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News Around Illinois – Aug. 17, 2020

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The latest news around the state, for Aug. 17, 2020.

Illinois Imposes New Metro East COVID-19 Rules After Spike

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced fresh restrictions Sunday for southwestern Illinois after a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. The rules, effective Tuesday, include limiting meetings and social events to the lesser of 25 people or 25% of overall room capacity and closing bars and casinos at 11 p.m. The restrictions follow three straight days of a positive test rate of 8% or higher. Illinois’ current statewide average is 4.1%. The restrictions apply to seven counties including Madison and St. Clair. – Associated Press

Illinois County Tables Decision To Keep Jail’s ICE Contract

WOODSTOCK, Ill. (AP) — A county board has tabled a decision on whether a northern Illinois jail will continuing its agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain immigrants. The contract with ICE has been around since 2004, though the board hasn’t looked at it since 2014. The agreement has brought in an average of $6.8 million a year for the last three years, according to the Northwest Herald. The resolution will come up again at the McHenry County Board’s Sept. 15 meeting after it was tabled at a recent meeting. Board member Carlos Acosta said profiting off immigration detention has made him uneasy. Activists have also expressed concerns about the treatment of detainees. However, others are worried about the loss of revenue. A committee has already rejected the resolution. A message left Sunday for an ICE spokeswoman wasn’t immediately returned. – Associated Press

Illinois State Museum’s Suburban Chicago Gallery To Reopen

LOCKPORT, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois State Museum gallery closed due to the coronavirus pandemic will reopen this month. Museum officials said the Lockport Gallery is set to reopen on Wednesday. The gallery will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to use the state museum website to register in advance. Anyone visiting will have a health screening before they enter the gallery. People older than two must wear a face covering. Exhibits include Surplus Scrap. All of the art pieces included in the exhibit are made from material salvaged after a fire in 2017 at the abandoned Joliet Prison. – Associated Press

Illinois Democrats Meet Virtually For DNC As Corruption Questions Surround Their Chairman

The Democratic National Convention that begins Monday is taking on a different look this year as thousands of delegates from across the country are meeting remotely rather than in Milwaukee to avoid the spread of COVID-19. For Illinois Democrats, the convention arrives as the chairman of the state party, Michael Madigan, is facing calls from inside his own party to step aside. Those calls have been coming for the past month after Commonwealth Edison admitted it handed out jobs and contracts to gain favor with Madigan, who is also the longest-serving House Speaker of any chamber in the country. Madigan has not been charged with any crimes, and he’s denied wrongdoing. However, the office of U.S. Attorney John Lausch issued a subpoena to the Speaker’s office last month seeking documents and communication with ComEd officials, in addition to AT&T Illinois, Walgreens and Rush University Medical Center. Meanwhile, four Illinois lawmakers have been charged in the past year, from receiving payments for not doing any work to taking bribes to accepting bribes to tax fraud. 

Will Democrats address the investigation into Madigan this week?

Madigan denies wrongdoing, and he’s not been charged. But he has still faced calls to step aside as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and as chairman of Democratic Party of Illinois. The gradual calls for Madigan to resign eventually led to Madigan admitting he surveyed his fellow Democrats to see if he had the votes to stay in power. He concluded that he did, and he has so far refused to step down. That has prompted frequent questions of Democrats as to whether they are with him or against him — much to their chagrin. – Tony Arnold, WBEZ

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. We recommend checking the Coronavirus Information Center for the most recent numbers and guidance.

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