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*** UPDATED x1 *** House votes 81-27 to remove Rep. Bailey from the House floor

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

* From the House floor today

Rep. Chris Welch: I still see that there are some folks on the floor that do not have their masks on. I’d like to ask that those who are not in compliance with this rule that was passed in a bipartisan way that they’d come into compliance with the rules of the House.

Rep. Jay Hoffman in the Speaker’s chair: So we’ll take a moment for compliance, please everyone.

Rep. Welch: Mr Speaker, I see that one member is not in compliance with the rules of the House. And I’d like to ask Representative Bailey if he would come into compliance with the rules that have been passed in a bipartisan matter here this afternoon.

Rep. Hoffman: Representative Bailey, will you comply with the House rules?

Rep. Darren Bailey: I will not. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Rep. Welch: Representative Bailey has noted for the record, that he does not intend to come into compliance with the House rules. This is not something that I want to do that I must to enforce the rules of the House. So at this time I’m making a motion to remove Representative Bailey from the House floor until such time that he is willing to come into compliance with the House rules.

Rep. Hoffman: Representative Welch has made a motion to remove Representative Bailey from the House floor for non compliance with the House rules. Is there any discussion?

Rep. Dan Caulkins: You know, I’ve lived 73 years, I’ve been through a lot of things. And this is probably one of the most, and then let me just, let me put it this way, every person in this room is free of COVID-19. We’ve all taken a test. There wasn’t any person in here that’s the fact that this is the safest building, public space in the state of Illinois. We are social distancing, we’re maintaining our space. And if someone chooses to exercise their right. I don’t think that we should take punitive action against them. I think this is a mistake. I would ask you to withdraw your motion. I think this sets sets us up for the environment. None of us are threatened. None of our families here here. I have no fear of any of you. And I don’t think any of you should have any fear of me. So I would request that you please withdraw your motion. Thank you.

Rep. Mark Batinick: I’m as frustrated as everybody that we’re wearing masks right now. I know everybody wants to see my cheery smile. But frankly if it made everybody feel comfortable that I had to, you know, tap my head 10 times above my belly at the same time to make everybody feel comfortable about going about their business, I would do it because I’m about, you know, this is for some, this is symbolic. And I understand the symbolism of it. But I think there’s more important things that we are doing with their time right now so I just urge all of our members to comply for the rest of the week, and and get on with people’s business. Thank you.

Rep. Mike Zalewski: If you’re not going to do it for your own personal volition, please do it for the staff that work incredibly hard to stand up, a temporary House chamber for three straight days, of important workers, the first responders here. We have staff here that are [garbled] the building. We have our staff here. And none of us can guarantee we’re COVID negative over the course of the next three days. And none of us can guarantee that we’re going to be safe when really added to. So if you’re not going to do it for yourself if you’re not going to do it for your colleagues, respectfully, as a matter of course, please do it for your staff, and those that are very hard to give up the people’s business. I support the gentleman’s motion.

Rep. Dan Brady: Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, the House. Just a point to make to the earlier comment. So one of my colleagues said this may be the safest building that there is because of all the safety precautions we’re taking. I think the purpose of the House rules change is to ensure that keep this building that way. I think the people that sent us here to represent them today and all this turmoil that’s going on … whatever district you represent. But those people intended for us to focus our time. … Ladies and gentlemen of the House, we hear it all the time, we’re all in this together. So let’s be together. Let’s show the people there in the light. We’re here to get things moving and open across the state.

This is a rush transcript, so please pardon all transcription errors.

* The roll call on Rep. Welch’s motion…

* Escorted from the House…

…Adding… The rule was adopted earlier today 97-12. So some folks flip-flopped when it came to actually enforcing it.

…Adding… From the pool report…

Prior to session reconvening after caucus on Wednesday, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, who was wearing a mask spoke for several minutes with unmasked Rep. Darren Bailey.

When the House returned to session, Durkin urged all members to comply with the new rules.

“We cannot ignore nor compromise the health and safety of every member of the General Assembly, their family members, every one of our staffers who works tirelessly for us,” Durkin said.

*** UPDATE *** This guy…

- Posted by Rich Miller   111 Comments      

Pritzker changes course, state will allow limited outdoor seating at bars, restaurants in Phase 3 - Boating, camping up to 10 people - Tennis facilities to open - Golf foursomes - All state parks to open - Explains reasons for withdrawing IDPH rule - Leader Cunningham says new bill won’t be anything beyond a fine - Cunningham explains JCAR process - Explains why Amy Jacobson was excluded - Says withdrawing rule was not an admission that he’d exceeded authority - “President Trump isn’t following science or data” - Continuing to look at childcare rules - Time for ethics bills later this year - “Won’t stand for” cut in breast and cervical cancer screening program - Supports raising tax credit threshold for biz paying higher minimum wage - Says will donate profits if any of his companies do business with Illinois government - Unsure on how much state will borrow from Federal Reserve program - Rep. Bailey showed “callous disregard for people’s health”

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

* Gov. Pritzker at his daily briefing

When I introduced our reopening framework. I said that we can and we will make our restore Illinois plan smarter as we move forward. That is as true today as it was a few weeks ago. We are by no means out of the woods, the virus is still causing sickness and taking lives, but directionally things are getting better.

And because of these advances we’re able to make some modifications to allow more activity during phase three of our reopening plan, restore Illinois, which all regions of Illinois appear to be on track to reach by the end of May.

Every day from the beginning of this pandemic my team and I have been in close consultation with public health experts, both inside and outside government to discuss when and how we can return, different elements of everyday life for Illinoisans. Our mission has always been to get people back to work, get students back to school and return to as much normalcy as possible without jeopardizing the health and safety of Illinoisans. To do so, we’ve listened and learned and tracked the science and the data every day to ensure that we’re taking the best possible approach based on that work. The experts have indicated that we can build on to our plan to bring back more activities faster, as long as Illinoisans continue to do as we have been doing adhering to precautions and safety measures to keep each other safe.

I want to begin by talking about bars and restaurants, many of which are the beloved institutions that make the cities and towns of Illinois so special. The local diner, the corner bar with friendly servers and bartenders and owners known to the whole community. Tragically, they were some of the first and hardest hit by this pandemic. To date, my administration is delivered 10s of millions of dollars of assistance to small businesses, including two bars and restaurants. The industry employs hundreds of thousands of people in every corner of our state and financial assistance, isn’t enough. So it’s been important to me to reopen them, but only if it can be done in a way that keeps its employees and customers safe.

Given what is known about how this virus spreads in closed spaces, our public health experts made the decision early on that bars and restaurants should not open their regular indoor food service, and that’s still the case, until we reach phase four.

That has turned out to be a good public health decision. But we have to put public health first. And that means the safety and peace of mind of consumers and employees alike. But the epidemiologists now believe that summer offers us an opportunity, if proper precautions are taken by businesses and their patrons. So after listening to and working with restaurant industry representatives, together with our epidemiologists.

Today I’m announcing an additional option for bars and restaurants interested in resuming operations earlier. Opening for outdoor seating when phase three begins, likely for everyone just nine days from now. With the right restrictions, tables, six feet apart, and away from the sidewalks masks and distancing measures for staff and other precautions. The experts believe that these services can open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities, and give our hospitality industry, a much needed boost, as they work to keep their businesses on their feet during this terrible crisis.

Please remember to pardon all transcription errors.

* More…

On that note, I want to encourage municipalities and mayors who are interested in helping restaurants expand their outdoor seating options to do whatever is in their power and best fits their communities to help these restaurants. We’ve seen an incredible outpouring of creativity from every corner of the state throughout this crisis and I have no doubt that Illinois will continue that spirit as we pave our way forward.

Looking ahead, I also want to elaborate on next steps for outdoor activities. As laid out in Restore Illinois, phase three permits all gatherings, not just essential ones of 10 people or fewer. That means if you want to go enjoy a picnic in the park or walk with nine other people, you can just remember to wear a mask or face covering when social distancing can’t be maintained.

With this new 10 person gathering limit our restriction around outdoor activities and phase three,we’ll see some changes. That means, boating, or camping with up to 10 people is welcome in boats that are an appropriate size to hold that number.

Illinois is also allowing the reopening of indoor and outdoor tennis facilities with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits.

* More…

As for golfers, in phase three courses can allow foursomes out on the same tee times. Carts will also be permitted with only one person per cart, or one immediate household member per cart.

With significant work to determine staffing and safety measures, all state parks will reopen on May 29, all concessions will reopen as well under guidelines set for our retail and food service businesses in phase three.

* And more…

Additionally, in the coming days we will be providing guidance on how other outdoor recreational businesses, such as driving ranges ,outdoor shooting ranges and paintball courses can safely open their doors in phase three.

And on the topic of the days ahead I want to remind everyone of the other businesses and activities already laid out for phase three. In phase three personal care services like nail salons, beauty salons, spas, tattoo shops, hair braiders and barber shops, can open with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits for health clubs gyms and fitness studios one on one. Personal training in indoor facilities and outdoor fitness classes of up to 10 people are allowed with precautions adhered to. And all retail stores, basically any store that wasn’t already opened as an essential business can choose to open their doors to an in person shopping with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits in place.

* More…

The virus has not gone away. Other states that have thrown out restrictions and decided to just go without regulation are seeing rising cases and beginning to see rising hospitalizations. Here in Illinois, we have followed the science and we’re succeeding. But we can’t let up now. We’ve come too far and we’ve made so much progress because we’ve kept social distance worn face coverings in public, washed our hands frequently and taking care of our most vulnerable to the best of our ability. We must persevere, Illinois. This road is a long one. And I know that it’s hard to see that heat on display by recent protesters who ignore that we’ve lost thousands of Illinoisans to this virus. Thousands more are fighting for their lives in our hospitals, and our medical professions, and our medical professionals are heroically working around the clock to save lives. perspective is often difficult to find from up close, but the way the vast majority of the people of the state have come together in this, in this moment is truly incredible. I have never been more proud of Illinois.

* Sam Toia of the Illinois Restaurant Association…

Today’s announcements provides a glimmer of light at the end of this very dark tunnel. The governor’s action to allow for expanded outdoor dining options will be benefit to many, at a time when every dollar counts. We recognize that this action will not provide a solution for every operator, but it’s a step in the right direction for restaurant diners. […]

Let’s close down the streets, let’s expand sidewalk cafes that use parking lots and public ways. Let’s show the world how innovative Illinois can be. Again, while we recognize this solution won’t apply to all operators. It’s a step in the right direction and presents an opportunity for Illinois to demonstrate our leadership and innovation

* Back to Gov. Pritzker…

I want to address my administration’s emergency rule authorizing an additional compliance mechanism relating to our stay at home order, assisting local law enforcement and state’s attorneys in their work to keep people safe. The majority of states from our Midwest colleagues like Ohio and Wisconsin to other republican led states like Georgia and Florida have or have had a broader range of enforcement mechanisms relating to their stay at home orders. This temporary emergency rule brought Illinois in line with this national practice, giving local officials more flexibility in their ability to enforce this order with a simple citation that flexibility is the critical piece of this, the state already has enforcement authority, through an IDPH closure order or the revocation of a business license. But those tools are harsher measures than anybody, including me, is interested in pursuing. A business that chooses not to follow the rules can recover from a fine. It is much more expensive to deal with being stripped of a license or forced to close.

The General Assembly has now returned to its operations for the first time since March, and in consultation with leadership in the statehouse, my administration has decided to withdraw this rule in order to pursue legislation with the same intended mechanism in a phased manner in line with the Restore Illinois plan.

Enacting this measure through legislation will allow us to have these tools through our the Restore Illinois plan versus an emergency rule that would be withdrawn and rewritten at the start of phase three and then phase four. I’m here today with Illinois State Police director Brendan Kelly as well as Leader Bill Cunningham, who is sponsoring this legislation. I urge the General Assembly to take up and pass this legislation this week. Given the importance of what we are trying to do here, we will look to file an additional rule if legislation does not occur.

* Senate President Pro Tempore Bill Cunningham…

I want to focus on a point that the governor just made, that being that the legislature is back in session this week. So we all know that has not been the case for several weeks. In the absence of the legislature, the governor and his administration the various agencies in the administration have had to promulgate emergency rules. Many of those rules are meant to be aligned with the governor’s executive order related to staying safe during the coronavirus crisis.

By virtue of the fact that we’re here in town, we’ve talked with the governor, both members of the Joint Committee on administrative rules which I am the co-chairman of, and the leadership in both chambers. And we think it’s appropriate that we deal with this problem through the regular legislative order, and that’s what we’re committed to do this week. I think I can speak for myself and I believe a number of other legislators that we agree with the intent of the Department of Public Health, when it comes to enforcing the governor’s stay at home order. We’ve had some disagreements about the exact process, but now we’ll be able to delve into those things here in the legislature. That’s the way the process is intended to work, and we’re looking forward to working with a governor on developing a, I think a really important and sensible piece of legislation.

* Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly…

This is probably the most difficult public policy problem that law enforcement has faced, certainly in our lifetimes. Balancing the need for public health and public safety, as well as the need for personal rights and personal concerns and the ability for people to live their lives. This is an extremely difficult problem, and the men and women of law enforcement have risen to the challenge at every stage to do everything they can to protect the public health and these very different difficult circumstances.

* More Director Kelly…

Let me say from the very beginning it has been the governor’s intent and the governor’s direction from day one, that no one be arrested. No one be taken to jail. No one be put in that situation for violating the conditions of the executive order or any emergency rule, and that is the case today. The Illinois state police have not taken anybody to jail for violations of the executive order, or for any of the conditions related to emergency rules promulgated by any agency during the pandemic. […]

No one wants to take somebody’s liquor license permanently and put that business out of business. Absent that act, absent those measures the Illinois Department of Public Health Act which has been on the books for many years, we are left with enforcement of any type of rule that falls under the Illinois Department of Public Health Act.

Now that the senator, Leader Cunningham and the governor as they’ve mentioned today are moving forward with some type of legislation, what’s important is that we get what all law enforcement has been seeking throughout this process, and that we hope to see at the end of this process is consistency clarity and fairness.

* On to questions for the governor. Can you explain what this new bill will do and why you think it will have Republican support, or do you care whether it has Republican support?…

Leader Cunningham: I think it’s fair to say that there was a bit of an overreaction to the original rule. And that I think was created by the fact that it referred to a Class a misdemeanor.

Now, as the director said there was never any intent to see anyone arrested. There is a provision of a misdemeanor that allows for a fine. That was the intent. That was the intended enforcement tool, not a criminal charge that would allow that would end up in detention.

So we want to clarify that that is not part of our effort that we if there was any sanction in place, it would not be anything beyond it fine. That would be adjudicated in the civil court system, or through some administrative system, and not through the criminal courts.

We also, as has been mentioned, want to avoid revoking licenses that could have, I think, a long lasting negative effect on a business.

What we want to have is something that our public health departments and the police departments that they work in concert with to have tools to enforce the stay at home order, make sure businesses are following aspects of that order. And I think it’s fair to say we would like to do it with a soft touch. That is the intent of the legislation.

Obviously we will go through the process with both chambers going back and forth. But again, we’re looking to land on this, the intent of the rule, we’ll just do it through the regular law making process.

* Governor, there’s been challenges on your executive authority before, was this one where you finally said, I’m not going to die on this hill, let’s let legislature have a say?…

No, I think the Senator, leader, really expressed it well. The challenge of the existing legislation, which was originally enacted I think in the 19th century, is that it only allows for a Class A misdemeanor. And that’s a pretty large amount of latitude as some have pointed out right that even as much as potentially jail time although again that was never my intent and you can go back to press conferences two months ago, and you would hear me say that it’s never been my intent to have law enforcement to prosecute somebody or arrest somebody put them in jail. So, you know, we wanted to have some kind of enforcement mechanism and I think a citation is the right way to do it. I think the senator has described it well. And, you know, we’ve never looked for the maximum penalties under even a class a misdemeanor.

* The Committee met in pre-meeting for three hours. This is the kind of thing that taxpayers just rouses them, they want issues debated in Springfield and they want it to be open, why was your staff in their meeting setting for staff meeting and why don’t you condemn that kind of lack of transparency?…

Leader Cunningham: I want to just explain a little bit about it first. It is really a bridge between the legislature and the executive branch, we pass bills, in which we give rulemaking authority to agencies, the agencies, then propagate those rules. shaycarl looks at those rules and determines whether or not we believe they’re in compliance with the law is the process contest contemplates cooperation and negotiation between the legislature and the executive in this area. It is not uncommon at all for an agency to submit a rule, and for Jake are to engage in discussions with the agency promulgating the rule, and maybe not be completely happy with what they’ve proposed and urge them to amend that rule that happens all the time. We did that today with a rule that the Secretary of State’s office submitted. So this is a essentially a negotiation, like something that goes on every day, and the legislature between the executive branch and the legislative branch. When we take any action, those actions are taken in public, where it can be viewed by citizens, that’s what happened today that’s what has happened all along with the JCAR process.

* The new rule on outdoor eating and dining was exactly what a bar tavern restaurant in the Quad Cities was doing. I think they sued you. There’s a lawsuit because they were shut down, had picnic tables 10 feet apart, and they were serving carry out and then patrons were did that. Did that did that restaurant’s experience or any other restaurant’s experience, help, you know, make make you look at it again and if it did, why not give them credit and say, look at me I’m open to suggestions?…

I’ve been listening to restaurateurs and bar owners for quite some time. I’ve known Sam Toia for more than 20 years 25 years. I am you know I know quite a number of owners, as well as people working those [garbled] and I have been listening all along here because I want to do the right thing. The most important thing is that we’ve got to make sure that the epidemiologists the experts here, feel that we can execute this in a way that keeps people safe, that’s the number one consideration that was why we originally had to close bars and restaurants because the feeling back then. Without knowing much about this novel coronavirus was, we need to stop restaurants or bars while we figured out what the best way to proceed was. And even now as you know there are challenges and the restaurant industry has been terrific at proposing safe ways for people to dine and to go out and enjoy themselves, and the summer offers us the unique opportunity according to the epidemiologist for us to begin to bring those restaurants back online. So the credit really goes to the leadership of the industry, goes to the many restaurant tours who frankly have been good actors all along, and remember this is nine days away. So those people who have tried to flaunt, the rules, don’t in my opinion deserve to be rewarded. But I think the entire industry has acted in a proper way the vast majority just like the vast majority of Illinoisans have been doing the right thing to keep people safe.

* Why do you feel that not getting legislative involvement, especially from Republicans in the stay at home and shutdown orders has contributed to a growing backlash against these orders, should you have sought more legislative input sooner?…

Actually I’ve been speaking to legislators throughout this process.

They don’t, they say they say they can’t get any epidemiology studies they can’t get…

Well that’s not true

They can’t get any documents out of you and we say this, the governor says this, and…

That’s not true.

[Lots of cross-talk.]

Back to the governor with more crosstalk…

Here’s what I said what I excuse me the lawmakers got a briefing about it. But let me just say when I said what I said was this that we have, as you know, three different groups of experts who were bringing forward their models, and then we had a number of epidemiologists that we brought forward, and we even provided it for Republican legislators, as well as anybody else who wanted to join the ability to ask questions of those experts, and they did and it was a satisfactory event nobody complained during the event or even after the event. Maybe now because they’re acting in a hyper political fashion. They now want to complain.

* Please elaborate on the decision to exclude Amy Jacobson from these media briefings, and please explain the guidelines going forward for determining who will be allowed and who will be excluded…

[His press secretary said it was her decision and she would answer the question later.]

Did you, did you agree with the you agree with it though you could overrule her…

Look, when you’re standing up at a rally, where people are taking a political position, holding up Nazi swastikas, holding up pictures of Hitler and taking an extreme position as she did, it strikes me that that’s not objective in any way. It’s no, it’s not the way you act it’s not the way that your colleagues in the media act, who are reporters. That is not a reporter. She represents a talk show that has a particular point of view, we allowed her to ask questions because once upon a time she was a reporter, but she proved that she is no longer reporter.

[He should’ve just said she could send her questions to the pool reporters.]

* IDPH filed this emergency rule you’ve addressed this somewhat walk us through the thinking there it labeled these businesses like restaurants gyms hair salons high risk. You said, that’s already in the laws class a misdemeanor. There we file, the rule and all it seems you’re searching for some way to punish businesses who defy your order…

Again, looking for an enforcement mechanism for people who aren’t following the rules right they’re putting their, their communities in danger by opening their doors, when they are not eligible during phase two to open their doors, so they’re just flaunting the law and so the idea here was to give some methods short of the very draconian methods of closing the business or, you know, or taking a license away. So that was the intent.

* It’s true you have said all along for months that you didn’t wish to jail, anyone but you did say you could get your license and in fact some state licensing agencies have already reached out to businesses who defied them and threatened that very… So, I guess, in repealing this rule are you acknowledging that you exceeded your executive power?…

No. What I’m acknowledging is that we would rather not take away somebody’s license so we’d rather have an enforcement mechanism that was at a lower level and again, that’s what I think leader Cunningham’s bill will allow us to do.

* So all prior communication from state licensing agencies should those businesses, accept that those are also being repealed no longer valid?…

Well, again, if somebody continues to be a scofflaw if someone continues if some business continues to not follow the rules. There is the potential for those other enforcement mechanisms. We’d rather start with something that’s lower level.

* I wonder if you’re worried about I know you said you listen to these business owners and certainly to the protesters Do you worry about the political implications of the position you find yourself in here, as President Trump has many governors to reopen more quickly. Some of them are many of these states that have lesser restrictions than we have in Illinois are moving in that direction I know you’ve said you want to err on the side of caution and science, but at what cost Do you worry, come November that President Trump can look at states like Illinois and say look they were holding businesses back?…

First of all, President Trump isn’t following science or data. And second, if you look at really all the polling data as you’ll see the vast majority of people in the United States want us to follow the science and the data to get this right. And of course we also want to reopen businesses I’ve been doing that all along, looking at and, you know, figuring out how we can open more and more businesses. This is another way of the announcements that we made today. It’s another way to make progress, but we’re doing it right in Illinois, we know we’re not the last or the first.

I think we’re cutting the right path here, so that we can, again, the number one consideration, keep our people safe, make sure that our first responders are taken care of, make sure that we’re not overwhelming them. These are our heroes. I mean these are the people on the frontlines who are risking their lives every day. And when there are scofflaws out there when there are people who don’t follow the rules. They’re literally thumbing their noses at health care workers. And so I want to follow the science and the data, because we want to make sure keep people safe, and we’ll protect the people that were on the frontlines who are keeping all of us safe.

* With these rules that you’re relaxing outdoor gatherings and businesses, allowing some outdoor seating and and this modified modified phase three you’ve announced today. How does that change your plans for childcare and summer day camps?…

So we’re continuing to look at the rules for child care, we’ll be issuing some of those rules I talked about the industry groups that we’ve gotten together, all along here to, you know, not just the restaurant industry as we’ve talked about today, but many of the others manufacturing and so on, including childcare. So those rules will be issued and there’ll be for childcare providers, they’ll be able to see what is available and how they can expand their operations.

* And perhaps you can elaborate on the contours of what that may look like you said you’re in touch with faith leaders another example, we’re hearing a lot of questions from reporters as well asking one example. The Bank of Springfield Center is a big venue. Many churches might have similar floor space like that they’ve got more than 150 people in there today. But right now churches are limited to 10 people in their building. What if they got other rooms or more space that they have expansive venues, can, can your phase three or phase four account for that?…

You can see Dr Ezike nodding her head too. She too is a person of faith and we all want churches and mosques and synagogues to be able to open safely. And so we’ve been looking at all the ways in which to do that safely. As you know the Catholic Church came out with a plan. It’s a rather comprehensive plan that includes a webinar and how you perform a funeral or wedding and so on. And each one of the faiths have come forward or at least a number of them have to ask how could we do it safely and to put forward their ideas for getting it done, and we’re trying to work through all of those, because as you know each building each situation is slightly different what we did want to do though is make sure that people understood outdoor is much easier, drive, thru, drive in is much easier and setting rules around that immediately or very soon.

* How disappointed will you be if the legislature does not pass meaningful ethics reform in this special session, if I can add one more, you promised at the start of the session as well. Significant property tax relief for Illinois homeowners, those two things are not clearly labeled on the special session agenda should lawmakers make the time to get it done?…

Look there are three days of session planned, as I understand, and it’s because of this pandemic right i mean this is highly unusual I think all of us are recognizing that the circumstances in which the legislature is meeting. I’m glad that the legislature is meeting. But in order to get everything you know from the highest priorities done you know there’s a limited number of things that they can get done. And I think you’ve heard some of those already from the leaders themselves so I would very much like to see ethics legislation get through. I think there’s, you know we all think that you can’t give ethics if you don’t get something done in the next three days it can’t possibly be done this year. And the answer is, that’s not that’s not right. There is the rest of the year that I think the legislature is meeting these three days, in particularly, the number one concern is the budget and the number two concern is a Kovac relief package, because we’ve got to help people across the state. But there’s an opportunity and you know that I’ve worked across the aisle for the entire time that I’ve been governor, talking to listening to Republican legislators, as well as my friends in the Democratic Party. And so I really believe that there’s much more that we can get done later in the year.

* The proposed budget I think she’s referring to one bill that’s been filed would cut the state’s breast and cervical cancer screening program by 40%…

No, I won’t stand for that. I read [Hannah Meisel’s] column this morning and let her know, and I want to I mean that’s just wrong.

I know that the intention was good. The intention was that the money hadn’t been spent, the money that had been appropriated it wasn’t being spent because so many more people who need that service are actually being covered by insurance. Now, having said that, we need to make sure that that fun that those dollars are available for everybody who needs them who falls into that gap that that Hannah, you know, talked about this morning in her column, you’ve already illustrated the budget holes as income tax sales tax corporate income tax dried up during these coronavirus closures.

* Where are you going to go do you have to make cuts. Do you have to raise some fees for example I believe the CTB has suggested fees on attorneys practices are there any ways you can go that might be more progressive in nature that target, maybe like white collar jobs are more insulated from the corona virus can you look for revenue in those areas?…

So as you know I put forward a budget back in February, things have changed quite a lot but you know an outline of of what of that budget, the outline of which the legislature took upon itself, and then worked in their working groups to try to figure out how do you address the shortfall of revenues across the board. They have talked to many members of my administration to get help in putting those numbers together. So there really is a you know a cross functional effort to try to get a budget agreement, put together and, you know, and you see a lot of work has been done by legislators even though they haven’t been able to meet.

* You’re getting a crash course in the regionalization of politics in Illinois right now, part of that was the minimum wage fight a lot of regional Democrats and Republicans asked about that I think Senate Majority Leader Kim Lightford mentioned that she’s looking at, she’s hearing about this idea to modify the tax credits that were in part of the $15 minimum wage to go from 50 employees up to 200 to expand that considering many of these restaurants and bars are the ones who are paying these wages. Do you support an idea like that to raise the threshold up to 200 or so?…

I do in fact I’ve been talking about that really shouldn’t say early on, you’re expanding and others, an original tax credit that was put in place when the minimum wage was raised as you know this is a five year there are five roughly five years left in the ramp of the minimum wage, and I think it is would be helpful if we were able to expand that tax credit to give businesses the opportunity to to get a little bit back on the you know the increase in wages that they’re offering to people.

* A question on ethics, you’ve addressed a number of businesses already in the last two days that the Pritzker group has invested in the COVID-19 testing in some cases or in others, maybe working with major biotech or pharma companies as they raised to produce a vaccine or treatment and in these ways here. So on that potential conflict of interest before you’re not raising you pledge that anytime a company of yours has proceeds or profits from government contracts, you give that money to charity. Does that pledge still stand today and as it doesn’t extend to other reimbursement or funds that come from government?…

As you know, three and a half years ago now, I stepped away from my business interests entirely. And then about a year and a half ago, a blind trust was created so that I really have had no involvement with any of these businesses for three and a half years. Don’t know what what they’re pursuing or what their their interests are. And so, but to be clear, this is not something that I’m engaged in any way, I don’t want to know.

* It’s public information. It’s in their press releases and it’s on your statement of economic interest it’s in your tax returns, would you then pledge to release your full tax returns just so we can see?…

Well as you know the way that all that information is a statement of economic interest, and I did in fact release a multi page I don’t remember how many a dozen or more pages of … my statement of economic interest which is where you see listed each interest that I have any interest in. In fact, much more comprehensive than anything that you would see in a tax return. So to be clear. I have no involvement in these businesses that you’re, alleging that are owned and operated or doing something. And as far as I know there’s no business being done by any of them with the state of Illinois.

* Okay, but just to reiterate, they are a part of your portfolio today. Will you donate any those proceeds from government contracts or reimbursement to charity?…

I’m happy to if there’s something that they’re doing in Illinois.

* Question about what the gaming board is doing…

We’re very interested in making sure that the gaming board moves forward and in fact we’ve made changes so that they have the ability to meet. And so there’ll be other rules that will be promulgated going forward.

* For Sam Toia: Should people have to wear masks while they’re outside at these restaurants, should servers wear masks?…

Sam Toia: Oh, you know we’re working on PPE. It’s very important to, obviously hand sanitizers, obviously face covering, gloves on social distancing and like I said is number one. So, yes, we always say, Do not go against the governor’s executive order, so everyone should wear a mask obviously they need to take your mask off when they’re eating, but if they go to the bathroom, when they leave, they put your mask back on so yes, again, we are working on guidelines, but we’re listening to the scientists and doctors, because the number one thing is, we don’t want to open the economy, and then close it again. Okay. That is what restaurant tours bar owners, totally understand that would be the death. So, again, we want to listen to the scientists, doctors, work, work with our local leaders to, you know, help the bars and restaurants.

* Can you provide additional details on a proposal to issue up to $4.5 billion of short term debt to the feds municipal liquidity facility. Is it the state’s intent to issue the full amount?…

We hope not, because there is a state local bill funding bill that is working its way through the Congress even now. Whether the entire heroes act gets adopted by the Senate is unclear but it is reasonably clear to me that Republican governors and Republican senators need to support their states just as much as Democratic governors democratic senators do. And so I think that we’re going to see a state and local funding bill, go through the Senate, can’t tell you exactly when. So our hope is to not have to access that window that’s been made available to states, but but we will if we need to.

* Rep. Bailey was apparently just escorted off the House floor. Dr. Ezike explained the importance of wearing masks. And then the governor said…

Well, the representative has shown a callous disregard for life callous disregard for people’s health. You just heard a doctor tell you why people wear masks in the first place. It’s to protect others. So clearly the representative has no interest in protecting others


- Posted by Rich Miller   62 Comments      

2,388 new cases, 147 additional deaths

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

* Press release

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,388 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 147 additional deaths.

    Clinton County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s
    Cook County: 1 female 20s, 3 males 30s, 1 female 40s, 4 males 40s, 1 female 50s, 4 males 50s, 7 females 60s, 19 males 60s, 8 females 70s, 6 males 70s, 1 unknown 70s, 9 females 80s, 13 males 80s, 10 females 90s, 5 males 90s, 1 male 100+
    DuPage County: 1 male 20s, 1 male 40s, 2 males 60s, 3 females 70s, 2 males 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s
    Grundy County: 1 unknown 90s
    Kane County: 1 female 40s, 2 males 40s, 1 female 60s, 3 males 60s, 3 females 70s, 1 female 80s, 2 males 80s, 2 female 90s
    Kankakee County: 1 male 70s, 1 male 80s
    Lake County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 60s, 1 female 70s, 3 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 2 females 90s, 1 male 90s
    Madison County: 1 male 70s
    McDonough County: 1 female 80s
    McHenry County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 80s
    Union County: 1 male 80s
    Whiteside County: 1 female 80s
    Will County: 1 female 60s, 2 females 90s
    Winnebago County: 1 male 60s
    Woodford County: 1 female 90s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 100,418 cases, including 4,525 deaths, in 100 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 21,029 specimens for a total of 642,713. The statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate, May 11-17, 2020 is 14%.

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

* Dr. Ezike…

We are seeing a decrease in the numbers of people hospitalized, the numbers of people in the ICU and the numbers of individuals on the ventilators associated with COVID-19. As of last night, 3914 individuals are reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state. Of those 1005 were in the ICU and 554 were on ventilators. This is the lowest number since we were capturing these numbers that we have had for COVID patients in the hospital.

Good news.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** House introduces new rule

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

* The newly proposed amendment to the House rules is in HR846

For meetings of committees during a disaster proclaimed by the Governor due to the COVID-19 virus, access to the room in which the committee is held shall be limited to members and officers of the General Assembly, majority and minority staff, and no more than 5 members of the public who are representatives of the press, except as otherwise authorized by the Speaker. The Speaker shall designate one or more locations outside of the committee room for the public to safely watch and listen to the proceedings of the House and its committees via a live audio/video broadcast. Access to such locations may be limited as necessary to maintain safety, including, but not limited to, requiring that persons at such locations follow the decorum requirements of Rule 51.5(a). Notwithstanding any other provision of these Rules, testimony at a committee hearing during a disaster proclaimed by the Governor due to COVID-19 virus may be limited to written testimony at the discretion of the Chairperson. This subsection may not be suspended. […]

On any day in which the House is in session during a disaster proclaimed by the Governor due to the COVID-19 virus, access to the House Chamber and adjoining hallways and passages shall be limited to members and officers of the General Assembly, majority and minority staff as authorized by the Speaker or Presiding Officer, and no more than 5 members of the public who are representatives of the press, except as otherwise authorized by the Speaker. Representatives of the press shall be limited to the gallery space allotted to them by the Speaker or the Speaker’s designee. The Speaker shall designate one or more locations outside of the House Chamber for the public to safely watch and listen to the proceedings of the House and its committees via a live audio/video broadcast. Access to such locations may be limited as necessary to maintain safety, including, but not limited to, requiring that persons at such locations follow the decorum requirements of Rule 51.5(a). This subsection may not be suspended. […]

51.5 Decorum during the COVID-19 Disaster.

(a) On any day in which the House is in session during a disaster proclaimed by the Governor due to the COVID-19 virus, all members and officers of the General Assembly, majority and minority staff, and other persons when entitled to the House floor, galleries, and adjoining hallways and passages shall:

    (1) to the extent medically able and except as reasonably necessary for eating or drinking, wear a face-covering that covers the nose and mouth;

    (2) to the extent possible, maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person except as permitted by the other person;

    (3) have submitted to and passed a temperature check prior to entry; and

    (4) have passed through a metal detector prior to entry.

(b) In a committee hearing during a disaster proclaimed by the Governor due to the COVID-19 virus, members and officers of the General Assembly, staff, witnesses, and members of the public in the room in which the committee is held shall follow the requirements of subsection (a) of this Rule.

(c) A violation of this Rule shall be considered a breach of decorum and disorderly behavior. The Presiding Officer may by order remove any person, other than a Representative, from the House floor, galleries, and adjoining hallways and passages for violation of this Rule. Notwithstanding any other provision of these Rules, including Rule 30(e) and Articles XI and XII, a Representative in violation of this Rule may be disciplined and subject to reprimand, censure, removal from the House chamber, or other disciplinary measure, except expulsion and imprisonment, upon a motion approved by a majority of those elected. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit discipline pursuant to Article XI or XII of these Rules.

(d) This Rule may not be suspended. [Emphasis added.]

They also added the words “and Chamber” after “Access to the House floor.” It’s been sent directly to the floor for consideration.

* I was told by two lobbyists that the guards aren’t allowing bags and laptops into the BoS Center. Lobbyists and members of the public can keep their phones, but they apparently aren’t allowed to use them.

I seriously don’t understand why any lobbyist would go over there under those conditions.

* Meanwhile, Amdor dug into the archives…

*** UPDATE *** I strongly suggest watching the live coverage post the rest of the day for instant updates, but here are a few…

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** Today’s quotable

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

* Tribune

Lawmakers are scheduled to meet for just three days to try to put together a spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1, a coronavirus response package that covers employment, education, health care and the courts, an enhanced vote-by-mail program for November, and a program to provide funding for safety-net hospitals that care for the poor.

But the pandemic has created plenty of unknowns, not the least of which is how far work on a budget can progress without a clear picture of how much relief will be coming from Washington to counter plummeting tax receipts — even as demands for dealing with the state’s most vulnerable residents grows.

“It’s a difficult dynamic, and there’s no good choices. There’s just bad choices and less bad choices. It’s been a very difficult situation,” said state Rep. Michael Zalewski, a Riverside Democrat.

…Adding… Case in point…

*** UPDATE 1 *** Press release…

Today the Illinois legislature released its proposed FY 2020-2021 budget. Shana Crews, director of government relations in Illinois for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), made the following statement in reaction.

“The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program provides free, necessary breast and cervical cancer screenings for uninsured women. During a time where over one million Illinoisans have lost their jobs and many may lose their employer-sponsored health insurance due to COVID-19, women need this program now more than ever. Early detection is key to saving lives. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 99% when detected in stage 1 but drops to 26% when detected in stage 4. Cancer doesn’t stop because of pandemics, we need to ensure all women have access to lifesaving early detection services. The legislature is currently considering a proposal to cut the funding for this program by 40%. Any cut to this funding, let alone this large of a cut, puts women’s lives at stake.”

I followed up and asked what was spent last fiscal year and what had been spent this fiscal year. The response…

FY19 was $6.5 million because the program lost many of the lead agencies who administered the program during the budget impasse.

FY20 was projected at $10.5 million in the budget book. In February, we met with the program administrators to iron out more ways to streamline the program and were feeling like we could actually get the program on track then COVID 19 hit.

Page 333: FY20 expected spend $10,512,400.

There is no lack of demand for the program, but the government infrastructure pieces were damaged during the budget impasse and were still repairing for additional lead agencies to administer the program. There is more and more evidence because of COVID 19 that the program is critical. Kaiser conducted a study showing the number of people who have lost their health coverage because of job loss and the drop in screenings due to COVID that will be exploding later this year.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The governor at his media briefing today…

The proposed budget I think she’s referring to one bill that’s been filed would cut the state’s breast and cervical cancer screening program by 40%…

    No, I won’t stand for that. I read [Hannah Meisel’s] column this morning and let her know, and I want to I mean that’s just wrong.

    I know that the intention was good. The intention was that the money hadn’t been spent, the money that had been appropriated it wasn’t being spent because so many more people who need that service are actually being covered by insurance. Now, having said that, we need to make sure that that fun that those dollars are available for everybody who needs them who falls into that gap that that Hannah, you know, talked about this morning in her column, you’ve already illustrated the budget holes as income tax sales tax corporate income tax dried up during these coronavirus closures.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** It’s just a bill

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

* Tribune

Measures for statewide rent relief — which would include help for tenants, landlords and homeowners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic — could hit Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk in a matter of days.

If signed into law, the COVID-19 Emergency and Economic Recovery Renter and Homeowner Protection Act, which Chicago Democrat Rep. Delia Ramirez introduced Friday, would cancel rent debt and suspend mortgage payments for those experiencing hardships related to COVID-19.

“We have to make housing an absolute top priority during this special session in Springfield,” Ramirez said during a livestreamed press conference Tuesday. “If we want our families to be able to get through this pandemic, they have to have a roof over their head and not have to decide if they’re going to purchase food — or pay rent.” […]

Rep. Tim Butler, a Springfield Republican, has introduced a separate bill in the General Assembly. His would provide rent assistance for coronavirus-impacted households if their landlord agrees to participate in the program.

The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program Act would require landlords to not increase rental rates or charge late fees, and in return, they would receive at least 80% of the owed rent, which they would have to accept as full payment, for up to seven months of rent between April 1 and Oct. 31.

HB5574 is on First Reading in the originating chamber. The same goes for Rep. Butler’s bill.

In other words, unless this legislation is attached to different and viable vehicle bills, it is constitutionally impossible to pass those measures through both chambers by Friday.

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

As the State of Illinois faces a $7 billion to $8 billion revenue shortfall in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, State Representative Amy Grant (R-Wheaton) believes lawmakers need to take steps to be part of the fiscal solution. On May 20, Rep. Grant signed on as a Chief Co-sponsor of HB 5777, which would reduce legislator pay to 2019 levels for the next fiscal year.

“While I disagree with it, enshrined in the statutes is a provision that mandates lawmakers receive an automatic cost of living adjustment (COLA) each year unless we take steps to reject the COLA,” said Grant. “Through this new bill that was filed on Monday, we would reject next year’s pay increase and also eliminate the increase we received in 2019. Honestly, I’d like to see this bill go further and include all state employees so we could make a real dent in the deficit.”

Specifically, through HB 5777, the automatic 2.6% pay raise scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020 and the 2.4% pay raise legislators received last year would be eliminated from their pay for the next fiscal year.

From the legislative article of the Illinois Constitution


A member shall receive a salary and allowances as provided by law, but changes in the salary of a member shall not take effect during the term for which he has been elected.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

Dr. Ezike upbeat about latest numbers - Pritzker says no to lump-sum budget - Dr. Ezike talks data challenges, death counts - With $240 million spent on purchases, Pritzker says state watching for fraud - Pritzker says new emergency rule will be re-tooled in 10 days - Refuses to bend to mayors - Dr. Ezike talks excess deaths - “Disgusted by the failure of so many people” to call out extremism at rallies - Will be in Springfield Wednesday - “Optimistic that we are falling from a peak” - Dr. Ezike says it will take some time to see if peak has passed - “The very definition of a blind trust is that it’s blind” - Again commits to making full pension payment - Defends decision not to cut staff - Addresses mask scam - Can’t do widespread testing without more tests - Dr. Ezike says feds urge go-slow on nursing home visits

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

[Time stamp altered for Wednesday visibility.]

* Gov. Pritzker had two guests today who both stressed the importance of wearing masks and of social distancing. And then he and Dr. Ezike took questions.

Please elaborate on what exactly it means that phase three will allow limited childcare and summer programs open with IDPH approved safety guidance. Has that guidance been made available yet?…

Dr. Ezike: We will have more information to come before the end of the week, but we know there are childcare establishments that are already open now. And more and more people will be returning to work so obviously that need is pressing and more pressing as people are getting to getting ready to return to work. So, we will lay out that guidance in just a few days and we will have more childcare opportunities to address the needs of the communities as they start returning to work.

Please remember to pardon all transcription errors.

* The hospitalization numbers all appear to be the lowest since you began reporting daily data on April 12 by a considerable amount. Should we take anything from this or are we still expecting more volatility in those metrics?…

Dr. Ezike: It is great news and I’m glad that you noticed that. To fall under the 4000 for the number of people hospitalized. Obviously, it’s a continuum, people get infected, then they get sick. And if they get hospitalized, then the ICU and maybe pass on. So it is a good sign that there’s fewer people in the hospital. But we have to remember that things are going to start changing and so we will continue to follow these numbers and it’s why that we need a hard reset and can’t just jump from phase two to phase four. Because with each phase we’ve made changes and loosening things up. And so we want to make sure that these new things are coming on board that they are not resulting in a, in a number, a spike or increase. And so that’s why we will continue to watch closely. And over the next phase, another 28 days, make sure that these measures that have loosened don’t have a spike that will make us want to tap the brakes a little bit. So we’ll be watching that closely, but yes this is good news. This just solidifies these measures have been working both the stay at home, the masking both the social distancing. All of those things are effective and that’s why we’ve got numbers that are improving.

* Lawmakers will return to Springfield this week and vote on a budget based on revenue estimates from GOMB and COGFA that are now about a month old. Are there updated revenue estimates available from your office, and are you asking lawmakers for a lump sum budget in order to make cuts and spending decisions yourself, if so what can be cut?…

The answer to the latter question is no.

The answer to the former question is that there have been some adjustments, not major revenue adjustments that mentioned the other day, there’s additional spending required related to Medicaid. We believe that that some of the federal funding that will come will alleviate a little bit of that but to be honest with you, we’re including it in the budget, because we don’t know. And so, that additional spending will have to be in the budget, and therefore, you know, we’re going to have to room for it because we have to cover healthcare, especially for COVID.

* Many Illinoisans are asking for more recovery information, can you tell us what you know about recovery data and the challenges involved with trying to collect it?…

Dr. Ezike: I guess, you know, simply the interaction with the patients kind of falls off once they’re not in the hospital. And obviously there’s a good outcome if they haven’t, succumbed to the disease. So we can deduce a lot of recovery data in terms of just seeing people who are not in the hospital, and obviously subtracting the people who have unfortunately succumbed to the disease. But in terms of actually talking to all the people, it’s just been a challenge for the teams and the staff. We’re so busy with the response, but we are trying to get as much information for you. We’re definitely going to see how we can put that information on the website going forward. We have been very diligent about doing these email surveys followed up with telephone surveys, where we were talking to people, 14 days after a positive test, 21 days and 28 days, and we have consistently seen that 70 to 74% of individuals after 28 days following their positive tests have reported that they were fully recovered. So we know that people recover, we know the majority of people recover, but I know that there’s going to be some extra some extra satisfaction Illinois has actually seen raw numbers and so we, our team is working hard to get that for the people of Illinois.

* What is the number of people who have died from COVID-19, compared to the number of people who have died with COVID-19?…

Dr. Ezike: That’s a wonderful question and I know that has caused a lot of controversy, where people think well, they had a heart attack and they had heart disease. Why are you calling it COVID? Again, the way this virus works, it is working on multiple fronts causing multiple manifestations. And so even if someone had heart disease which we have established global data has established that there are some key conditions that result in more serious complications and we’ve seen that for heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We know that that’s a factor so those cardiac events may have been precipitated by the fact that COVID was involved. We know that COVID COVID-19 infection is associated with causing embolic phenomenon and [garbled] these clots that are formed in association with COVID can result in stroke, can result in heart attacks. It’s very hard to separate the respiratory illness from some of these other manifestations that also could be linked to COVID. So again, there is a reason to put them together. I know some people feel that it doesn’t make sense but even if someone you know I know there was a lot of questions around well if somebody was very elderly and they were already, maybe in hospice, we still can’t say that that COVID infection didn’t hasten the death and so it’s probably relevant, that definitely that COVID maybe had a chance to accelerate a process. So all of that, whether it’s with COVID, or directly because of COVID, we have both of those factors lumped together in terms of our COVID deaths.

* The Illinois comptroller’s reporting more than $240 million has been spent by the state on COVID related purchases. Can you describe steps taken to ensure the state wasn’t taken advantage of, and what kind of oversight there is for spending?…

This is something we’ve been deeply concerned about. We’ve been in consultation consistently, not only with the attorney general’s office in the state and the state police, but also with federal authorities to make sure that we’re following all the protocols that would be necessary to try to prevent fraud against the state. Because as you know when this first came up in March, you know I think everybody knew we had to move quickly, but we did not have the PPE that was necessary. In fact, almost no state in the United States that I’m aware of, had the PPE. And in consultation with many of the other governors, I discovered that there were a lot of folks out there that were trying to put one over on states in their procurement teams. So we put in place a number of measures I don’t want to talk about what those are. But suffice to say that that we have a variety of measures. I guess I’ll just give one which is we ask people to fill out a form to give us a lot of their prior information so that we can then go double check and triple check the veracity of that. So, lots of other things that we’re doing but. But I will tell you that there are definitely a lot of people fraudsters that are out there in the market trying to take advantage, not just to states and procurement teams, but also of individuals and businesses out there that are just all of us trying to do the right thing and you know in a in an emergency in a pandemic. You can imagine the people who are trying to take advantage, they’re pretty awful people.

* Governor what exactly do you want JCAR to do tomorrow? I’m hearing a couple of concerns about your order lasting quote five months, can you clear that up?…

The rule that we’ve put in place in emergency would only last until the end of this phase. That’s about 10 more days. And then in phase three a new rule would need to be issued. That’s the way it would work. It’s not something that would last five months.

* There are several suburban mayors who are asking you to be more flexible. The mayor of Elmhurst issued another letter today. We’re hearing the Naperville Park District is going to file a lawsuit. Of course Winnebago County says they’re going to open up next week. Is it possible that you might be more flexible because days mean a lot to folks, rather than even waiting until the 29th of May…

Well, to be clear, I am flexible and have been in a variety of ways. What’s important here though Maryanne is, you’ve got to make sure that we run this full course. This new phase and literally it’s 10 days so you know my view is that that the flexibility comes in the way that, you know, at the edges of the variety of businesses that will be reopening. Are there more things that they might be able to do? Those are things that are being considered by the industry groups that we put together with advice from the employees from the owners from the industry associations, because there’s always something at the edge that you know as governor I may not understand about a particular industry, but the experts in the industry do. And so we want to take all that into account but those are the changes or the flexibility that can take place, we really do need to stick with the timetable that we have and to follow the metrics and it’s about following those metrics for a period of time. And so we’re on track. Everybody should be I think optimistic. 10 days from now on, you know, haircuts, and manufacturing and offices and warehousing and lots of industries and jobs coming back online, and frankly I think everybody is pretty excited about it.

* WGN analyzed the total number of deaths in Illinois for January through April for the last five years, found there have been 3896, more deaths than the average, given that the state is reporting a little more than 4000 COVID related deaths. What does that tell you about the relative accuracy of the COVID count?…

Dr. Ezike: I have looked at that similar data for, I think I looked at ‘19 and ‘18, and saw that there were even additional deaths beyond the COVID deaths compared to the previous two years. What’s going on with those excess deaths. So that could suggest that there’s a, there’s an undercounting that we’ve missed some COVID deaths. If you think that we should have had the exact same numbers from the year and the prior year to this year. And so that’s postulating in terms of what we would guess is resulting in the additional deaths that we can’t account for. Again, we will not know exactly but we can just postulate.

* Do you plan to be in Springfield, and can you respond to state GOP lawmakers who say your five phase plan with 28 day intervals is extreme, and that you are abusing your executive powers by circumventing the legislative process when it comes to issuing citations to businesses who choose not to follow your plan?…

Let me start by saying that what’s extreme are lawmakers who don’t call out their fellow lawmakers who stand at rallies and call, you know, legitimate elected leaders, domestic enemies or give the home address of our US Senator and tell people to go surround their home or the many people who held Nazi symbols at those rallies that’s legitimate and frankly I’m disgusted by the failure of so many people to call that out. Mary Ann the first half of your question had me riled up on the second half. What’s the first half of the question.

* I believe besides the lawmakers feel as if they’re not having a big enough impact in the citations that you’re issuing the new citation you’re circumventing the legislative process…

The legislative process ran when they passed the Illinois Department of Public Health Act. And that Act provides for rules that if not followed would result in the potential for a citation or misdemeanor. And so that’s you know that’s simply we’re following the law that already existed. And, you know, I talked about that yesterday.

And also, will you definitely be in Springfield tomorrow?…

Yeah, that was the first half of your question. I will be in Springfield, I believe beginning midday on Thursday. So I won’t be there on Wednesday when the legislature calls itself into session. I understand I think the Senate’s calling itself at two o’clock tomorrow afternoon but I’ll be there on Thursday. [He later corrected that and said he’ll be in Springfield on Wednesday. He’d originally intended to be there Thursday, but changed his plans.]

* What should the state do to prepare for any possible lawsuits that could seek damages from the state for businesses ordered closed without due process, or just compensation?…

Well, I mean, obviously, those are, you know, those lawsuits, people have the right to go to court and sue but they won’t be successful. The law clearly allows us to put in place the orders that we put in. Look, I understand people look, were filing these lawsuits because they’re hurting and we’re hurting all over the state. All of us are being affected by COVID-19. And it’s, it’s not only affected businesses and thetemporary hopefully temporary closure of any businesses, sometimes permanent closure. The loss of jobs I mean we’re seeing it all over the country. There is everything about what we are doing in Illinois, that is focused on keeping people sick.

I know that people don’t, some people don’t want to hear that anymore… that this is about keeping people safe, but it is. And we’re doing everything we can to open up the economy and do it safely and you’ve seen a full plan. In fact, many have called that the most comprehensive plan for opening a state. We’ve been very explicit about how and what the metrics are, what we’re looking for. And again, I will aggressively pursue reopening, but not at the expense of people’s health and safety.

* You talked about the regional metrics, according to the IDPH website, hospital admissions in the Northeast region have fallen more than 30% since May. The other regions are seeing even steeper declines in hospitalizations. Is this not evidence that we have fallen from a peak?…

I am optimistic that we are falling from a peak however I want to point out that if you, if you look at all the metrics I mean they’re not all headed straight down. Some of them have sort of flattened their loading a little bit off their peak … but I’ll just say, I am optimistic. There’s no doubt about it think every day I watch those numbers like everybody else does, and and you know we keep them in chart form you can find it online and chart form. And you can see the line gradually heading in the right direction. So, you know, it feels good, it’s the right direction, but be clear that when you’re looking at these metrics you know there are a lot of them are affected by things that have happened days ago, weeks ago. So as you watch them, what you’re really seeing is a reflection of something that happened and infection perhaps that took place. weeks ago. And so you. That’s why you know it’s hard to project forward. When you look at a hospitalization number, but it is the best number in my opinion ICU beds and med surge bed numbers are the best numbers for us to keep an eye on. In addition to obviously the positivity rate and capacity.

Dr. Ezike: We kept saying last week that we thought we were plateauing that we were flattening, and that eventually we were hoping to [be] on the other end actually going down. We’re hoping that the data is showing that is where we’re going. I will highlight the fact that when people complain that we’re not moving fast enough with the plan, let’s remember that we advanced ourselves into phase two while we were flat, we clearly weren’t going down there. So we jumped ahead in getting into a new phase before the actual [garbled] heading down, we may be heading downward now again. With more and more days behind us, we can follow and see, is this a blip or does it look like it’s really consistently going down. In any case, that’s great. We’re hoping that we are there, but please remember that we did start some of our progression into these advanced phases into phase two, while we were still flat as opposed to going down but hopefully now, we’re going down, and we’re talking about falling numbers ever so closely. And so that we can see if that’s the case, remember that there are multiple metrics and you know the data doesn’t follow rules and stay straight for a day then go down for 20 days and continue, so you know one metric might go up and down another metric may stay flat, so we’re following all of it trying to make sense of it. We definitely want to see that we are heading down on the downward side, and we are going to know in a few more days two weeks if that really is the case.

* Physicians are claiming that more than 15,000 meatpacking plant workers in the US are infected with COVID-19, at least 60 have died with workers lined up in close proximity, viruses are easily spread within the slaughterhouse environment. Do you believe that these plants need to be shut down?…

I think as we think through all the different ways of reopening our state, when we really put our minds together and try to think of ways to be safe. There are ways to safely do a lot of things that we think we initially maybe thought we couldn’t do, but with all the awareness of the importance of social distancing with with masking becoming something that we accept now, the face covering, with people understanding the importance of hand sanitizer and how it needs to be put out everywhere and understanding I’ve seen plans where businesses have said, yes, we plan to have something sanitize the touchscreen, or surface clean after every use after every hour, all these different mitigation measures are what is going to make it possible for us to open things that maybe two months ago when we were very new to this whole process that we couldn’t couldn’t fathom doing so we are working with our infectious disease experts with epidemiologists with business industry experts, all of those people to put the best minds together, and the people who have the most knowledge of the industry to come up with plans that will keep people safe. of course as you know Dr Landon is always expressing a lot of onus is on individuals, it’s not just the people who are making policy writing policy, it’s actually what what is written, then has to be implemented and the implementation involves people that involves the managers of these industry and involves the individuals who work in that industry, everybody has a part to play, and if everybody plays that part, the right way, we can open many businesses safely.

* We talked yesterday about your blind trust, but there are companies within the Pritzker group, one of them being past group that has a contract with the state for testing. Even though you’re in a blind trust, are you still making money from it in the long term that money will be there for you after your governorship correct, is it ethical for it still to have a contract with the state should you have, whether it’s coronavirus or not, for any Pritzker company to profit in any way from a state contract?…

As you know, the very definition of a blind trust is that it’s blind. So I as you know stepped away from all of our businesses three years ago. And everything is in a blind trust, business or decisions that have been made in any of those businesses. So, you know, I really have not been involved for three years so if there’s anything like that I would I would not know about it.

* Yesterday you said that you saw no need for lawmakers to review your orders, but the legislature is a co-equal branch of government and it’s fair for them to provide their review of the orders or the reopen plan for the people’s representatives?…

I was asked if I needed, I wanted the legislature to ratify the orders that we put in place, that’s what I was asked about and that’s what I responded to.

* Back to this emergency rule and obviously lots of blowback on this. And you said this is a lighter punishment than lifting a business license or a shut down order. But isn’t there an alternative to injecting an arrest element into this context or injecting an arrest element?…

The state police and other law enforcement will tell you that this is simply a citation that can be issued and a decision at the local level about whether businesses in fact are really endangering people in their community by refusing to close when they should according to the orders that are in place. So that’s the purpose of it, it’s really intended to be a lighter version of, a kind of enforcement mechanism, rather than taking away somebody’s liquor license or shutting the business down entirely.

* Can you respond to a Moody’s report out today that the state actually faces greater pension risk today than it did in the subprime recession. You committed to making the full statutory contribution this year, do you have any plans and plans to speed up any payment…

I’m committed to making the statutory required payment to the plan and you know I would love to be able to speed up to more as you know I propose doing that in the budget that I proposed back in February, and would like very much to be able to do that for the state but as you’ve seen. We’ve got a pretty big challenge ahead of us to balance the budget and know that the legislature is working on that even as we speak.

* Governor with more and more local law enforcement officials in the state and here in northwestern Illinois, either they cannot enforce your orders, because they don’t have the manpower, or because they themselves don’t agree with them. Are you getting to the point of just giving up on the idea that your plan, though, may be good intent isn’t working for the rest of the state that’s not Chicagoland?…

I’ll just remind you that the vast majority of the people of the state are in fact following the plans that we put out. And the vast majority support the plans that we put out. They are supportive of the stay at home rule as part of the work that we’re doing to fight COVID-19 so I know there are some vocal, you know, leaders across the state. You know mayors or sometimes law enforcement who work for mayor’s who speak out. But look, I think everybody understands that the enemy here the fight that we’re in is against COVID-19 and that we ought to be following the science, not just the whims of, you know, desire by a mayor or here or there or you’re a leader of a reopen group, especially those that are carrying aisle signs to make their point. And you know, I think instead we ought to be listening to level heads. There are three of them on the, on the line here today, three doctors who live and breathe this every day I mean they have to work and understand COVID-19 and they’ve given you their views and it’s why I brought them forward. I could bring you dozens and dozens of others. These happen to be three of the great leaders in the state of Illinois, giving you the message that we need to stay the course.

* You’ve said that the state is reviewing COVID-19, removing those where the virus is not seen as a contributing factor to the depth, such as homicide or car accident. How many such deaths have been identified and removed from the state roles so far?…

Dr. Ezike: Ah, that is a small number, you know, less than a few percent, we can get that information but that is not a large number of our unfortunate large total of our total number of deaths.

* House Republican leader Jim Durkin basically, along with the Senate President Bill Brady were saying that, in light of the circumstances that people are facing in the private sector, that there are questions about why isn’t government laying off people, why aren’t state workers taking pay cuts?…

There are two things to keep in mind and I know that they want to cut state government no matter what, whether COVID-19 is here or not. But here we are in a pandemic in an emergency, and it’s now more than ever that we need to stand up for the social services that people need to make sure that we can fund the programs that help them reduce the rent.

You know this is exactly the time when you don’t want to cut public health departments. When you don’t want to cut back on our emergency management or on our department of innovation and technology. These are all things that now in the pandemic in the emergency you can see that state government should be doing. And in fact, we’re going to have to do more because so many people have been financially damaged by this disease, this infection. And so I would just suggest to them that the thing that we’re looking at as we think about balancing the budget is, is the federal government going to step up for all of the states? We’re not asking for anything special in Illinois, all of the states republican led states and democratic states have the same issue. We had a fall off of revenues, the result of COVID-19, whether you’re talking about Florida, or you’re talking about Georgia or you’re talking about California, New York, or Illinois. And so, they should at least acknowledge that their first instinct is to cut everything. That’s wrong here what we ought to ask is what do we need to preserve in state, what do we preserve in government in order to add support for people all across the state.

* Some businesses in the Chicago area say they’re starting to see an increase in customers attempting to come in without masks on. When asked to leave, they say that they have a medical condition which prevents them from wearing a mask. They must be accommodated under the Americans with Disabilities Act, that under HIPAA the store cannot legally ask them about their condition. Have you heard about that. Is it legal and how should a business react when confronted with something like that?…

It’s a good question and it’s, as you can imagine, this is something new to America. And now that we have a face covering requirement, our Department of Human Rights is in fact responding to this, and providing guidance for people who need to go into a store who were for medical reasons can’t wear face covering. What we want here is for the most number of people to be wearing face coverings. It’s not about requiring that every last person, especially somebody that’s medically unable to wear a face cover. But most people if most people if almost everybody would wear a face covering when they go out in public, in a public place with other people [when they] can’t social distance, that will do so much to reduce the spread here. So we’ll be looking into whether there are federal protections and how we can enact that. But for now anyway the Department of Human Rights is providing guidance for businesses as well as for individuals.

[That’s mostly a scam perpetrated by folks who don’t “believe” in masks.]

* Why is the state not doing widespread testing of residents at all nursing homes with known outbreaks to determine which nursing homes get those residents?…

I’ll turn this over to Dr. Ezike in a moment but just to say we are in fact going after widespread testing among our nursing homes and even among residents in places that have outbreaks. But as you know, as we’ve been ramping up testing, there’s been a limit to the amount of testing that’s available as we ramp it up even more, we’ll be able to do even more testing. But we’ve been at a focus on nursing homes.

Dr. Ezike: So just just to follow up on what governor said, our goal is to test everyone in every nursing home. The only reason that we don’t do that now is because of the limit of our supplies and our capacity. But as we’re aggressively, working again, going from a few hundred to 5000. Now we’ve averaged 20,000 in the last about a week. As we increase our capacity we’re increased the testing we will absolutely want to test. We were probably one of the first states in the nation to go in and start testing an entire facility back in March. But it wasn’t sustainable because of the supplies. But that is our goal right now, some of the criteria that we’re using, because we do have many facilities around the country. So it’s even just an issue of getting into all the facilities, but we do try to identify areas that already have a high burden of disease, hotspots, if you will. So we use that as one of the criteria as a place to go into. We also identify places where there’s an acute spike in that area. So that an acute increase in an area is another reason that would make us to identify a long term care facility in that region. And thirdly we look at if there is a high social vulnerability index. And so, social vulnerability index that’s a CDC metric, if you will, that takes into account. Basically, the higher your social vulnerability index is scored from zero to one, the higher it is the closer it is to one. That means that that area that that census tract is very it has a high rate, high number of individuals who are more susceptible to having bad things happen in association with this virus. So if there are more impoverished people, if there are more uneducated people out there more people without insurance that there are more people without jobs, we know that this that any kind of disaster a public health emergency of this kind, will ravage that area, more so than communities where everyone has an insurance everyone is educated, everyone has a job everyone has transportation etc. And so we’re using those three pieces to prioritize the areas that we go in first, but please know, if we had warehouses and warehouses full of all the supplies and we have all the capacity to do 1 million tests per second, we would hit every nursing home and hit them repeatedly not just once but we would be doing it with a consistent cadence to keep testing and retesting, and that’s what we hope to get to

* At what point do you think people will be able to visit family in nursing homes. Are there any plans for testing or socially distant visits to help this happen before a vaccine is established?…

Dr. Ezike: Yeah, that’s a great question and I will tell you that there has just been federal guidance that has been put out on this issue. And it says that visitations should be one of the last things that we should be thinking about, because there is still not an effective cure or a vaccine. I mean, putting this in, this is a global problem. If you look at Canada, 80% of their deaths have been related to nursing home residents. If you take all of Europe over 50% of their deaths, again in the same population. So this is a global challenge. And so visitation and having more people come in with the virus back and forth into the setting is not the solution. And the federal guidelines have said that just recently. They said we should think very, very slow about thinking, even as people cycle into their new phases, visitation should be way down on the list. When we’ve had places that have had an outbreak, we need to go in and do a complete survey of the facility before we think about lifting visitation restrictions. I don’t mean visitation is not the way we’re headed now. But we do want to, you know, encourage more virtual visits. We don’t want people to be socially isolated in terms of to their loved ones. However, people can promote that whether it’s through iPads or zoom and WebEx we’ve gotten really good with virtual connection over these last two months that we’ve been dealing with the pandemic and staying at home. and we want that to be available to our nursing home residents to try to take some of the sting off the fact that their loved ones can’t come in person. No, visitation is not something that we’re rushing to do. But we do want to promote connection, virtual connections and every, every possible way.


- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Amendment filed to the House’s appropriations bill

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

* Click here for a little light reading (2246 pages). This looks like a budget cleanup for this fiscal year, but it also includes some ‘21 approps.

…Adding… The Senate Assignments Committee, by the way, popped an approp bill out to the floor today. SB264 is now on 3rd Reading and ready to be amended.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

1,545 new cases, 146 additional deaths

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

* Dr. Ezike at today’s briefing

Since yesterday we are reporting 1,545 additional individuals with COVID-19. We now have 98,030 total cases in the state of Illinois. Unfortunately, this does include 146 additional people with COVID-19 who have been reported to have died in the last 24 hours, for a total of 4379 fatalities total. 621,684 total tests have been run in the state of Illinois, with 18,443 tests reported in the last 24 hours.

We have a positivity rate of 8% for the last 24 hours. As of last night, 4002 individuals were in the hospital with COVID-19 and of those 993 patients were in the ICU and 576 patients were on ventilators.

I’ll post the press release when I get it.

…Adding… Gov. Pritzker

I want to begin my portion of today’s briefing with some frankly very exciting news. Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen Illinois make significant measurable progress, and I’ve been reporting on it to you, and growing our daily testing numbers. And today we reached another major milestone. Among the most populous states in the United States, Illinois has now overtaken New York to become the number one state in the nation for testing per capita over the past seven days.

More Pritzker…

I also want to update you by letting you know that all four regions of the state of Illinois remain on track to meet metrics to move into phase three of restore Illinois. That’s terrific.

* Press release

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,545 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 146 additional deaths.

    Coles County: 1 female 60s, 1 female 90s
    Cook County: 3 females 30s, 2 males 40s, 2 females 50s, 5 males 50s, 4 females 60s, 12 males 60s, 1 unknown 60s, 8 females 70s, 17 males 70s, 9 females 80s, 15 males 80s, 9 females 90s, 6 males 90s, 1 female 100+, 1 male 100+
    DeKalb County: 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s
    DuPage County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s, 2 females 70s, 1 male 70s, 4 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 90s, 1 male 90s, 1 female 100+
    Iroquois County: 1 male 60s
    Kane County: 1 male 70s, 2 females 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 female 100+
    Kankakee County: 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s
    Kendall County: 1 male 80s
    Lake County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
    Madison County: 2 females 80s, 1 female 90s
    McDonough County: 1 male 80s
    McHenry County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 60s
    Rock Island County: 1 male 30s, 1 male 60s, 1 male 90
    St. Clair County: 1 male 60s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
    Whiteside County: 1 female 100+
    Will County: 2 males 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s, 1 male 90s
    Winnebago County: 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 98,030 cases, including 4,379 deaths, in 100 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 18,443 specimens for a total of 621,684. The statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate, May 10-16, 2020 is 14%.

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

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Madigan proposes changes to House rules requiring masks, temperature checks - Violators could be removed by vote of the chamber

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

* Press release…

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan released the following statement Tuesday:

“Last week when I announced the House would return to Springfield, I asked all members to commit to safety precautions approved and guided by the Illinois Department of Public Health to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. I strongly believe these safety precautions are critical for us to gather in Springfield in a way that minimizes the risk of the infection among House members, their families, staff, the public, and subsequently in their home communities.

“Taking into account the shared concerns of House members, I am proposing we move to adopt changes to the House rules that require members, staff and the public to wear masks, submit to temperature checks prior to entering the building each day and observe social distancing guidelines outlined by public health experts while inside the Bank of Springfield Center. The House will take up this rule change immediately upon convening Wednesday. After the motion passes, any member in violation of the rule change will face discipline, including potentially being removed from the chamber by a vote of the House. This is not an action I take lightly, but when it comes to the health and safety of members, their families, staff and the communities they represent, it is the right and prudent thing to do.

“Staff and members of the public not observing the rules will be asked to leave the premises immediately.

“I look forward to focusing on the critical work needed to ensure our state can continue to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis and provide relief to people struggling around the state and not on needless distractions.”

*** UPDATE *** Center Square

State Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, plans to vote against it.

“I will certainly be voting against the measure,” he said. “I have yet to decide on how to handle the situation once the measure presumably passes.”

Think he’ll do the ol’ passive resistance thing and go limp?

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** A poorly drafted rule is causing unnecessary panic and may even be unneeded

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

* A false claim by the Daily Wire

The governor’s office “filed an emergency rule that would penalize owners of restaurants, bars, gyms, barbershops and other businesses for reopening before coronavirus restrictions are lifted,” The Hill reports.

The emergency rule makes reopening early a “class A felony,” which, in Illinois, carries with it a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail.

If it hadn’t been for Rep. Skillicorn favorably tweeting this story I likely wouldn’t have seen it. As The Hill and everyone else reported, it’s a Class A misdemeanor, not a felony.

* Daily Herald

DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick has joined a chorus of suburban law enforcement officials who say they won’t enforce Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order as a criminal offense.

Scroll down

On Monday, Mendrick said he decided to post the message after receiving hundreds of phone calls from “terrified citizens asking me if I’m going to arrest them” for meeting with their friends or being at a business.

He said there’s no need to threaten to arrest residents when they are staying home, wearing masks and social distancing to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Through community policing and education, we’ve had full compliance,” Mendrick said. “So why would I threaten a society that’s compliant?

He stressed he’s not defying Gov. Pritzker.

People are most certainly freaked out by this new IDPH emergency rule. Unveiling it late Friday with no advance notice to pretty much anyone was a really bad idea. And stories like this one just fan the flames

Illinois business owners could do jail time under Pritzker’s new emergency rules

Illinois business owners found guilty of violating the governor’s stay-at-home-orders could land in jail for up to a year under new emergency rules filed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker late Friday, two months into his executive response to slow the spread of COVID-19.

* The rule is also poorly drafted. Text message from a Democratic legislator…

There’s no language in the rule directly tying it to the Gov’s EO. So it technically can stay in place well after the EO expires. (Which will fuel a lot of the crazies and their conspiracy theories.) Of course, the rule could be withdrawn when the EO expires, but there’s no accounting in the rule for the phased re-opening contemplated in the gov’s plan. Hair salons are scheduled to reopen in stage three, but restaurants not til stage four. The rule doesn’t address that. And of course, the reopening can happen at different points geographically.

The rule is here.

* But some legislators are receiving this form e-mail…

We would like to vote NO on the following:
Vote NO against granting an overreach of the Governor’s power.
Vote NO against making changes to the Illinois Constitution granting additional power to the Governor.
Vote: “NO” to Mandatory Vaccination against COVID-19
Vote: “NO” to Mandatory Testing of COVID-19

Nobody is pushing to change the constitution. Also, arguing against mandatory vaccination probably doesn’t help their cause and testing isn’t mandatory.

* Stopping this rule will require two Democrats to cross over tomorrow

State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, is on the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules. He said when the commission meets in Springfield on Wednesday, he will file a motion to suspend the rules.

“That takes eight members, so it would have to be bipartisan with respect to getting a suspension,” Wheeler told WMAY on Monday.

The commission is comprised of six Democrats, three from each the House and Senate, and six Republicans, three from each the House and Senate.

The rules are in place right now, Wheeler said. If the rules are not suspended on Wednesday, they will be in place through the second week of October. He called the rules an abuse of the rule-making process.

“If they’re intent on doing this, they can do this by statute,” Wheeler said. “The push back they give on that is it’s easier to withdraw an emergency rule and that is true but we sunset things in Springfield all the time, so I’m sure that the creative minds in Springfield could find a way if everyone agreed this was good policy, which I don’t.”

* But why they even needed to issue the rule is still somewhat beyond me

During his daily coronavirus press briefing Monday, Pritzker pointed out that defying an Illinois Department of Public Health Act rule has always been a Class A misdemeanor. He said the emergency rule is simply another “tool” for local law enforcement.

“That’s the existing law today, in fact, last week and last year,” Pritzker said. “Under that existing law, law enforcement can issue a citation to the business. … This additional enforcement tool causes less harm to a business than a total shutdown or loss of a license, but gives local law enforcement the ability to do their jobs.”

Not to mention that the governor has unnecessarily created a huge uproar ahead of the first legislative session since March.

*** UPDATE *** From the governor’s media briefing…

Governor what exactly do you want JCAR to do tomorrow? I’m hearing a couple of concerns about your order lasting quote five months, can you clear that up?…

    The rule that we’ve put in place in emergency would only last until the end of this phase. That’s about 10 more days. And then in phase three a new rule would need to be issued. That’s the way it would work. It’s not something that would last five months.

It’s kinda ludicrous that they caused all this uproar over two weeks of enforcement.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Protected: *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Another supplement to today’s edition

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Martha Kohlrus needs our help

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

* Martha Kohlrus is an administrative assistant in the Illinois Senate who was a runner-up for a Golden Horseshoe in 2016 and was just featured on a local TV station last month. She’s a sweet person and now something awful has happened to her

After suffering a massive heart attack on April 30, Martha Kohlrus will require skilled care for some time once she is discharged. After being deprived of oxygen for up to 10 minutes, she will need months and maybe up to two years of therapy for cognitive and physical recovery. This therapy is expensive, and it is unknown if or when Martha will return to work. `

Martha’s daughter, Tara, called 911 after speaking with her mother. Emergency services arrived approximately 10 minutes after receiving the call and found her in full cardiac arrest without a pulse. She was taken immediately to surgery where doctors placed three stents. Martha coded up to ten more times during the procedure and doctors gave her a 50/50 chance of even waking up. She was placed in a hypothermic coma and on a ventilator.

Two weeks after the heart attack, the temporary pacemaker is out and she’s breathing fully on her own. She’s already been moved from ICU to a general room and we hope she will begin inpatient rehab next week. Major concerns for cognitive function remain. Martha does not know where she is, what happened or why no one is with her. She does not recognize family yet, and will have to relearn how to do simple daily tasks like holding a spoon, dressing and eating. We remind her daily her name is Martha, she had a heart attack, we can’t be in the hospital because of coronavirus, and that she has a beautiful family absolutely desperate to see her again.

Many people have reached out to her family and asked to help; once Martha is released from the hospital, she will need 24hr assistance, so this is a great way to help Martha on the road to recovery. All donations will go toward extensive outpatient therapy for our beloved aunt, mother, sister, friend.

* Please click on the pic to donate

…Adding… As of about 2:30, her family has raised $3250 since I posted this. Thanks!

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      

* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Budget and BIMP stuff (Updated with this week's password)
* Pritzker unveils business guidance; takes questions on budget, legislature, EO
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Senate President Don Harmon talks to reporters
* Madigan's closing statement
* Sunday programming note
* *** UPDATED x1 - Gaming bill passes Senate 42-14 *** Sen. Martwick is in town to vote for the Chicago casino bill
* *** UPDATED x5 *** Amendment introduced to allow remote legislating
* 2,352 new cases, 75 additional deaths
* House approves gaming bill 77-32
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Sen. Dale Righter cleans up Eastern Bloc member's mess
* *** UPDATED x1 *** IDPH stops reporting historical nursing home COVID-19 outbreak data
* End of session cheat sheet
* Social media isn't real life
* New approp, BIMP amendments surface, casino push continues, cannabis bill hits a snag with Pritzker thumbs down
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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