|Question of the day
Tuesday, Sep 21, 2021
* My annual medical checkup is this afternoon and then I have some errands I need to run that can only be taken care of during a weekday. So, y’all are on your own for awhile. Hopefully, nothing big happens while I’m away, but I’ll take my laptop just in case.
* Anyway, on to the setup…
Today, Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), and the Illinois Opportunity Project announced their statewide grassroots campaign to place an Advisory Question of Public Policy on the November 2022 ballot asking voters if they want the power to recall their elected officials.
“Voters should have the ability to hire and fire their elected officials,” said Rep. Batinick. “Illinois’ culture of corruption has gone on for far too long, and the people of Illinois have lost faith in their government. That begins to change today.”
Illinois Democrats have ignored calls to increase accountability and empower voters. Last year, Sen. Barickman and Rep. Batinick introduced legislation to give voters the right to recall elected officials who have broken the public’s trust.
The General Assembly has refused to discuss their legislation; even while a Democratic member of the State Senate is currently under indictment for crimes related to his office. This advisory referendum movement will educate voters on the culture of corruption and the solutions. It will also build political pressure to encourage the General Assembly to end this culture of corruption and give voters the right to recall certain elected officials.
“Single party rule has concentrated power with the political elite and taken away Illinois citizens’ voices in their state government,” said Sen. Barickman. “Giving voters the ability to recall a failing elected official will empower the people and help restore faith and trust in their government.”
The proposed Advisory Question asks, “Shall Illinois voters be given the power to recall their elected officials?” Petitions for advisory questions of public policy require signatures equivalent to eight percent of the total votes cast for candidates for Governor in the preceding gubernatorial election, or roughly 363,000 signatures to be placed on the ballot. These signatures must be submitted six months prior to the election.
“Today, the political establishment, special-interests, and lobbyists have too much power,” explained Mark Cavers, President of the Illinois Opportunity Project. “We are all feeling the consequences. There is a statewide movement of people who want to improve the quality of life in Illinois by returning power to the people. We have faith in average Illinoisans and that if we empower them with the right accountability tools, they will reform their government and save our state.”
“Illinois should be the land of opportunity and prosperity where families can pursue the American dream. To make that a reality, we must have an honest and efficient government that is responsive to the people’s will.”
Corruption costs Illinois taxpayers $556 million per year. This referendum will empower voters with the opportunity to hold politicians accountable before their next election. The petition can be viewed and downloaded at IllinoisOpportunity.org/recall.
* The Question: Do you support the advisory ballot question? Make sure to explain your answer in comments, please.
- Posted by Rich Miller
Governor JB Pritzker announced Monday more than $300 million dollars in new funding to assist struggling residents with rent, utilities, food and other household expenses regardless of immigration status.
With support from the American Rescue Plan Act and increased eligibility provisions by the State of Illinois, residents will have access to more utility assistance than ever before, as well as increased availability of funds per household. The State is leveraging $209 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to expand relief for Illinois families struggling to pay their bills as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
The $327 million is available through two state programs — the Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program and the Community Services Block Grant Program. The funds can be put toward rent, utilities, food and other expenses related to housing regardless of a person’s immigration status.
Pritzker made the announcement at Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity, one of the 37 community action agencies in the state that helps residents receive payments through the energy and community assistance programs.
Of the funds available, $209 million comes from federal funds Illinois received through the American Rescue Plan Act. Those seeking the aid can go to the state’s Help Illinois Families website to apply.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was at the intersection of Adams Street and U.S. 150 Peoria Monday afternoon to announce investments in the McClugage Bridge project with the goal of bringing improved infrastructure to the Peoria region.
“Investments like the rehabilitation of the McClugage Bridge, which was first built in World War II and carries about 20,000 eastbound vehicles a day, will not only support freight routes on Illinois’ roadways, but make day-to-day life easier for Peoria and East Peoria families who use this bridge to get groceries, see their doctor or visit the pharmacy,” Pritzker said.
Also Monday, Pritzker claimed the ongoing McCluggage Bridge rehabilitation project as a victory for him and for the state.
The $167 million work slated to finish in 2023 is being funded through the state’s Rebuild Illinois Capital plan.
“With a new deck bridge that will nearly double its width, the new structure will not only be safer, smoother, and faster at larger capacity, but we’re adding a protected bike and pedestrian path,” said Pritzker.
The McCluggage Bridge was first opened during World War II.
The Peoria Journal-Star had no coverage of either event that I could find.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* And wear your masks. From IDPH…
Every season the flu sickens millions of people in the U.S., hospitalizes hundreds of thousands, and kills tens of thousands. This season, in addition to flu, the state continues to battle COVID-19. More than 41 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. have been reported, including more than 1.5 million in Illinois. More than 660,00 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the U.S. with more than 24,400 deaths reported in Illinois.
“Because of the effectiveness of masking in preventing virus transmission, we saw fewer flu-related ICU hospital admissions in Illinois and no flu-related pediatric deaths,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “However, with inconsistent mask usage, we could see a more severe flu season along with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time to get your flu shot. Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time if you haven’t already gotten your COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are our best protection against severe illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths due to either flu or COVID-19.”
Everyone six months of age and older is recommended to get the seasonal flu vaccine. All flu vaccines this season are quadrivalent, meaning they will offer protection against four flu strains – an H1N1-like strain, H3N2-like strain, and two B strains. More information on the types of flu vaccine, as well as recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, can be found on the CDC website.
Many of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are the same, but there are some differences. Flu usually comes on more suddenly, a person with COVID-19 can be contagious for a longer period of time compared to flu, and COVID-19 seems to cause more severe illnesses in some people overall. If you have symptoms of either flu or COVID-19, self-isolate and contact a health care provider who can talk with you about testing and other measures you should be taking.
Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:
• Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Fatigue (tiredness)
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle pain or body aches
• Vomiting and diarrhea
• Change in or loss of taste or smell, although this is more frequent with COVID-19.
In addition to getting your flu and COVID-19 vaccine, IDPH recommends staying home when sick, wearing a mask, and frequently washing your hands. These everyday health practices will help protect against becoming infected with either flu or COVID-19 viruses.
Influenza antiviral drugs can be a second line of defense for people who get sick with the flu. Many studies have found that in addition to lessening the duration and severity of symptoms, antiviral drugs can prevent flu complications.
To find a location to get a flu shot in your community, check with your health care provider, local health department, and area pharmacies. More information about influenza can be found on the IDPH website at www.dph.illinois.gov. More information about COVID-19 can be found at www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Capitol News Illinois…
The state’s moratorium on enforcement of residential evictions will expire on Oct. 3, according to Gov. JB Pritzker’s latest COVID-19 executive order issued Friday.
Pritzker had extended the order each month with minor to substantial revisions since March 2020. The extensions have come in 30-day windows, coinciding with his monthly reissuance of a disaster proclamation in response to the pandemic.
While most of the provisions in Pritzker’s latest executive order were extended through Oct. 16, the section providing for the eviction moratorium is scheduled to be rescinded just two weeks into the 30-day order which was issued Friday.
The most recent iteration of the moratorium, which will expire Oct. 3, allows for court proceedings but prevents law enforcement from carrying out an eviction. It also allows for evictions in health and safety circumstances, and for “uncovered persons,” which include those who refuse to fill out paperwork for assistance, who can’t prove loss of income from COVID-19 or who earn more than $99,000 individually or $198,000 as a joint-filing household.
The EO is here.
* Illinois Supreme Court…
The Illinois Supreme Court announced today an amendment to Order M.R. 30370 which extends the temporary stay on residential evictions through October 3, the same date that Gov. Pritzker’s moratorium is set to expire.
Amended Order M.R. 30370 is available on the Court website by clicking here.
The extension of the temporary stay through October 3 allows for more rental assistance to be distributed through the statewide Court-Based Rental Assistance Program (CBRAP) which was launched throughout Illinois on September 15. Under the CBRAP, litigants may qualify for up to 12 months of past due rent and 3 months of future rent to prevent eviction and homelessness.
The Illinois Judicial Conference’s Court Operations During COVID-19 Task Force (Task Force) recommended these amendments to the Court. The Court and the Illinois Judicial Conference created the Task Force in June 2020 to serve as a rapid response unit to address ongoing challenges to court operations caused by the pandemic. The Chair of the Task Force is J. Timothy Eaton, Partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, and the Vice Chair is Chief Judge Eugene Doherty of the 17th Circuit.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* I told subscribers about this bill yesterday. Press release…
State Representative David Welter, R-Morris, has filed new legislation in the Illinois General Assembly to defend the right of parents to make medical decisions for their children.
The legislation, House Bill 4149, would prohibit the State or any local entity, agency, institution, official, or person from requiring a minor to obtain a health care service or take a health-related precaution, including facial masking or vaccination. If passed and signed into law, any person aggrieved by a violation would have a right of action in a State circuit court against an offending State or local entity, agency, institution, official, or person. A parent whose case prevailed would be entitled to recover damages in the amount of $1,000 per day for the duration of a violation.
“Protecting public health and respecting individual freedom are not mutually exclusive priorities. Both are essential to our democracy and the well-being of our communities,” Representative Welter said. “I am deeply concerned that parental rights are not being taken into consideration by those advocating one-size-fits-all mandates with regard to COVID mitigation. These actions are setting a dangerous precedent that threaten to eradicate the role of parents in all future public health situations beyond COVID. I cannot stand by and be silent in the face of this fundamental threat to our democracy that would deny a parent the ability to make medical decisions for their child.”
Representative Welter tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2020 and publicly shared his status including the symptoms he experienced. He is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and has encouraged voluntary vaccination ever since vaccines became available. During the first months of the COVID-19 outbreak, Representative Welter sponsored a cloth mask collection drive at his district office in Morris, which he then distributed to local individuals and organizations who had reached out requesting them. During his cloth mask collection drive, Representative Welter shared the specific CDC guidelines for how to make and wear a homemade face covering. Welter has met with local hospital and health department officials and frontline health care workers throughout the pandemic, publicly praising and supporting their efforts.
As I told subscribers, this legislation is so broadly written that kids might not be barred from, or disciplined for pooping in public swimming pools.
Creates the Parental Medical Choice Act. Provides that no State or local entity, agency, institution, official, or person shall require a minor to obtain a health care service or take a health-related precaution. Provides that no State or local entity, agency, institution, official, or person shall discriminate against a minor because the child has or has not obtained a health care service or has or has not taken any health-related precaution. Provides that no public institution of higher education shall require any health care service or health-related precaution to be taken as a condition on enrollment or in-person classroom attendance. Makes other requirements concerning the prohibition against compulsory health care service or health-related precautions for children. Provides that any person aggrieved by a violation of the Act shall have a right of action in a State circuit court against an offending State or local entity, agency, institution, official, or person. Provides that a prevailing party may recover liquidated damages in the amount of $1,000 per day for the duration of a violation of the Act.
…Adding… From comments…
As written doesn’t this get rid of any vaccine mandates in schools? Also, doesn’t this mean that if my kid has a gaping infected wound he can’t be made to stay out of the school swimming pool?
Do these people think through what it is they are actually writing?
- Posted by Rich Miller
* Last week…
Three children in Effingham County can’t be forced to wear masks without an official quarantine order from the county health department, a judge ruled Wednesday.
The attorney who brought the case anticipates more such cases across the state.
Earlier this month, attorney Thomas DeVore won several cases on behalf of parents of school kids being kept from in-person learning because of possible COVID-19 exposure.
Courts in multiple counties said only county health departments can issue quarantine orders.
* DeVore filed another lawsuit against a school district in Christian County this week. Click here. The Christian County coroner revealed last week that Taylorville High School senior Alexia Garrison died “due to natural causes, with COVID-19 being a contributing factor.” Her parents were told she died of COVID pneumonia.
* The governor responded to these lawsuits on Friday by quietly filing an executive order. Mike Miletich has more…
Schools in Illinois should exclude students and staff with confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases or those who come in close contact with sick people, according to a new executive order Gov. JB Pritzker filed late Friday night.
Under this executive order, schools are obligated to exclude students or school personnel with confirmed or probable COVID cases. The order states schools must refuse entry to the premises, extracurricular activities, or any other events organized by the school. […]
“The schools and local health departments are helping to separate people, to quarantine them, to keep them from infecting other people and to give them the opportunity to test and then come back into the institution,” Pritzker said Monday. […]
“I know that there are people that are attempting to challenge these things in court,” Pritzker said. “I would just say that this is a very unhelpful thing to do and it is going to make schools and health care settings less safe.”
* From the governor’s EO…
• All Schools must take the following measures to ensure the safety of Students and School Personnel:
1. Exclude any Student or School Personnel who is a Confirmed Case or Probable Case for a minimum of 10 days following onset date if symptomatic or date of test if asymptomatic, or as otherwise directed by the School’s local health authority.
2. Exclude any Student or School Personnel who is a Close Contact for a minimum of 14 days or as otherwise directed by the School’s local health authority, which may recommend options such as Exclusion for 10 days or 7 days with a negative test result on day 6. As an alternative to Exclusion, Schools may permit Close Contacts who are asymptomatic to be on the School premises, at extracurricular events, or any other events organized by the School if both the Confirmed Case or Probable Case and the Close Contact were masked for the entire exposure period and provided the Close Contact tests negative on days 1, 3, 5 and 7 following the exposure.
3. In addition to (b)(i) and(b)(ii), Schools shall Exclude any Student or School Personnel for a minimum of 10 days who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 until they are fever free for 24 hours and until 48 hours after diarrhea or vomiting have ceased.
• All Schools shall make remote instruction available consistent with the requirements declared by the State Superintendent for Education pursuant to Section 10-30 and 34-18.66 of the School Code, 105 ILCS 5/10-30 and 105 ILCS 5/34-18.66, for Students Excluded from in-person instruction pursuant to this Executive Order.
• State agencies, including but not limited to the Illinois Department of Public Health, may promulgate emergency rules as necessary to effectuate this Executive Order and aid in its implementation.
• Nothing in this Executive Order prohibits a local health authority from issuing orders for isolation or quarantine pursuant to the Department of Public Health Act, 20 ILCS 2305/1.1 et seq., and regulations implementing that Act, or requiring schools to take more stringent measures than described in this Executive Order.
*** UPDATE *** WLDS…
Jacksonville School District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says it clarifies orders confusion after court rulings in Macoupin and Adams County on the state’s rules: “The governor and the ISBE definitely have the desire to keep all close contacts out of the physical schools, so in response to the legal challenges about the use of the term ‘quarantine,’ they have altered it with a new executive order to mandate to school districts that we must exclude students from schools who have been determined to be a close contact. We are no longer issuing a quarantine. The health department isn’t issuing a quarantine. We are excluding those individuals from the physical school, and that is mandated and it says we must follow it.”
Ptacek says this circumvents the necessity of a local health department or court order to issue a quarantine order. Ptacek says the district has received a statement from the Illinois State Board of Education that they will enforce the rule based upon further clarification in the Executive Order granting them the authority of enforcement.
- Posted by Rich Miller
* From Katherine J. Wu, Ed Yong and Sarah Zhang at the the Atlantic…
If vaccines are working, how could vaccinated people make up such a large proportion of an outbreak?
The answer is simple: They can if they make up a large proportion of a population. Even though vaccinated people have much lower odds of getting sick than unvaccinated people, they’ll make up a sizable fraction of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths if there are more of them around.
Let’s work through some numbers. Assume, first, that vaccines are 60 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infections. (There’s a lot of conflicting information about this, but the exact number doesn’t affect this exercise much.) Vaccinated people are still less likely to get infected, but as their proportion of the community rises, so does the percentage of infections occurring among them. If 20 percent of people are fully vaccinated, they’ll account for 9 percent of infections; meanwhile, the 80 percent of the population that’s unvaccinated will account for 91 percent. Now flip that. If only 20 percent of people are unvaccinated, there will be fewer infections overall. But vaccinated people, who are now in the majority, will account for most of those infections—62 percent.
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That is why this particular statistic—the proportion of vaccinated people in a given outbreak—is so deeply misleading. “The better the vaccine uptake, the scarier this number will seem,” wrote Lucy D’Agostino McGowan, a statistician at Wake Forest University. By extension, the safer communities become, the more it will seem like the sky is falling—if we continue focusing on the wrong statistics.
“If you’re trying to decide on getting vaccinated, you don’t want to look at the percentage of sick people who were vaccinated,” McGowan wrote. “You want to look at the percentage of people who were vaccinated and got sick.”
Note percentage. In July, an NBC News article stated that “At Least 125,000 Fully Vaccinated Americans Have Tested Positive” for the coronavirus. In isolation, that’s an alarming number. But it represented just 0.08 percent of the 165 million people who were fully vaccinated at the time. More recently, Duke University reported that 364 students had tested positive in a single week—a figure that represents just 1.6 percent of the more than 15,000 students who were tested. The denominator matters.
The denominators in these calculations also change, dragging the numerators higher along with them. As surges grow, so too will the number of infected people, which means the number of breakthrough infections will also grow. Even if the percentage of breakthroughs stays steady, though, vaccines will feel less effective if the pandemic is allowed to rage out of control, because …
Go read the whole thing.
- Posted by Rich Miller
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