* Attorney Tom Devore emerged briefly from the Clay County courthouse to tell reporters that he won both cases he was litigating today, according to Tony Yuscious at BlueRoomStream.com, who is on site.
One of those cases was Rep. Darren Bailey’s lawsuit that the state tried to move to federal court. Among other things, Bailey claimed that the governor had no authority to issue multiple Executive Orders on the same topic.
A southern Illinois couple has filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Public Health and the State Board of Education, alleging that the state’s plans to reopen schools this fall with safety protocols in place will “result in immediate and irreparable harm” to their three children.
The suit, filed in Clay County by James and Kali Mainer, requests a temporary restraining order that would put a halt to mandatory facial coverings, temperature checks, and limitations on groups of 50 or more individuals.
In the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday, the couple alleges that the IDPH and ISBE “have promulgated unlawful, arbitrary and capricious mandates” that place an “unreasonable burden” on the family’s three children.
The family’s suit says that they have “protectable rights and interests at stake to be free from unlawful, arbitrary and capricious rule making,” and that the rules that state officials have formulated are “unlawful,” since they are only aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Devore is expected to speak to reporters soon.
*** UPDATE 1 *** OK, what I’m now getting is that on the mask case, Devore withdrew his request for a TRO.
What it looks like here is that nothing really changes.
*** UPDATE 2 *** The AG’s office has ten days to respond in the school mask case.
The judge did declare the EOs after the first one Pritzker issued to be void. Click here. He declined to issue a declaratory judgement. He did grant summary judgement for Bailey.
As to whether this applies anywhere outside Clay County, the AG’s office wasn’t prepared to say one way or another. “We are reviewing the decision and evaluating our options.”
*** UPDATE 3 *** Emily Bittner at the governor’s office…
Every other court – both state and federal – that has considered these exact issues has agreed with the administration that executive orders protecting Illinoisans’ health and safety are well within the governor’s constitutional authority. This includes a federal court decision earlier today. Governor Pritzker will continue to prioritize Illinoisans’ health and safety first, and the people of Illinois have taken extraordinary care to follow health experts’ advice, which is why our state has the lowest positivity rate in the Midwest. While this one county circuit court has gone a different direction from all of the other cases, the administration will ultimately seek to appeal this ruling, and the Governor will continue to urge the people of Illinois to exercise constant vigilance and keep doing what has worked: wash your hands, watch your distance and wear your face covering.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 869 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 36 additional confirmed deaths.
Cook County: 1 male 40s, 2 females 50s, 1 male 50s, 1 female 60s, 4 males 60s, 3 females 70s, 4 males 70s, 3 females 80s, 2 males 80s, 6 females 90s, 1 male 90s
DeKalb County: 1 male 80s
DuPage County: 1 female 80s
Kane County: 1 female 70s
Lake County: 2 females 70s, 1 male 70s
St. Clair County: 1 female 70s
Winnebago County: 1 female 80s
Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 144,882 cases, including 6,987 deaths, in 101 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 30,262 specimens for a total of 1,666,317. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from June 25 –July 1, is 2.6%.
* I’m told that Mayor Lightfoot will likely announce an order today requiring self-quarantining for those who’ve come from or have been to certain states. Stay tuned.
…Adding… Lightfoot did, indeed, issue that decree. Click here.
* Illinois Gaming Board warns gaming interests to comply or face the consequences…
Dear Illinois Gaming Industry,
To facilitate the resumption of video gaming and casino gambling across our state as a part of Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) worked closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Governor’s office to develop guidelines and protocols that protect the safety of the staff and patrons of the Illinois gaming industry. The July 1 resumption of gaming was possible only because of the progress and sacrifices people all across Illinois made to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To sustain our progress, the IGB reminds all video gaming locations, terminal operators and casinos of their obligation to abide by all applicable state and local laws, Executive Orders, Disaster Proclamations, IGB Resumption Protocols, Gaming Resumption Plans, and IDPH and CDC guidelines. Among other things, these requirements include wearing face coverings in gaming establishments and casinos, practicing social distancing, washing hands regularly, and following signage. A licensee’s failure to comply with COVID-19 health and safety requirements may result in discipline, up to and including license revocation. More importantly, disregard of such preventative measures and requirements could contribute to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Illinois and another potential suspension of gaming operations. That is a result nobody wants. We urge you not to let it happen.
The IGB will continue to work diligently to protect the safety and integrity of Illinois gaming. We appreciate your ongoing cooperation with our efforts.
Marcus D. Fruchter
Illinois Gaming Board
The state of Illinois, like most states, began a new fiscal year on July 1 and the person in charge of managing the state’s bank accounts said she fears it could be one of the most difficult years in modern memory.
“This is going to be, I think, by far perhaps the most challenging year that I’ve had to manage as comptroller,” state Comptroller Susana Mendoza said in an interview Wednesday. “And that’s saying something because, you know, I had to navigate the state through what was, when I took office, the worst fiscal crisis that our state had ever experienced, that two-year budget impasse.”
The difference between then and now, she said, was that during the budget impasse, the state still had revenues flowing in, just no legal authority to spend it. But in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the near shutdown of the state’s economy that it forced, Illinois now isn’t seeing anything close to the revenues it will need to fund the new budget.
Small businesses are still reeling from the sudden onset of the virus-induced recession, but Quincy officials are hoping a new initiative announced Wednesday will help retailers survive.
“What an amazing opportunity that we have here to support Quincy businesses during this challenging time,” said Quincy Aldermen Katie Awerkamp, D-6, who alongside Aldermen Jason Finney, R-4, are championing the initiative known as “Helping Establishments Re-Open,” or HERO.
The proposed initiative would offer up to 4,000 households a one-time $25 credit on a future water bill to residents who spend more than $150 pretax at retail stores, boutiques, salons, studios, clothing stores and other nonessential businesses within city limits that were forced to close. Purchases made at grocery stores, gas stations, home improvement stores, garden centers, liquor stores, cannabis dispensaries, video gaming parlors and pharmacies will not count toward the credit.
Per the initative’s parameters, the water credits will be first-come, first-serve and limited to one per household.
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Defendant JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois, has issued a series of executive orders including Executive Order 2020-43 (“Order”). The Order prohibits gatherings greater than fifty people but exempts the free exercise of religion from this limit.
Plaintiffs Illinois Republican Party, Will County Republican Central Committee, Schaumburg Township Republican Organization, and Northwest Side GOP Club challenge this exemption as violating their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs allege that by exempting the free exercise of religion from the general gathering limit, the Governor has created an unconstitutional content-based restriction on speech. Plaintiffs also claim that by not enforcing the Order against protestors following the death of George Floyd, the Governor has created another exception. Plaintiffs filed a complaint and a motion for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) and preliminary injunction in this Court on June 15, 2020 because they want to hold political party events larger than fifty people, including a picnic on July 4th. Plaintiffs seek a declaration stating that treating political party gatherings differently than religious gatherings violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs also ask the Court to enjoin the Governor from enforcing the Order against political parties.
Because Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits is less than negligible and the balance of harms weighs heavily against Plaintiffs, the Court denies their motion.
Plaintiffs have not shown how this exemption is a plain invasion of their constitutional rights. The Order involves reasonable measures intended to protect public health while preserving avenues for First Amendment activities. […]
Overall, plaintiffs have failed to point to anything that suggests selective enforcement against protestors based on the content of their message, and the Governor’s participation in one protest does not give rise to content-based discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.
When a gathering is still allowed based on the speech involved, the government has engaged in content-based discrimination. The Court finds that by exempting free exercise of religion from the gathering limit, the Order creates a content-based restriction.
…Adding… A commenter suggests the above means the judge believes the governor’s religious exemption is unconstitutional. I doubt the governor will press that further, but somebody else might. Checking with the AG’s office at the moment, but the ILGOP might want to reconsider its appeal.
…Adding… The AG’s office said the judge didn’t “invalidate the exemption for religious organizations.” True, but the judge may have opened the door to it.
Plaintiffs contend that the Governor cannot satisfy the least restrictive means test because a political party caucus is no more likely to spread COVID-19 than a church service. However, the Constitution does not accord a political party the same express protections as it provides to religion. And by statute, Illinois has undertaken steps to provide additional protections for the exercise of religion. Additionally, the Order’s limited exemptions reinforce that it is narrowly tailored. The Order only exempts two other functions from the gathering limit: emergency and governmental functions. These narrow exemptions demonstrate that the Order eliminates the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 when people gather while only exempting necessary functions to protect health, safety, and welfare and free exercise of religion. Therefore, the Governor has carried his burden at this stage in demonstrating that the Order is narrowly tailored to further a compelling interest, and the Order survives strict scrutiny.
The balance of harms further confirms that Plaintiffs are not entitled to preliminary relief. Under the sliding scale approach, the less likely Plaintiffs’ chance of success the more the balance of harms must weigh in their favor. Because Plaintiffs’ claims have little likelihood of succeeding on the merits, they are not entitled to preliminary relief unless they show that the scales weigh heavily in their favor.
The scales weigh significantly against Plaintiffs. The number of COVID-19 infections continues to rise across the United States, which has led some states to recently impose greater restrictions on gatherings and activities. COVID-19 is highly contagious and continues to spread, requiring public officials to constantly evaluate the best method by which to protect residents’ safety against the economy and a myriad of other concerns. Granting Plaintiffs the relief they seek would pose serious risks to public health. […]
Plaintiffs to gather in large groups so that they can engage in more effective speech is simply not in the public interest. Such relief would expand beyond any gatherings and negatively impact non-parties by increasing their risk of exposure. Thus, the harms tilt significantly in the Governor’s favor as he seeks to prevent the spread of this virulent virus.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Chairman Tim Schneider…
We are disappointed with today’s results and obviously disagree with the ruling. Our fight to secure our first amendment right is not over, however. Our lawyers have immediately begun the process for appealing the decision.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Emily Bittner at the governor’s office (yes, she’s back)…
Governor Pritzker continues to prioritize Illinoisans’ health and safety first, and the people of Illinois have taken extraordinary care to follow health experts’ advice, which is why our state has the lowest positivity rate in the Midwest. Today’s decision is a win for everyone in Illinois. The administration respects the court’s decision and believes strongly in the First Amendment, and the Governor will continue to urge the people of Illinois to exercise constant vigilance and keep doing what has worked: wash your hands, watch your distance and wear your mask.
* San Antonio went from a positivity rate of less than 4 percent to more than 20 percent in a month. Here’s what is happening at one hospital. You really should take the time to watch this…
“If you want to see August 1st, then maybe you should stay indoors and isolate on July 4th.” Health care workers at the San Antonio Methodist Hospital say they are treating coronavirus patients of all ages, including mothers who can’t meet their newborns to prevent transmission pic.twitter.com/EnWi9F4Nm3
Rep. Darren Bailey’s court battle against Gov. JB Pritzker will return to Clay County Thursday afternoon.
The Xenia Republican is cutting his Florida vacation short to make it back to court. However, Bailey’s spokesman says he won’t get tested for COVID-19 “on the advice of his doctor.” Jose Durbin explained Bailey has no symptoms and stayed in Florida less than 48 hours. Bailey’s Attorney, Tom DeVore, says he won’t get tested either. “I’m feeling fine and don’t see a need for a test.”
Is he being advised by Dr. Kevorkian?
* And the local GOP is throwing an indoors party…
A theory is going around that some of these southern/southwestern outbreaks could be due to people going back inside to recreate in order to escape the heat outside.
* Florida shatters records with over 10,000 new COVID-19 cases in single day: In June, Florida infections rose by 168% or over 95,000 new cases. The percent of tests coming back positive has skyrocketed to 15% from 4% at the end of May. Florida, with 21 million residents, has reported more new daily coronavirus cases than any European country had at the height of their outbreaks.
* Florida’s COVID-19 cases have exploded since DeSantis OK’d reopening plan: Since the governor made the announcement on June 3 that bars, movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades and auditoriums could begin to reopen at 50-percent capacity indoors with strict sanitation and social distancing guidelines in place – and full capacity outdoors – Florida’s COVID-19 numbers have skyrocketed, with a four-digit increase every day except one, which fell just shy of the 1,000 mark.
* Coronavirus in Lee County: What you need to know Thursday, July 2: Those new positive cases resulted from a total of 1,088 tests reported Wednesday by the state for Lee County. That’s a positivity rate of 32.5%. Lee crossed 5,000 COVID-19 cases on Sunday. It took just four more days for the county to easily surpass 6,000. That’s one more day than it took for Lee to go from 4,000 cases (June 25) to 5,000 (June 28).
Take your pick. The pandemic, the police killing of George Floyd, the presidential election. Protests, looting, calls to “defund the police.”
Any one of such similar events historically has been enough to push some people off the fence, prompting them to finally buy a gun or add to their collection.
But with a wave of crises crashing across the country, more than 40,000 Illinoisans applied for a gun permit in a little more than two weeks this month, more than 500% over this time last year, according to Illinois State Police.
The St. Louis Cardinals have replaced the New York Yankees as the opponent for the Chicago White Sox in the Field of Dreams game on Aug. 13 at Dyersville, Iowa.
The schedule change caused by the new coronavirus pandemic meant the White Sox no longer play the Yankees this season. The new opponent, first reported by The Des Moines Register, was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the arrangements who spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the matchup has not been announced.
Major League Baseball hopes to announce its new schedule next week. Each team will play 60 games, 40 against division rivals and 20 against teams in the corresponding regional division in the other league. […]
A temporary 8,000-seat stadium is nearing completion at the site, about 200 miles west of Chicago, adjacent to where the movie was filmed on a diamond in a cornfield. This would be the major league game played in Iowa.
I am pretty sure the baseball season will at least start. Whether MLB finishes the season is still far up in the air.
Despite warnings that preemptive sweeps will “drive a wedge between police and communities of color,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday stood firmly behind Chicago Police Supt. David Brown’s decision to sweep young people off drug corners over the July Fourth weekend to prevent another holiday bloodbath.
Brown has branded arrests tied to possession of guns and open-air drug markets “precursors to violence” and vowed to sweep those corners of the young people put there by drug dealers.
The superintendent has pleaded with State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Chief Circuit Court Judge Tim Evans to keep them in jail — at least over the long holiday weekend — to prevent a continuation of the violence that has gunned down four children over the last 10 days alone.
Wednesday, Lightfoot argued the cynical tactic of using young people without criminal records was “shades of Larry Hoover from the 1990’s,” referring to the imprisoned leader of the Gangster Disciples.
She noted “drug enterprises” are “literally willing to fight to the deaths to keep those spots” because some corners can earn them $30,000 to $50,000 a day.
“This is shades of, like Larry Hoover from the 1990s,” Lightfoot said at an unrelated news conference. “What these drug enterprises are doing is this: These spots, they can earn $30 to $50,000 a day. They’re extraordinarily lucrative. Which is why they’re literally willing to fight to the death to keep those spots. But cynically — and this is what the superintendent was saying, and why he’s frustrated — they put young people out on those corners.”
C’mon. “$30,000 to $50,000 a day”? Please. You can’t earn $18 million a year selling drugs on a single street corner. Since when has she been hanging out with Darren Bailey?
Yes, they can be lucrative, but this is just a goofy claim.
The @ChicagoParks IG says a Lakeview East homeowner has cordoned off nearly 3K square feet of property in Lincoln Park for his own personal use. @ChicagoParks has asked to remove the encroachments for 5+ years, but "Homeowner, who is apparently well-connected, has refused."
A wealthy, politically connected family blocked off 3,000 square feet of public parkland in Lakeview as their own front yard for the past five years by planting hedges, Chicago Park District’s inspector general alleged in a new report.
The homeowners put in hedges and fencing in 2015, effectively cordoning off the parkland to create a makeshift yard on land reserved for public use, parks Inspector General Will Fletcher wrote in a report last week.
And for five years, the Park District has been trying to get the family to remove the approximately 4-foot-high landscaping, but they have refused.
Instead, city officials have been met with “unsubstantiated and conflicting explanations” about their right to exclude access to public parkland from an “apparently well-connected” family, Fletcher wrote.
Although the inspector general’s report does not identify the address or homeowner by name, sources confirm it refers to a sleek, modern home in the 3000 block of North Lake Shore Drive West owned by businessman Michael Tadin Jr. and his wife, Natalie Tadin.
* Good point…
The city goes into homeless encampments, throws away tents and personal belongings and upends people's lives in a matter of hours.
But the park district has been **"TRYING"** (???) to get these people to remove their shrubs from public land for FIVE YEARS?!?!? https://t.co/Kg3tBaExW7
Turns out, the clout-heavy Tadin family's "front yard" in Lakeview is actually public parkland, despite what the manicured hedges might lead you to believe. So our @markbrownCST decided to enjoy a little picnic in the park this afternoon. Story to come — stay tuned. https://t.co/V2eSugnegupic.twitter.com/DUNdC2v2IW
In the face of public uproar over bushes he planted that cordon off public parkland in front of his home, Tadin said Thursday he has reached agreement with the city and Park District to remove the offending hedgerow.
Workers were already on the scene early Thursday and Tadin said he expected the work to be done by the end of the day. He said sod will be planted Friday where the bushes have stood.
Goodbye, field trips and perfect attendance awards. Hello, one-way hallways, daily temperature checks and quarantine rooms.
That’s some of what we can look ahead to now that Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave his approval last week for schools in Illinois to reopen for in-class instruction this fall, encouraging schools to welcome back kids and staff under detailed state guidelines aimed at keeping them safe.
In Chicago’s new normal, there will be face masks on everyone over 2, bans on handshakes and any other touching, tons of hand-washing and six-feet social distancing requirements in classrooms, on playgrounds and everywhere else at school. Everyone who enters school buildings will get temperature checks, too.
But how that all will work and what the rest of school is going to look like are among the things still to be decided by school districts in the city, suburbs and statewide as schools face the realities of welcoming back to classrooms kids who are likely to be behind academically after learning from home all spring.
“The COVID-19 crisis shook our structures of teaching and learning to the core, but we have now an opportunity to emerge stronger and to make lasting changes in the ways we support, teach, connect with and value each of the 2 million students in our care,” says a 63-page report from the Illinois State Board of Education. “This return to school is not ‘business as usual’ but rather the convergence of a new reality in educational excellence in Illinois.”
I’m often asked if I think schools and universities really will reopen. I kinda dodge it by saying if the state regresses from Phase 4, then obviously not. But if we keep the flatline going, then yes. Whether they can stay open is the real question.
* Some will certainly become infected. For instance, the San Francisco Bay area has done a remarkable job controlling the virus. Even so…
More than 40 school principals in the South Bay are in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 during an in-person meeting held by the Santa Clara Unified School District.
Students in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have been attending parties in the city and surrounding area as part of a disturbing contest to see who can catch the virus first, a city council member told ABC News on Wednesday.
Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry said students have been organizing “COVID parties” as a game to intentionally infect each other with the contagion that has killed more than 127,000 people in the United States. She said she recently learned of the behavior and informed the city council of the parties occurring in the city.
She said the organizers of the parties are purposely inviting guests who have COVID-19.
“They put money in a pot and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense,” McKinstry said. “They’re intentionally doing it.”
So as the summer gets started, it might seem easy to argue that schools must open for normal business this fall. But we can’t overlook the potential for transmission in the school setting, which can only be reduced and not eliminated. Some tools to reduce that risk definitely work: distancing, hand-washing, mask use, testing and effective tracing and isolation of contacts if a case is found. Yet even as they plan for how to operate safely in person, school systems around the country are also preparing now for how to make online learning work well if they have to shut down again in the event of a large fall surge and extensive community transmission that once again threatens to overwhelm hospitals.
We can avoid that, and keep schools open, if we shift our priorities.
If we want schools to open in a few months and stay open, we need to keep community transmission low. The best way to do that is to suppress the spread of the virus. That means looking at what is reopening and when, and figuring out whether those sectors of the economy are really more important than schools. All reopening will likely increase community transmission to some degree.
So what are we all willing to give up to keep in-person education on the agenda? Can you forgo a night out at a bar or a trip to a casino? Can you give up dining inside a restaurant? What are you willing to give up to ensure that school openings don’t wind up pushing us over the edge? What are we willing to sacrifice? We need to decide where our priorities as a community lie, and in a way we can all support — whether we are ourselves parents, teachers or neither. We need to face this threat together.