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Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a law providing full disability benefits to first responders affected by COVID-19

(Springfield-jm) – Calls for ethics reform continue at the Illinois Capitol. House Republicans are again highlighting their ideas for change in state government. Representative Patrick Windhorst of Metropolis says so far, their ideas have fallen on deaf ears…



State Representative Patrick Windhorst of Metropolis. Earlier this week, former Governor Pat Quinn was in Springfield asking for a special session on ethics legislation in light of the recent guilty verdict in the “Com-Ed Four” bribery case.



(Springfield-jm) – Illinois House Democrats filed bill language for a firearm omnibus plan that they believe will keep communities safer. The House Judiciary Criminal Committee approved the 98-page bill despite concerns from Republicans, gun advocacy organizations and the Illinois Sheriffs' Association. House Bill 676 could allow county boards to adopt ordinances prohibiting use of guns within 1,000 yards of homes unless the firearms are used for self defense. County boards can currently pass such ordinances to monitor discharge of firearms within 300 yards. Sponsors said this is necessary as people have recently reported shell casings found in their yards and some homes having damage from bullets. The plan could create a task force to review current and potential insurance policies for safe and legal possession of guns. Task force members would be asked to provide recommendations on the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of requiring gun owners to have insurance and any risks lawmakers should think about with future legislation.


(Springfield-jm) – Senate Democrats are sponsoring a package of bills to increase access to healthcare and related products. The first proposal, sponsored by Senator Dave Koehler of Peoria, requires insurance coverage for hearing aids…



State Senator Dave Koehler of Peoria. Current law only mandates coverage for those under 18. Other bills limit the cost of epi-pens to $60 for a twin pack and provide more resources for patients struggling to pay off their medical bills.


(Springfield-jm) – There are about two weeks left in the spring legislative session. House Republicans are pushing several bills they would like to see addressed including one by 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington…



106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.


(Springfield-jm) – Fire officials and legislators banded together at the Capitol and called for the inclusion of an income tax credit into the state budget, to help alleviate the critical shortage of volunteer firefighters in Illinois. Modeled after legislation passed in New York, the proposal would provide a $500 state income tax credit for volunteer firefighters, who earn less than $10,000 in stipends for their service to the fire department. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Urbana-jm) – You may have to pay more in one city for using a plastic bag at grocery stores. Urbana is looking at adding a 5-10-cent fee per bag. Right now, the city council is just talking about it. Urbana wouldn’t be the first to have a single-use tax. Places like Chicago, Edwardsville, and Batavia already have city-wide plastic bag costs in place.


(Springfield-jm) – County estimates are out with a total of one million cattle and calves in Illinois as of January 1st. Counties with the most cattle and calves overall are Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Clinton, says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Here are the top counties for dairy cows…



Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener names the top three for beef cattle…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a law providing full disability benefits to first responders affected by COVID-19. The law was prompted by the case of Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s brother, a Chicago police sergeant who caught the virus. He suffered five strokes, lost both kidneys and deemed permanently disabled, but was denied full Act of Duty benefits…



State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. The law is retroactive so Chicago first responders in the same situation get their benefits.


(Springfield-jm) – Democratic state lawmakers say it is time for the highest income earners and wealthy businesses to pay more. Progressive lawmakers told reporters that billionaires and large corporations have seen their wealth skyrocket throughout the COVID-19 pandemic while working families continue to struggle. They argue that rich Illinoisans and large businesses should "pay what they owe" to help the state fund child care, K-12 education, health care for immigrants, and homeless prevention services. One plan would tax billionaires on their asset values. Sponsors believe the "Market to Market tax" could generate an estimated $510 million for the state. Progressive Democrats also said Illinois has one of the most generous retailer's discounts in the country. They suggested that Illinois should cap the amount of sales tax large retailers are allowed to keep.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says the state is looking for more federal assistance with the influx of asylum-seeking migrants being sent to Illinois. The Governor says the busing of migrants from Texas to Chicago has created a humanitarian crisis, and that Illinois will do all it can to help. That includes pushing for more federal dollars through an 800 million dollar appropriation at the Federal Emergency Management Agency…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has declared a State of Emergency as more migrants are expected to arrive, saying the city has reached a breaking point.


(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are calling out Democrats for some of their priorities. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Watseka-jm) – The Iroquois County Board approved a resolution allowing Ford County Highway Engineer Greg Perkinson to serve as Acting-Iroquois County Engineer until Joel Moore’s replacement can be hired. Moore passed away April 21 after a bout with cancer.


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Joe Bradley
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