(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House of Representatives will reconvene in January 2021 for a lame duck session. The Illinois House will meet on Friday, January 8, 2021, at the Bank of Springfield Convention Center. In an email to House members, the Office of the Speaker's Chief of Staff Jessica Basham said representatives should plan on staying in Springfield from January 8 through at least January 13, and potentially longer.



(Springfield-jm) -- Families in Illinois' Child Care Assistance Program will see lowered copays in the beginning of the new year. Governor J-B Pritzker announced that parents in the program will pay a maximum of $1.25 in monthly copays for January and February 2021. State officials said that as of November, about 98,000 children were enrolled in the program.



(Springfield-jm) -- After months of waiting, the home day cares in Illinois will be able to open at full capacity. Updated guidance from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is allowing home daycares to return to pre-pandemic numbers. 



(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law will further protect victims of stalking and sexual assault. The state’s Address Confidentially Program is currently only available to survivors of domestic violence. But a law taking effect January 1st adds stalking and sexual assault survivors as well. It lets them obtain an alternate address so it’s harder for their abuser to find them says Representative Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn…



State Representative Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn. The program keeps the victim’s real address out of public record and the substitute address can be used on their driver’s license or ID card. First class mail sent to that address will be forwarded. Survivors who are interested can apply to the Address Confidentiality Program online at: illinois attorney general dot gov.



(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 955,380 Coronavirus cases and 16,357 deaths. Locally, Livingston County reported 23 new cases bringing their total to 3,106. McLean County reported 124 new cases and 4 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 11,479 and deaths to 101. Champaign County reported 131 new cases bringing their total to 13,789. Ford County reported 14 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 1,230 and deaths to 37. Iroquois County reported 15 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 2,306 and deaths to 52. Kankakee County reported 61 new cases bringing their total to 10,717. Vermilion County reported 176 new cases bringing their total to 5,708.



(Rural Gibson City-jm) -- One person was taken to the hospital with serious injuries after a car fleeing police crashed. Illinois State Police say Dewey Couch of Rankin was attempting to flee from Gibson City police on Route 47 south of Gibson City when he side-swiped a vehicle, then went off the road and rolled in a field. Couch was ejected and taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the other vehicle was not injured. 



(Vermilion County-jm) -- The Vermilion County Health Department is announcing they have received their first shipment of the Moderna COVID vaccine. Shipments to the counties two hospitals are also expected to arrive this week. The health department says they will begin vaccinating health care providers and first responders next week.



(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers are set to return to the state capitol next month. Members of the General Assembly are expected to be sworn in on January 13th and 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says there is one pressing issue facing members of the House of Representatives…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.



(Undated-jm) -- Unemployment rates are up and jobs are down across all 14 of the state’s metro areas in November. The Illinois Department of Employment Security says unemployment in Champaign Count rose from 3.1 percent in November 2019 to 4.6 percent in November 2020. Ford County’s rose from 3.8 percent to 4.3 percent. Iroquois County 3.8 percent to 4.0 percent and Vermilion County 4.7 percent to 6.1 percent.



(Undated-jm) -- The state is awarding more than $750,000 in Back to Book grants for libraries. Among the recipients include $495 for Fisher library, $2,500 for the Paxton Carnegie Library, $4,900 each for the PBL School District and Watseka school district and $2,000 for Rantoul Township High School district. 



(Washington-jm) -- The head of USDA's Risk Management Agency says input from producers has been the major guiding factor in RMA operations. Gary Crawford has the details…




(Washington-jm) -- The federal government has released the latest edition of the once-every-five-years Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Stephanie Ho reports…



(Springfield-jm) --  The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, harpooned by progressive Democrats as a handout to wealthy corporations, turned out to be more progressive in practice, new data from the federal government revealed.  The federal tax reform measure supported by President Donald Trump increased taxes on some wealthy property owners in high-tax jurisdictions such as Illinois and New Jersey and decreased tax burdens on the middle class.  Internal Revenue Service data released in December, analyzed by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation and Wirepoints, show the federal tax overhaul that took effect in 2018 didn’t necessarily become the tax break for the wealthy as it was criticized as.  In its assessment of the data, Wirepoints said taxpayers in high-tax states such as Illinois, New Jersey, and New York got hit with the majority of the new tax burden because the SALT deduction was capped at $10,000.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker released $142 million in funding, approved by the Illinois legislature, for technology training centers on public university campuses that will promote tech innovation and job creation across the state. The bipartisan public-private effort aims to create 50,000 high-demand tech jobs in the next 10 years. The funding is the first release from $500 million in state Discovery Partners Institute capital funds approved by Pritzker and the Legislature to develop the statewide education and innovation network, led by the University of Illinois System.



(Springfield-jm) -- High unemployment numbers, wallets stretched thin, and a global pandemic: It's not a situation you'd think would drive people to buy a house. But in Illinois, and across the country, that's exactly what happened. Illinois realtors said the pandemic taught them to expect the unexpected, which includes the almost 35 percent spike in home sales in October compared to last year.



(Springfield-jm) -- At least 20% of Illinois families with children said they had only "slight or no confidence" they'd make their next rent or mortgage payment on time, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Nadia Ramlagan reports…




(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 7,374 new Coronavirus cases and 178 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 955,380 and deaths to 16,357. As for local active and recovered cases, Livingston County reported 2,878 have been removed from isolation and 172 cases are active. McLean County reported 10,403 have recovered, 949 are in isolation and 26 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 13,061 have recovered, 640 are in isolation and 8 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,163 have been released from isolation, 85 remain in isolation and 6 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 5,616 have recovered and 4949 cases are active. Vermilion County reported 4,917 have been released from isolation, 675 remain in isolation and 39 are hospitalized.


(Urbana-jm) -- A Gifford paramedic has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman while she was in an ambulance. Jeffrey Sanford Jr was found guilty in October of criminal sexual assault for forcing a woman to perform oral sex on him in an ambulance in July of 2019. 



(Champaign-jm) -- A judge has denied a motion to have charges dismissed against a man accused of inciting a riot at Market Place Mall in Champaign. On Sunday, May 31, multiple people gathered in the parking lot of Market Place Mall. Shortly after, additional vehicles arrived and people began looting and vandalizing area businesses. According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint against him, Champaign Police saw a Facebook post that was allegedly made by 19-year-old Shamar Betts of Urbana. Betts was charged in a federal criminal complaint with using the internet to incite rioting in Champaign from May 31 to June 1.



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton’s Streetscape project is once again moving forward. The project had been delayed because of the pandemic. Mayor Bill Ingold provides an update on the project…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.



(Mahomet/Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton man is set to retire at the end of the year from Farm Credit Illinois after 40 years with the company. Brian Funk is a credit officer at the Mahomet based company.



(Undated-jm) -- The Pritzker Administration is announcing 10 community revitalization grants including some around here. The Central Illinois Land Bank which incompases parts of Vermilion and Champaign Counties will receive $125,000. Champaign County will receive $69,500. The City of Champaign will receive $170,200 while Hoopeston will receive $125,000 and Bloomington and Danville will each receive $175,000.


(Washington-jm) -- Has the Phase One trade deal with China increased U.S. ag. product sales to that nation in 2020? Gary Crawford reports…




(Washington-jm) -- What do the next five years hold for college graduates in food and farm- related studies regarding employment opportunities? Rod Bain reports…



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