hires. The answer was yes.

The Democratic legislators on the committee also indicated they plan in the future to call Durkin as a witness, given his role negotiating the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), an item referenced in the DPA as beneficial to ComEd and which passed during the latter portion of the bribery scheme.

* WBEZ has a lot of details

Glockner, for the first time, publicly identified specific subcontracts ComEd had with Madigan allies for whom no work product could be identified, including Madigan operative Raymond Nice, former Chicago Ald. Michael Zalewski and Frank Olivo, though it was not clear whether he was referring to the ex-13th Ward alderman or his son of the same name. All were paid through the lobbying firm once owned by former ComEd lobbyist and City Club of Chicago head Jay Doherty, Glockner said. […]

In another new disclosure, Glockner identified that other no-work contracts to associates of Madigan were funneled through four Springfield lobbying firms owned by the speaker’s close friend, ComEd lobbyist Michael McClain; lobbyist Victor Reyes; former Madigan staffer Shaw Decremer; and ex-state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion.

None of those individuals have been charged in connection with the federal investigation, and Glockner declined to give details about those particular arrangements. […]

And in one other new development, Glockner confirmed ComEd had received an email from a Madigan office assistant encouraging the company to place former McPier chief Juan Ochoa on ComEd’s board of directors. Ochoa was on the utility’s board from April 2019 until last April.

* And Mark Brown has seen enough

A trio of Illinois House Democrats dug in their heels, buried their heads firmly in the sand and did their best Tuesday to ignore a litany of damning evidence against House Speaker Michael Madigan.

This was not a surprise. The three were named to an Illinois House Special Investigative Committee looking into Madigan’s dealings with Commonwealth Edison specifically for purposes of defending him.

The real question is how long the rest of their Democratic colleagues will continue with the charade.

Madigan needs to go.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Vote by mail applications top 2 million here

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* Whew…


* From WBEZ

[Deleted]

Those DuPage numbers are bonkers.

*** UPDATE *** Email…

Rich,

The numbers in the graph would, as you state, be “bonkers” if they were accurate, but they are not. The state report WBEZ referenced in their article appears to have been overstating DuPage’s reported mail-in ballot requests by a factor of 2. As of our most recent numbers this afternoon, 27.3% of DuPage registered voters have requested a mail-in ballot, still a quite large number, but in line with the trends in other counties. WBEZ has updated their story, and I am told that the state will be correcting their report later today.

Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions.

Regards,

Adam Johnson

Chief Deputy Clerk

DuPage County Clerk

Have you requested a VBM ballot yet?

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      


Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago turns thumbs down on “Fair Tax”

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* The group is actually upset that the proposed “Fair Tax” doesn’t raise enough money

A group of executives from the state’s leading employers on Tuesday came out against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax referendum, saying approval of the measure on the November ballot “all but promises that Illinois will not address its long-term financial challenges.”

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago said in a statement that its opposition to the proposal is “based on the state’s decades-long history of fiscal mismanagement.”

“The result will be further loss of jobs and people, long-term cuts in critical social services, a shrinking tax base burdened with growing debt and a guarantee that Illinois will continue to have the worst credit rating of any state in the country,” the group said.

* Don’t believe me? From its policy statement

Proponents of the amendment seem to think that a graduated income tax will do the trick, and that the projected $3.6 billion in additional revenue is enough to address the State’s financial difficulties. It is not.

* Press release…

Vote Yes For Fairness Chairman Quentin Fulks released the following statement in response to the Civic Committee:

“It’s no surprise that an organization of the wealthiest people in our state who have benefited from avoiding paying their fair share for 50 years is voicing their opposition to the Fair Tax. Instead of standing up for working people, the Civic Committee has repeatedly advocated for increasing the flat tax by 20% and implementing a retirement tax because they prefer to put the tax burden on our lower and middle-income families and seniors.

“The choice facing Illinois voters is clear: Either vote yes for the Fair Tax to ask the wealthiest in the state to pay their fair share and give a tax cut to 97% of Illinoisans, or let the millionaires and billionaires have their way and make hardworking families pay.”

See the Civic Committee’s report, where they advocate for increasing the flat tax and implementing a retirement tax, here.

* Tribune

The Civic Committee in a 2019 report called for an $8 billion package of tax increases, budget cuts and more funding for Illinois’ massively underfunded public employee pension systems to stabilize the state’s finances. That report called for increasing the flat-rate tax by 20%, from the current rate of 4.95% to 5.95%, as well as imposing the income tax on retirement income.

Both issues have surfaced in the debate over the fate of the proposed amendment.

Pritzker has noted that a 20% hike in the flat tax is an option, along with 15% across the board spending cuts, if voters reject the proposed amendment. At the same time, opponents have contended the amendment would open the state’s income tax to retirement income though Illinois does not tax retirement income and nothing in the amendment changes that law.

* Crain’s

While the committee’s [2019] proposal did call for pension reform, it would do so by boosting state contributions rather than cutting benefits. It also proposed establishment of a new, cheaper health insurance program for state workers; rapid consolidation of local governments to save money; and a full review of state spending it believes could save $1 billion.

Committee President Kelly Welsh said the decision to urge a “no” vote was reached after extensive discussions among a 90-person group. The organization will not buy ads, Welsh said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


Open thread

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* Keep it local, please. Be polite to each other, please. If you want to debate last night’s debate, please find another venue. Thank you kindly.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

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*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


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Outbreak traced to Lake County adult volleyball league

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* I didn’t realize bar volleyball was such a thing in Lake County

The Lake County Health Department is warning residents of several COVID-19 cases linked to adult volleyball leagues that competed in Gages Lake this month.

According to health officials, at least 14 people, who played or watched volleyball at Jesse Oaks Food and Drink in Gages Lake in September, tested positive for COVID-19.

“Of these cases, multiple people reported that they also played volleyball at other bar/restaurant locations, which could contribute to further spread of the virus,” Lake County officials said.

The facility is indoors.

* Northwest Herald

“We are currently working diligently to speak with infected individuals and notify close contacts who have been identified,” said Dr. Sana Ahmed, medical epidemiologist at the Lake County Health Department. “However, nearly 200 volleyball players and spectators may have been exposed. This could potentially be a large outbreak, and we need the public’s help to contain the spread of this virus.”

Health officials are asking that anyone who played volleyball at Jesse Oaks this month, or visited and did not wear a mask, to quarantine at home for 14 days from their last visit.

* Daily Herald

[Larry Mackey, director of environmental health at the county health department] said there is “some disagreement” as to whether the games taking place at Jesse Oaks were in violation of state guidelines, but the health department believes they were league games and therefore prohibited.

However, he said, no enforcement action are being taken against the establishment.

“They voluntarily agreed to stop the games for 14 days and we’re working with them to meet the guidelines,” Mackey added.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


After two-point positivity rate jump in two weeks, resurgence mitigation imposed on Region 1

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* Press release…

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are announcing COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 1, the northwestern most counties in Illinois, beginning Saturday, October 3, 2020. The region is seeing a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8% or above for three consecutive days, which exceeds the threshold set for establishing mitigation measures in the region under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan. This announcement follows last week’s warnings to local leaders that additional mitigation measures would be implemented if the region continued to see an increase in cases. Region 1 includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.

“The concerning uptick in Region 1’s positivity – jumping more than two percentage points in two weeks even as the majority of Illinois continues to see downward trends – demands increased efforts to stop the spread in our northwestern counties,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “As other regions have demonstrated, stricter mitigations will lead to safer communities when people mask up, keep their distance, wash their hands and respect public health. It is my hope that the residents of Region 1 can turn this situation around quickly, and Dr. Ezike and I continue to coordinate with local officials to make that happen.”

“COVID-19 spread can increase very quickly, as we’ve seen in some regions in the state, now including Region 1,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “As the pandemic continues, so must our fight against it: Please, don’t hold or attend large events or mass gatherings, wear your face covering, and keep six feet of distance between you and others.”

In the past week, Region 1 also had an early indication of increasing hospital admissions for COVID-like-illness. Although this increase has not yet reached the threshold level, it indicates more severe illness is increasing and IDPH will continue to monitor the region’s hospital capacity.

Mitigation measures taking effect October 3, 2020 in Region 1 include the following:

Bars

    • No indoor service
    • All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m.
    • All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
    • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
    • Tables should be 6 feet apart
    • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
    • No dancing or standing indoors
    • Reservations required for each party
    • No seating of multiple parties at one table

Restaurants

    • No indoor dining or bar service
    • All outdoor dining closes at 11:00 p.m.
    • Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart
    • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
    • Reservations required for each party
    • No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings

    • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity
    • No party buses
    • Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

These mitigations do not currently apply to schools.

IDPH will track the positivity rate in Region 1 to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place. If the positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% for three consecutive days, then Regions 1 will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan. If the positivity rate averages between 6.5% and 8%, the new mitigations will remain in place and unchanged. If the positivity rate averages greater than or equal to 8% after 14 days, more stringent mitigations can be applied to further reduce spread of the virus.

Region 4, the Metro East, remains under additional mitigation measures as well. Although the 7-day rolling average test positivity rate is less than 8%, it remains above 6.5% and has increased in recent days.

IDPH continues to monitor each region in the state for several key indicators to identify early, but significant increases of COVID-19 transmission in Illinois, potentially signifying resurgence. Indictors include an increase in the region’s positivity rate with a simultaneous increase in either hospital admissions for COVID-like-illness or a decrease in hospital capacity, or three consecutive days of greater than or equal to 8% test positivity rate (7-day rolling average). These indicators can be used to determine whether additional community mitigation interventions are needed for a region to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

A full list of mitigation measures pertaining to some businesses and industries may be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website at www.dceocovid19resources.com/restore-illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      


Vistra to close four more Illinois coal-fired energy plants

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* The company has five coal plants in Illinois and one was already on the closure list

Texas-based energy company Vistra plans to accelerate its transition to clean power generation sources and advance efforts to significantly reduce its carbon footprint. The company launched Vistra Zero, a portfolio of zero-carbon power generation facilities, which includes seven new developments — some solar, solar + storage and standalone energy storage — in its primary market of ERCOT that total nearly 1,000 MW.

In addition, Vistra established further long-term emissions reduction targets, released its first climate report and announced its intention to retire all of its generation subsidiaries’ coal plants in Illinois and Ohio. […]

Vistra also announced its next phase of coal plant closures in Illinois and Ohio. The company expects to retire seven Luminant power plants, of which the company owns a combined capacity of more than 6,800 MW, between 2022 and 2027.

Since the company’s leadership change in 2016, Vistra and its subsidiaries have closed or announced the closure of 19 coal plants totaling more than 16,000 MW across Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Massachusetts. In total, Vistra and its subsidiaries have now retired or announced the retirement of more than 19,000 MW at 23 coal and natural gas plants since 2010.

* Crain’s

Vistra said it will retire the Baldwin and Joppa plants in southern Illinois no later than 2025, “or sooner should economic or other conditions dictate.” The Kincaid and Newton plants southeast of Springfield will close no later than 2027, again with the same caveat.

The four plants together employ about 400. […]

Under the plan, which requires action in Springfield, Vistra would convert its coal-plant sites into utility-scale solar facilities accompanied by powerful batteries that could store some of the energy when it’s not needed.

Vistra already has announced the planned closure of the Edwards plant near Peoria, which will occur by the end of 2022.

That’ll leave three Illinois coal plants owned by NRG.

* Sierra Club…

Texas based Vistra Energy announced plans today to accelerate its transition to clean energy generation by retiring all the coal plants owned by its subsidiaries in Illinois and Ohio. In a move intended to reduce the utility’s outsized climate impact, the announcement targets more than 6,211 megawatts (MW) of coal based electricity generation at six coal plants, which is equivalent to a year’s worth of carbon emissions from 10,380,659 passenger vehicles. These announced retirements mark 166,395 MW of coal capacity retired with 176,617 MW remaining in the United States.

“Vistra is the largest emitter of climate-warming carbon pollution in the US electric sector, and today they made one of the largest coal retirement announcements in US history, sending a clear signal that the transition from coal to clean energy is accelerating nationwide. Vistra’s plan to stop burning coal altogether in Illinois and Ohio is a testament to a decade of tireless work by advocates fighting for the significant public health and climate benefits that come from moving away from coal to clean energy,” said Mary Anne Hitt, National Director of Campaigns at the Sierra Club. “Supporting a fair and robust economic and community transition is a critical next step for Illinois and Ohio as lawmakers in both states are in dialogue about the future of state energy policy.”

Vistra’s announcement comes amid record low coal use in the US, as clean energy now routinely outperforms coal plants. Vistra announced plans for new solar and storage developments, primarily in Texas, prompting advocates in Illinois and Ohio to redouble calls for state level energy transition planning and policy. Vistra made no changes to its Texas coal fleet, which includes the Martin Lake coal plant; the nation’s largest source of sulfur dioxide pollution and mercury pollution. Martin Lake is the source of ongoing violations of local pollution standards.

“It’s urgent that Illinois plan now to assist the workers and communities that will be affected by these closures, ensure that Vistra cleans up these sites, and that we build clean, renewable energy infrastructure to replace these dirty sources of power,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club. “The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) is a plan for a just transition for these communities that creates jobs where they are needed most, while holding big polluters accountable for the messes they leave behind. We call on the Illinois state legislature to pass the CEJA this year, to respond to these closures proactively, and ensure a brighter future for our most impacted communities.”

In Illinois, the new retirements include the Baldwin and Joppa Power Plants by the end of 2025, and Kincaid and Newton Power Plants by 2027. The Edwards coal fired power plant near Peoria is already slated to retire by the end of 2022. In Ohio, Miami Fort Power Plant, in North Bend, and Zimmer Power Plant in Moscow, are planned to retire by 2027. The utility added that all these retirements may be sooner than the announced dates should economic or other conditions dictate.

* Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition…

Vistra’s announcement to close five coal plants around Illinois is an urgent call for Gov. Pritzker and the General Assembly to take action to help workers who face lay-offs and local plant communities that will lose significant tax revenue. This announcement leaves out that Vistra’s own proposal is little more than a corporate bailout for cutting and running that does nothing for communities like Waukegan who have a heavily polluting plant in their backyard.

In contrast, the Clean Energy Jobs Act will provide real help to these communities throughout the state by accelerating renewable energy, providing property tax replacement, securing worker benefits and training, and delivering resilient, economic futures. The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is ready to get to work to pass CEJA this year.”

…Adding… Congressman Rodney Davis…

“I’m deeply disappointed in Vistra’s plan to retire their Kincaid plant, which employs 115 of our friends and neighbors. The Kincaid plant has created good-paying union jobs and reliable, baseload power for households and manufacturers in Illinois and states in the Mid-Atlantic region for decades. Because the plant is a significant employer and generator of local tax revenue in Christian County, our hometowns, schools, and other public bodies will be negatively affected by this closure. Our Congressional office stands ready to support the workers and communities impacted.

“I have always been an advocate for an all-of-the-above energy portfolio, but I am becoming increasingly concerned about the planned nuclear, coal, and gas plant closures across Illinois in the coming years. Our state cannot continue to be a leading net electricity exporter if this trend continues. Additional plant closures will put thousands of good-paying union jobs and reliable, affordable power at risk. I’m committed to making sure American energy policy supports a diverse, reliable, and affordable array of baseload energy sources. American families need certainty that when they flip a switch, they will have access to low-cost, reliable electricity. We can’t let America’s energy future look like California brownouts and blackouts, but the Green New Deal and other far-fetched, left-wing environmental proposals are moving us closer to that sad reality.”

…Adding… Nikki Budzinski, executive director of Climate Jobs Illinois…

As Springfield debates new energy legislation, the final bill must include meaningful policies that support the workers, families and communities affected by Illinois’ transition to clean energy. That means providing workers lost wages and benefits, meaningful job support and apprenticeship opportunities, and replacing the lost tax base in these communities. Climate Jobs Illinois will be an advocate for these issues to ensure workers are not left behind in the state’s move to a clean energy future.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


Springfield’s Bishop Paprocki says he has “real legal and constitutional concerns” about anti-virus strategy

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* May 14th

“This contagion, this enemy of the virus, is only going to be conquered if we all stick together,” said Cardinal Cupich.

He does not agree with pastors of some Illinois churches who say they’re opening for regular services against the governor’s stay-at-home order, claiming a constitutional right.

“People do have freedom of religion, the right to worship and so on. And yet, it’s not an absolute right if the public good, and public health, is jeopardized as a result,” Cardinal Cupich said.

The cardinal admits the pandemic is creating a financial challenge for the church, but he notes many people who’ve lost their jobs are in the same situation.

* Center Square yesterday

Springfield’s Catholic Bishop is arguing against government-imposed shutdowns, saying the extraordinary measures to mitigate COVID-19 should be avoided in the future. […]

“Yes we should do the ordinary things for protecting life, but we don’t have to do the extraordinary things that are being mandated,” [Bishop Thomas John Paprocki] said. “What we did in the last six months was really extraordinary, in shutting everything down, putting people out of work, telling them to stay home, don’t go to school, don’t go to church.”

He equated the extraordinary steps Pritzker took earlier this year that closed businesses, schools and churches to taking everyone off the road to save from vehicular deaths. […]

“No governor can say, ‘I’m suspending that right until this virus goes away,’ so I think there are real concerns here, avoiding any hyperbole or anything like that, of criticism,” Paprocki said. “But I think there’s some real legal and constitutional concerns of what Gov. Pritzker is doing.”

OK, but I think every court outside Clay County has sided with the governor, so the judicial branch so far has not shared those concerns.

* Jordan Abudayyeh…

The Governor believes it is his duty, as the leader of this state, to protect the health and safety of all Illinoisans. In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, experts warned that lack of action to stop the spread of this virus could result in tens of thousands of Illinoisans losing their lives. As a reminder to those who still question the public health experts, we have lost more than 8,600 Illinoisans to this virus and every person who lives in this state has a moral obligation to follow the public health guidance to lower the risk of spreading this deadly virus to others around them. We must work together, listen to the experts, and continue following the health guidelines as we learn more about this virus. The Governor is proud that Illinoisans have overwhelmingly done their part to follow necessary guidance to reduce the spread of this virus and save as many lives as possible.

…Adding… As if on cue…


- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


St. Clair County wants a remap

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* BND

The Illinois Department of Public Health dismissed the suggestion by officials in St. Clair County, who say the downward trend in COVID-19 cases warrants an exemption from the stricter safety mitigation placed on Region 4.

On Monday, St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern said the county should stand alone given its improving COVID-19 positivity rate and case numbers. He expressed hope that IDPH would consider excluding the county from metro-east restrictions.

On Tuesday, IDHP dismissed a St. Clair County exemption as a possibility.

“This appears to be a rumor and is not being considered,” IDPH Public Information Officer Melaney Arnold said in an email.

We saw this sort of thing earlier in the pandemic. If people thought the regional maps were unfair, they insisted that counties should be stand-alone. And when the counties refused to budge, they insisted that towns be given the right to decide. And when that didn’t work, they said individuals should just do what they wanted.

St. Clair County didn’t complain a bit when the map was drawn. They may have thought that they’d be hit the hardest, but it turns out it’s most of the other counties that are holding the region back with high average positivity rates

Bond 10.1
Clinton 12.7
Madison 7.4
Monroe 8.4
Randolph 2.1
St. Clair 6.3
Washington 11.5

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* Hungry bandits?

An agricultural trade association for pig farmers is reporting the theft of a large grill embedded into a trailer.

A Facebook post from the Illinois Pork Producers Associated (IPPA) said their grill was stolen from their office at 6411 S. Sixth Street Road in Springfield. IPPA said it was last seen Friday, and the trailer was covered in two black, custom fitting tarps that hide the graphics.

* The pilfered grill…

* The Question: What would you do with a sweet but “hot” grill like that?

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


1,362 new cases, 23 additional deaths, 1,535 in hospitals, 3.6 percent positivity rate

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 1,362 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 23 additional confirmed deaths.

    • Bond County: 1 male 70s
    • Clark County: 1 female 90s
    • Clinton County: 1 male 80s
    • Cook County: 1 female 30s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
    • DuPage County: 1 female 90s
    • Jasper County: 1 male 70s
    • Madison County: 4 females 90s
    • Marion County: 1 male 80s
    • Moultrie County: 1 male 70s
    • Peoria County: 1 female 80s
    • Rock Island County: 1 female 70s
    • Whiteside County; 1 male 70s
    • Will County: 1 male 100+
    • Williamson County: 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s
    • Winnebago County: 2 males 70s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 291,001 cases, including 8,637 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from September 22 – September 28 is 3.6%. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 45,624 specimens for a total of 5,566,276. As of last night, 1,535 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 363 patients were in the ICU and 151 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IDPH is now reporting separately both confirmed and probable cases and deaths on its website. Reporting probable cases will help show the potential burden of COVID-19 illness and efficacy of population-based non-pharmaceutical interventions. IDPH will update these data once a week.

*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. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 *** Afternoon Preview: Former ComEd official to plead guilty, House investigative committee meets

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* More background is here if you need it. WBEZ

A legislative panel investigating House Speaker Michael Madigan reconvenes Tuesday on the same day a former top Commonwealth Edison official is expected to plead guilty to federal charges tied to the utility’s bribery-stained lobbying efforts targeting the speaker.

The House committee probing potential misconduct by Madigan could hear Tuesday from a top Exelon official and former federal prosecutor who was hired to repair the utility’s damaged reputation following its July acknowledgment of a 9-year illegal effort to woo Madigan.

But perhaps the bigger headline could emerge at a noon hearing at the Dirksen Federal Building, where Fidel Marquez, ComEd’s former in-house lobbyist, is expected to enter a plea to a charge that he engaged in a conspiracy to commit bribery to help the utility advance its Springfield wishlist.

“We’ll be watching the Marquez court appearance closely to see if there is any additional information that comes out of that,” said State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, who serves as the top Republican on the bipartisan committee investigating Madigan.

* ABC 7

The former, highly-compensated lobbyist, just accused early this month, is expected to plead guilty to arranging jobs and other perks for Madigan’s political allies in exchange for favorable action in Springfield. “for the purpose of influencing and rewarding Public Official A in connection with his official duties as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.”

The feds accuse Marquez of working “to obtain jobs, contracts, and monetary payments associated with those jobs and contracts from ComEd and its affiliates, even in instances where such associates performed little or no work that they were purportedly hired to perform for ComEd.”

* Sun-Times

Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, its chairman, confirmed Monday that David Glockner, ComEd’s executive vice president for compliance and audit, will testify before the committee Tuesday. Glockner will be accompanied by Reid Schar, the company’s defense attorney in federal court.

The committee had also invited several key players in the scandal to testify — including Madigan, his political ally Mike McClain, and former ComEd execs Marquez, John Hooker and Anne Pramaggiore. All have declined to participate except for ComEd, according to Rep. Tom Demmer, the Republican spokesperson on the committee. […]

Finally, Demmer said the committee is likely to discuss last week’s letter from Madigan, in which the speaker said he would not be appearing before the committee while insisting, “I have done nothing wrong.”

Though Madigan wrote that, “I cannot provide information I do not have, and I cannot answer questions about issues of which I have no knowledge or conversations to which I was not a party,” Demmer said members of the committee might still have a few questions for the speaker.

* Tribune

Democrats and Republicans have sparred over what the committee can and can’t ask under guidelines laid down by U.S. Attorney John Lausch.

The U.S. attorney’s office would object, for example, to lawmakers asking witnesses about grand jury proceedings or their conversations with federal authorities, among other subjects. The office also would object if the committee offered immunity in exchange for testimony or documents.

But the letter, sent as a follow-up to a discussion held at the lawmakers’ request, leaves room for the committee to ask about facts laid out in the deferred prosecution agreement.

Lausch clarified in a second letter to Welch and the committee’s top Republican, Rep. Tom Demmer of Dixon, that he doesn’t object to the committee asking witnesses about “nonpublic” information as long as it doesn’t fall into one of the categories he previously deemed off-limits.

* Center Square

Republicans in the Illinois House Special Investigating Committee looking into Speaker Michael Madigan’s involvement in a nearly decade-long patronage scheme may seek to issue subpoenas. […]

Demmer also expects there may be a motion Tuesday to subpoena not just Madigan and others, but also documents related to the case.

“We know the nature of the investigation means that you don’t just talk to people who are eager to talk to you but you talk to folks who may not be so eager to talk to you in order to get a full picture of the situation,” Demmer said. “The question of a subpoena is one that I think we’ll have to deal with as a committee and decide which witnesses we want to issue subpoenas to and for what documents we might want to issue subpoenas.”

Such a motion could fail if it’s split along party lines in the six-member bipartisan committee. Demmer wouldn’t predict that’ll happen.

* Rachel Hinton at the Sun-Times

Mike Lawrence, a press secretary for former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar, said he has “no confidence that legislators can investigate legislators.”

“It is not reasonable to expect lawmakers to be nonpartisan, independent investigators, prosecutors and ultimately judges in this atmosphere — particularly during an election cycle,” said Lawrence, a former Sun-Times Springfield Bureau chief. “Democrats and Republicans on the committee have been unable to agree on the process — let alone determine whether the accusations are valid and, if so, justify his removal.” […]

Republicans are eager to make sure any heat Madigan felt over the summer doesn’t cool down before fall election.

“It’s the biggest issue the Republicans have got going,” [John Jackson, a visiting professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale] said. “They’ve had some difficulty mounting competitive campaigns and particularly funding competitive campaigns for the legislature, and this is their one best single thing they will be using throughout the state.”

Watch the 2 o’clock hearing here or here.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Hmm…


*** UPDATE 2 *** The Fidel Marquez plea agreement is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      


Report: Crystal Lake school reopen protesters cheered Confederate flag

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* Rob Sneed at WGN

High school students and parents in Crystal Lake are rallying in a push to resume in-person learning.

Students and event organizers rallied Tuesday night in front of Prairie Ridge High School. Organizers intended for the event to be a place for people to come together to get students back in school.

However, at one point, people began to cheer for the Confederate flag. Some of them held signs supporting President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Some wore Make America Great Again hats. According to organizers, they did not intend for the event to be political.

“The main focus today is getting the kids back in school and putting the kids in the best position they can be in,” Steve Smith, co-organizer of the rally, said. “As parents, we don’t want this to be political and maybe we should make that a little more clear.”

The Trump and MAGA stuff is beside the point. The Confederate flag, however, is inherently racist. Full stop.

* And that’s not all. From a September 17th Shaw Media editorial

Unfortunately, at protests in some places such as Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake, the majority of participating parents were maskless.

The CDC Wednesday released new indicators for decision making for schools to reopen. At the top of the list is the correct and consistent usage of masks.

When you show up in a pandemic to make a protest that children can safely return to school and you fail to follow even the most basic social distancing guidelines, you tend to lose some credibility.

And this also isn’t the first time a Confederate flag has been an issue at the school. Click here for that one.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


DCFS still woefully short-staffed

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* WGN

A mother charged in the fatal stabbing of her 5-year-old daughter was denied bond Monday.

Simone Austin, 27, is charged with with first-degree murder in the death of Serenity Arrington. […]

Police also said they are familiar with the home.

“There were prior calls to the address. We just don’t know at this time why what happened today. But there were multiple calls,” said Chicago Police Officer Jose Jara.

DCFS confirmed to WGN they have had prior contact with the family, but did not give specific dates.

* CBS 2

Meanwhile, reporters were told Monday afternoon that 500 DCFS frontline workers – caseworkers and investigators – have been hired in the last year and half since the governor’s announcement. But that number is offset somewhat by retirements.

* DeKalb Daily Chronicle

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has reached a “crisis point” at some of its offices in terms of staffing shortages partially related to COVID-19 concerns, the union representing DCFS workers said in an email to its membership.

The email, sent last week from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, addressed concerns regarding caseloads in understaffed offices throughout the state.

AFSCME, which represents Illinois’ DCFS employees, warned DCFS workers that the department had 500 vacant positions and plans to reassign employees to assist with remote investigations in understaffed areas. […]

By the end of August, DCFS had 2,726 of its 3,056 budgeted positions filled, department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said. By the department’s count, that’s 330 vacant positions, or a little more than 10%, about the start of September. That includes all staff, not only case investigators.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


MLB Playoffs open thread

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* Go Sox…


Fingers crossed that the swoon is over and we’ll get back to winning.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      


Give her credit for the comeback

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* From an email…

Good morning – I’m reaching out to connect you with a source who can talk about why sportsbooks are creating more-accurate political predictions than some of the country’s leading polls.

David Strauss, lead oddsmaker at sportsbook MyBookie, can discuss why political polls are oftentimes wrong, and why sportsbooks have done a better job at getting it right. For example, 2016 polls suggested Clinton would win, while gambling lines were more indicative of the actual outcome.

    * Politicians and pundits always reference polls when the results are in their favor but are quick to point out their inaccuracies when they are not. Strauss can discuss why sportsbooks are different, including:
    * People are willing to lie on a poll but are unlikely to gamble their hard-earned money on something they don’t believe in
    * Sportsbooks/oddsmakers also have money to lose if the political odds are set inaccurately
    * Why sportsbooks are seeing a Trump win in the 2020 election, and how that differs from current polls

For more of an in-depth chat on this topic, let me know what time you’re able to connect with David Strauss this week for a phone interview.

Thanks,
Natasha

Um, there’s a reason casinos are so opulent: Gamblers do not generally make rational decisions, even when they’re only betting a few bucks. Add our insane national politics into the equation and you’ve got a real problem on your hands.

…Adding… From a good buddy…

(A)s someone who’s made decent money wagering on elections I’ve always found the prediction markets to be trailing indicators. Also, it’s much easier to make money on the political markets by monetizing the yo-yo than betting on the outcome, I’ve been frustrated by how stable this race has become, it’s interfering with my monetization.

The general idea is to take advantage of the mopes.

* So, in an unfortunate moment of uncoolness which I now regret, I sent this reply…

Seriously, y’all need to watch this video and take me off your list

* Natasha’s reply…

ok, a simple wrong would’ve been just fine but…

If you don’t get the joke, watch the video until the end.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Governor’s staffer tests positive, Pritzker will self-isolate for 14 days

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* Press release…

After a member of Governor JB Pritzker’s staff tested positive for COVID-19, the governor and all other close contacts will self-isolate for a 14-day period, pursuant to state and federal public health guidelines.

The staff member was tested on Wednesday during weekly testing for the governor’s office and was negative. After experiencing symptoms, the staff member was tested again Monday and confirmed as positive. The staffer attended events with the governor on Wednesday in Chicago, Thursday in Marion and Sunday in Marseilles. Both the governor and the staffer were wearing masks during the entirety of their interactions.

The staffer has been interviewed and a contact tracing effort is underway to ensure all close contacts are notified. Event organizers at each impacted event have also been contacted and made aware of the staff member’s positive results as well as appropriate next steps.

In accordance with state and federal guidelines, the governor and all close contacts will self-isolate for 14 days. In addition, all staff who currently report to the office are being tested and must test negative before reporting back to the office. Yesterday, all samples that were ran to test for COVID-19 came back negative.

Staff members reporting to the office have followed all public health safety protocols including weekly testing, daily temperature checks, wearing face coverings, social distancing and strict hygiene procedures. The office undergoes a weekly deep cleaning and an additional deep cleaning was conducted Monday night.

The governor will continue to hold regular COVID-19 press briefings which are live-streamed at illinois.gov/LiveVideo as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

My best wishes to everyone.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Stop. Paying. Lip. Service.

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* Alex Ruppenthal at the BGA

In an effort to promote diverse businesses, Illinois three years ago passed a law that required companies receiving state tax breaks to report how much work they did with minority- and women-owned vendors.

But since the law went into effect, 119 companies that had more than $150 million shaved from their tax bills have not submitted any such reports, a Better Government Association examination has found. And of the 61 firms that did file the required reports, nearly three-quarters reported none of the data the law was intended to gather.

The problems with the state’s largest job incentive program are in large part due to the administrations of both Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, and his Republican predecessor, Bruce Rauner, failing to enforce the law, according to the sponsors of the legislation.

Both administrations allowed the tax breaks to continue even after companies failed to submit the forms. For those firms that did submit reports, the administrations interpreted the law to mean the companies only had to file paperwork with the state even if the forms were mostly blank of critical information.

The resulting lack of any significant data intended to detail how much major multinational companies seeking taxpayer help are spending on minority- and women-owned vendors has angered both legislative sponsors. Following BGA inquiries, they said they will call for tougher actions by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the state agency that oversees the program.

“We’re asking the enforcement body, which is the Department of Commerce, to tell these companies, ‘If you’re filing these reports, you should be filing them with data,’” said state Rep. Will Davis, a Democrat from suburban Homewood and co-sponsor of the changes to the state’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, jobs program. “That’s the expectation.”

Illinois Sen. Cristina Castro, a Democrat from Elgin who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, said the language in the law is clear, and she is disappointed it has been interpreted so favorably to companies seeking taxpayer assistance.

“We’re giving you state tax dollars. Where are you trying to expand the diversity when it comes to minority-owned spending?” asked Castro. “It’s terrible.”

The law states companies “shall … submit to DCEO an annual report containing the information” on “actual spending for female-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, and small business enterprises.”

Lauren Huffman, a spokeswoman for DCEO, said the agency has interpreted the law to exclude, or grandfather, any company that received tax breaks prior to the passage of the 2017 measure. She said the law also doesn’t mandate companies collect minority data they don’t already collect.

“We will continue to work with EDGE companies to expand compliance with the 2017 law,” Huffman said in an emailed statement, “and look forward to working with the General Assembly to determine where changes could be made to the current statute and to enhance diversity reporting by Illinois companies and their contractors.”

A spokesman for Pritzker declined to answer questions about the state’s failure to collect the data, offering only a statement about how the governor is “deeply committed” to diversity in state contracts.

If he’s that “deeply committed” he’ll force a change. Pronto. I am fed-up to my eyeballs with this bureaucratic nonsense. If the law needs fixing, fix the law. Until then, take the most aggressive enforcement route possible and stop making excuses.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** American Hotel & Lodging Association projecting huge additional job/facility losses here without congressional help

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* From my inbox…

Hello Rich,

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released a new survey last week that underscores the devastating results for the hotel industry. Seventy-four percent (74%) of hotels would be forced to lay off additional employees and two-thirds of hotels (67%) would not make it another six months if Congress fails to pass another COVID stimulus bill. As a follow up, below is a breakdown of this impact by state. […]

Here is a quote from Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association:

    “It’s time for Congress to put politics aside and prioritize American workers in the hardest-hit industries. Hotels are cornerstones of the communities they serve, building strong local economies and supporting millions of jobs. Thousands of hotels across America are in jeopardy of closing forever, and that will have a ripple effect throughout our communities for years to come. It is imperative that Congress act now before leaving town, or thousands of small businesses and the jobs associated with them will be lost. The American people cannot wait for relief. Congress needs to act now.”

According to the AHLA, Illinois has lost 22,621 hotel and lodging jobs as of September, out of 59,372. That’s 38 percent, in case you’re doing the math.

The AHLA also projects a loss of 41,560 Illinois jobs without a new stimulus bill. They’re also projecting the closure of 1,020 hotels (out of 1,522) and the loss of 131,665 hotel-related jobs (out of 292,588).

*** UPDATE *** From UNITEHERE…

Rich-

Hope you are well and hanging in there. I read the AHLA entry on the blog and wanted to make sure you had our union’s perspective. Namely, the “relief” the AHLA is seeking from Congress would largely benefit wealthy, sophisticated real estate investors and do little, if anything, about brining hotel jobs back or the corresponding tax revenue for state and local governments. Please see attached letter our President sent up to the Hill on Monday. Links to news coverage on this below. To state the obvious, getting the virus under control and the traveling public comfortable flying and booking hotel rooms again is the key, not bailing out risky mortgage bets made by investors who know (or should have known) what they were doing. Thanks

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/15/business/economy/hotel-owners-trump-federal-bailout.html
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/coronavirus-corporate-bailout-lobbyist-hotels_n_5f1afea1c5b6f2f6c9f5b74c

The letter is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


Rate the new Bustos ad

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* Sarah Ferris and Ally Mutnick at Politico

House Democrats started off the 2020 cycle looking to protect roughly four dozen vulnerable members, including 30 whose districts voted for President Donald Trump four years ago.

Now as they enter the final month, Democrats are scaling back defensive spending and funneling their remaining millions to knock out vulnerable Republicans and expand their 34-seat majority, according to a POLITICO review of recent advertising data. […]

In a sign of their growing optimism, Democrats canceled millions of October TV reservations for lawmakers like Reps. Jared Golden in Maine or Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania — in two districts that Trump had won by about 10 points in 2016. And party officials also nixed ad time in a pair of purple Michigan districts belonging to freshman Reps. Haley Stevens and Elissa Slotkin, which Trump also won in the last presidential election.

Now Democrats are pouring that cash into capturing red seats — in Michigan, Colorado, Montana and Alaska — that the party hadn’t been eyeing until late in the election cycle as Trump sagged in the polls and GOP campaigns entered crisis mode. […]

“It’s a combination of a lot of things,” DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) said in a brief interview, stressing that party officials began early with recruitment and on-the-ground staff in battleground districts. “We’re raising money like it’s falling from the sky.”

But Bustos is airing her own ads now.

* Here is her new one

* Script…

Here’s to the doers, the ones who feed the world and make America work, even in tough times.

I’m Cheri Bustos and I’m doing everything I can to get us moving again. Better trade deals, so our farmers sell American products. New infrastructure projects. and demanding they use products made in America, not China.

I’m Cheri Bustos,and I approve this message because we’re doers here and it’s time to get to work.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

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Get it together, northwest Illinois

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* Sarah Mansur at Capitol News Illinois

The northwest region of Illinois could be two days away from triggering increased mitigations from the state to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday announced the rate of positive test results had reached 8 percent in Region 1, which extends from DeKalb and Boone counties west to the Iowa border, on Sept. 25, the most recent day those statistics are recorded. A region that has three consecutive days of positivity rates above 8 percent is subject to increased mitigations that include limited capacity indoors and restrictions for restaurants and bars.

Region 4 in the Metro East area already has increased restrictions. Its daily test positivity rate increased for the first time in 10 days, to 7.1 percent. A region must have a positivity rate below 6.5 percent for a 14-day period to have increased restrictions lifted. The IDPH placed additional restrictions on bars, restaurants and social gatherings in Region 4 on Aug. 18.

Region 7, which includes Kankakee and Will counties, got out from under increased restrictions 10 days ago.

* Jeff Kolkey at the Rockford Register-Star

Health Department Administrator Sandra Martell said Winnebago County on Monday had reached a 9% rolling seven-day positivity rate on COVID-19 tests. An additional 225 cases were confirmed since Friday, bringing the county total to 5,935 cases. […]

Case investigations and contact tracing suggest there have been no large events at which the disease has been spread. Family gatherings and out-of-town sporting events appear to be the biggest culprits for spreading the disease, Martell said.

Emphasis added.

* DeKalb Daily Chronicle

The Illinois Department of Public Health also began reporting daily county testing data but with a three-day lag. For Friday, DeKalb County had a daily positivity rate of 3.6% with a rolling seven-day positivity average of 6.9%. The county’s daily rate had been 9.2% on Wednesday and seven-day rate had peaked at 7.5% on Sept. 21.

In all, there have been 1,651 cases and 38 deaths, with the most recent death reported Sept. 18 in an infant younger than 1 year old.

* According to IDPH, Boone County’s seven-day rolling positivity rate is 10.7 percent, Carroll County’s is 3.8 percent, DeKalb’s is 6.9, Jo Daviess’ is 9.1, Lee’s is 9.9, Ogle’s is 6.9, Stephenson’s is 5.2, Whiteside’s is 6.4 and Winnebago’s is 8.7.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Open thread

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* Local and polite, please. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


*** LIVE COVERAGE ***

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* Follow along with ScribbleLive


- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


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* Protect BIPA Now!
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