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News Around Illinois – May 22, 2020

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Pritzker Says No Decision Yet On Holding State Fairs This Summer

SPRINGFIELD – Governor J.B. Pritzker says no decision has been made yet on whether Illinois’ two state fairs can be held safely this summer. Illinois’ two fairs are scheduled for later in the summer: August 13-23 for the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and August 28 to September 7 (Labor Day) for the DuQuoin State Fair in southern Illinois. Speaking in Springfield at his daily briefing, Pritzker said whether the fairs will be held depends on what Restore Illinois phase the state will be in by then. Illinois law indicates that holding the two state fairs is mandatory, stating that they “shall” be held every year.

State Public Health officials announced 2,268 new COVID-19 cases in Illinois Thursday. That brings the state’s total number of cases up to 102,686. There were 87 additional deaths, bringing the total to 4,607. – Jim Meadows, Illinois Newsroom

Lawsuit Challenging Stay-At-Home Order Now In Federal Court

SPRINGFIELD — A lawsuit challenging the validity of Illinois’ stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the coronavirus has been transferred from state court to federal court. Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office stated in its court filing that it was moving the case from state court because it involves U.S. constitutional rights of free religion and due process. The lawsuit was brought by state Rep. Darren Bailey, Clay County Judge Michael McHaney previously ruled Bailey was not bound by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order shutting down most businesses and churches. Bailey is attempting to broaden the ruling to make the order invalid for all Illinois residents. – Associated Press

Vote-By-Mail Expansion Ready For Illinois House Floor Vote

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House approved on Thursday evening an expansion of voting by mail for the fall election, using federal pandemic-relief funds, despite Republican criticism that it would take a financial bite out of county budgets and could increase errors and electoral fraud. Rep. Kelly Burke’s proposal was adopted 72-43. It would encourage mail-in ballots by sending applications to anyone who voted by mail in 2018, 2019 or in this year’s primary. The Evergreen Park Democrat said it would provide a simpler and safer way to vote during the COVID-19 outbreak. It moves to the Senate where members expected to vote Thursday night. – Associated Press

Pritzker Activates Guard To Help Prepare For Flooding

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has activated nearly 60 Illinois National Guard soldiers and ordered additional steps by the state to prepare for projected flooding along the Illinois River and other streams. The National Weather Service forecasts the Illinois River will reach major flood stage Saturday morning at Meredosia, about 50 miles west of Springfield, and continue to rise through the middle of next week. Without additional flood protection, water could flow over several levees and flood roads, threatening Meredosia’s 980 residents. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has begun sandbagging to help communities along the river, and Pritzker has issued a state disaster proclamation for four counties. – Associated Press

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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Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick

Reginald Hardwick is the News & Public Affairs Director for the Illinois Newsroom. He started at WILL in October of 2019 after serving as News Director for WKAR in East Lansing, Michigan. Previously, he was a news producer and manager at the NBC station in Dallas, where he won 7 Emmy awards. Born in Vietnam, Reginald is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. Email: rh14@illinois.edu Twitter: @RNewsWILL

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