Gov. Pritzker Announces Extension of Stay at Home Order, Suspension of On-Site Learning in Schools Through April. Building on the state's efforts to flatten the curve of new COVID-19 cases in Illinois and following careful consultation with experts in Illinois and across the nation, Governor JB Pritzker announced that he would sign a 30-day extension of the state's disaster proclamation on April 1. The disaster proclamation provides the governor the authority to sign additional executive orders, extending the Stay at Home order and suspending on-site learning in K-12 schools through the month of April. The April 30 reset date was included in the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-18.
From Illinois Department of Illinois Informational Bulletin: Changes to Estimated Payment Requirements due to COVID-19 Virus Outbreak

Due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic and the subsequent Emergency Declaration of Disaster by Governor JB Pritzker, the filing and payment deadline for income tax returns due April 15, 2020, was extended to July 15, 2020. As a result, a significant number of taxpayers will not be able to accurately calculate and pay their 2020 Illinois estimated income tax.
There is still time to complete the U.S. Census online.

Federal funding for Illinois health clinics, first responders, schools, roads and more all will be determined by how many people complete the census. While you are required by law to participate, the Census Bureau is also required by law to protect your answers. Please take a few minutes to make sure you are counted by taking the census online at
For over a century the Illinois primary has been a fixture on the early spring calendar every even-numbered year. In the recent past, presidential candidates Bill Clinton (1992) and Mitt Romney (2012) became their party’s presumptive nominees after winning in the Land of Lincoln. At the state level, the primary has opened the door for a large number of outsiders to shock the establishment and grab the nomination for office, with future Governor Dan Walker’s surprising primary win in 1972 perhaps the most enduring example.

The primary is such an engrained part of the political calendar that it is hard to imagine the process without it. But Illinois’ spring primary only came into being after a long fight; and many failures; at the start of the 20th century, helped along by the strong-willed 23rd Governor of Illinois, Charles Deneen.
As the state of Illinois sets up alternative care sites in the battle against COVID-19, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is calling on all licensed health care professionals to join Illinois HELPS, an emergency alert system that, when activated, would deploy volunteers to areas of urgent need, likely at one of the new sites.

All physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physician assistants, medics, LPNs, CNAs, podiatrists and dentists are encouraged to register on the Illinois HELPS website.
Stay-at-home order. Executive Order 2020-10 requires Illinois residents to stay in their homes to avoid the risk of catching and transmitting the COVID-19 virus. Exceptions are carved out from this order for: (a) essential business, such as buying food and day-to-day necessities of life, and (b) the work and workplaces of “essential workers” which includes hospital workers, first responders, mail carriers, supermarket workers, and many other types of personnel.
As we head into the spring months, the risk of severe thunderstorms typically increases across the state of Illinois, including the risk for tornadoes. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recommended social distancing parameters, people who rely on public sheltering from tornadoes could be faced with the difficult choice of sheltering from the tornado in a community shelter or refraining from going to the shelter in order to limit potential exposure to COVID-19. 
Millions of Illinoisans are subject to the state’s “stay at home” order because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. But while we all endeavor to hang out at home as much as possible, accidents still happen. Sprained ankles, earaches, rashes and any number of other maladies; some small, some large; occur on a daily basis.

But the last thing anyone wants to do these days is go to a doctor’s office or an ER unless they have to. So what to do? Many Illinois health care institutions are expanding their telemedicine services to meet the need during this emergency.
Just across Monroe Street from the Capitol building, the ashes of the Illinois State Armory were still smoldering as state officials worked to determine just how bad the loss was. The 1934 fire had wrecked the building; that much was obvious. But more than just a structure had been lost, and the state had learned an important lesson about protecting irreplaceable artifacts.

As the fire burned, firefighters had wisely decided to direct their hoses toward the tons of ammunition and gunpowder stored in the building (now kept at Camp Lincoln on the outskirts of Springfield, rather than in the middle of downtown). Unfortunately, materials stored in other parts of the building had not been saved, and these included innumerable paper records of Illinois soldiers dating back to the Civil War.
To avoid costly plumbing repairs and wider problems affecting public sanitary sewer systems and the environment, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) today is reminding residents to toss away trash, not flush it down the toilet. Blocked drains and sewers can lead to severe consequences such as manhole overflowing, flooding in our homes and on our roadways, and pollution of watercourses. 
Three new programs from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to help small businesses were announced today.

Hospitality Emergency Grant Program
To help hospitality businesses make ends meet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, DCEO is launching the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program with $14 million drawn from funds originally budgeted for job training, tourism promotion, and other purposes. Grant funds are available to support working capital like payroll and rent, as well as job training, retraining, and technology to support shifts in operations, like increased pick-up and delivery. Bars and restaurants that generated between $500K and $1M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000, and bars and restaurants that generated less than $500K in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000. Hotels that generated less than $8M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000.
Precautions to take whether you shop in-store or online: With experts saying people should avoid crowded places because of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 , how should you handle grocery shopping? One option people are turning to is grocery delivery services. Read more by Tobie Stanger on Consumer Reports.

Advice from the Illinois Hospital Association:

Every Illinoisan plays a role in ensuring our health care system remains fully operational to treat patients in need of urgent care. If you are experiencing symptoms of any illness, including COVID-19, the first thing you should do is call a health care provider, like your primary care physician or a health clinic.

But please, do not walk directly into an emergency room or a doctor’s office. A health care provider will ask about your symptoms and potential exposures. If they think you need medical care, they will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure. If you meet certain criteria, you may be tested for COVID-19, but as testing expands, those with severe illness and those at higher risk of complications are being prioritized.

People whose symptoms are mild — which will be most people — will be able to isolate at home during their illness, and they should follow the directives of their health care providers.
Essential Businesses and Operations are exempt from the Stay-at-Home Order Issued by the Governor.

For the purposes of the Stay-at-Home Executive Order, Essential Businesses and Operations means Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Infrastructure, and the following:
Governor Issues Stay at Home Order for All Illinoisans. The global coronavirus pandemic is continuing to affect every aspect of day-to-day life in Illinois. After issuing a disaster declaration last week, Governor JB Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-06 on March 16 to close K-12 schools throughout Illinois. This order was followed by Executive Order 2020-07 to close the restaurants and bars of Illinois (no dine-in option for restaurants; drive-thru, carryout and delivery still available). In addition, many of Illinois’ colleges and universities, which are not under the control of the Governor, have taken independent but coordinated steps to shut down all classroom activities and move to online instruction.

Residents still able to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations. Restaurants limited to take-out and delivery only.

Today in a effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Pritzker issued an Executive Order requiring Illinois residents to stay at home except for the purpose of obtaining essential needs. The order goes into effect tomorrow, Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m. through April 7.

The order directs all residents to remain at their place of residence, except to conduct essential activities.
The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.

Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. Watch this video on the safety and need for blood donations. 

Right now, eligible and healthy donors are strongly urged to make an appointment to give soon. But please postpone your donation for 28 days following travel to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Iran, Italy and South Korea, or if you’ve been diagnosed with or have had contact with anyone with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. 

Astronauts N. Jan Davis and Mae C. Jemison.  
In the early days of space flight the U.S. Air Force defined an astronaut as any person who had flown past an altitude of 50 miles above sea level. International governing bodies such as the Federation Aeronautique Internationale went a little higher, placing the dividing line between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space as 100 kilometers, or about 62 miles up, what came to be known as the “Karman Line,” named for Hungarian scientist Theodore von Karman.

Wherever it is physically located, it was definitely the highest-altitude glass ceiling in 1983 when Sally Ride broke through it aboard the space shuttle Challenger and became the first American woman in space. She followed Soviet cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982).
Governor Issues Disaster Proclamation. JB Pritzker, Governor of the State of Illinois, in the interest of aiding the people of Illinois and the local governments responsible for ensuring public health and safety issued a Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation this week in response to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

This proclamation will assist Illinois agencies in coordinating State and Federal resources, including the Strategic National Stockpile of medicines and protective equipment, to support local governments in preparation for any action that may be necessary related to the potential impact of COVID-19 in the State of Illinois.
Reps. Batinick and Mazzochi discuss state pensions, property tax reform and ending corruption in state government.

Keep up with House Republican initiatives at
Statuary Hall in the U.S Capitol Building in Washington honors some of the most historic figures in American history. Created in 1864 out of the chamber which had previously been home to the House of Representatives, Statuary Hall was conceived as a place where each state could place two statues honoring their heroes. As more states were admitted to the union, more statues were dedicated: Hawaii’s King Kamehameha, Alabama’s Helen Keller and Massachusetts’ Daniel Webster are among the 100 statues which now stand throughout the Capitol.

But in 1905, Illinois made a bit of history itself, when it became the first state in the nation to honor a woman with one of its two statues in the Capitol. The hero chosen by the state of Illinois was a social reformer, temperance advocate and suffragist named Frances Willard.
Illinois residents can now complete the census questionnaire online at

Completing the census online will ensure that Illinoisans get both the representation and federal funding for the critical services that they deserve,

The online questionnaire is the quickest and easiest way to get counted in Illinois and can be accessed from a smart phone, tablet, laptop, computer and terminals at local libraries. The census is nine questions long and will take less than 10 minutes to complete.
In light of yet another “programming error” related to Illinois’ Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) system, State Representatives Tim Butler (R-Springfield) and Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) are calling for a thorough audit and suspension of the system until problems are resolved. The latest problem with the system while on the Secretary of State’s watch has caused more than 1,100 valid voter registrations to be wrongly coded as opting-out instead of being registered. 

House Republicans Call for Action, Introduce Property Tax Reform Package. Illinois State Representatives Dan Brady, Deanne Mazzochi, Joe Sosnowski and Dan Ugaste announced new legislative proposals to provide property tax relief to struggling homeowners this week after the Democrat-led Property Tax Relief Task Force failed to present any viable solutions to this crisis.

“We have been waiting, waiting and waiting for Democrats to keep their promise to join us and pass meaningful property tax reform,” said Rep. Deanne Mazzochi. “House Republicans have a package of property tax relief bills stuck in the Rules Committee graveyard that haven’t received the courtesy of even a committee hearing. Those bills are targeted to the very people who told the Property Tax Relief Task Force that they need relief now - particularly seniors who are forced to leave their friends, family, and homes because of skyrocketing property taxes. We are determined to bring real property tax relief to Illinois, and it is sad to see more do-nothing from Democrats, and their refusal to do what it takes to help people stay in their homes."
Leona Marshall Libby, 1946. 
Three quarters of a century ago, the United States was caught up in the largest and most destructive war in human history. From Alaska’s Aleutian Islands to the tropical south Pacific, from the beaches of Normandy to the deserts of North Africa and the steppes of Russia, battles raged across the globe.

There was also an intense race underway in laboratories far from the battlefields. Albert Einstein had escaped from Nazi Germany and warned President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939 that discoveries were being made and research conducted which, if completed, would lead to the creation of the most terrible weapon ever invented. The weapon would then be in the hands of whomever won that race, and the future of the entire world might very well hang on its outcome.

Reps. Norine Hammond and Dan Ugaste identify strategies the state can implement now to provide Illinoisans with much needed property tax relief.

Keep up with House Republican initiatives.   
Left to right: Reps. Sosnowski, Brady, Ugaste, and Mazzochi. 
Illinois State Representatives Dan Brady (R-Normal), Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst), Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) and Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) announced new legislative proposals to provide property tax relief to struggling homeowners today after the Democrat-led Property Tax Relief Task Force failed to present any viable solutions to this crisis.

“We have been waiting, waiting and waiting for Democrats to keep their promise to join us and pass meaningful property tax reform,” said Rep. Deanne Mazzochi. “House Republicans have a package of property tax relief bills stuck in the Rules Committee graveyard that haven’t received the courtesy of even a committee hearing. Those bills are targeted to the very people who told the Property Tax Relief Task Force that they need relief now - particularly seniors who are forced to leave their friends, family, and homes because of skyrocketing property taxes. We are determined to bring real property tax relief to Illinois, and it is sad to see more do-nothing from Democrats, and their refusal to do what it takes to help people stay in their homes." 

New State policy allows for release of non-citizen, violent convicted felons. In January, without notice to the public, a radical policy change was made in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) that allows for the release of non-citizen, violent convicted felons into our communities. This is happening without notice to local law enforcement authorities or local public officials

When non-citizens complete their state prison terms, they are typically transferred to federal immigration authorities where their immigration status is reviewed and adjudicated by a federal judge. That is no longer happening. IDOC is releasing these dangerous felons into our communities despite requests from federal immigration authorities to hold them.
Reps. Steve Reick and Jeff Keicher discuss their legislative initiatives to prevent child abuse. Rep. Reick outlines AJ’s Law, a bill he has filed to protect children in the care of the state, while Rep. Keicher introduces us to the "Make S.A.F.E. Task Force" and its efforts to tackle sexual harassment and abuse in schools. 

This month, just like every fourth February of the past half century, has seen any number of would-be Presidents slogging their way through Iowa, New Hampshire and a handful of other states at the beginning of the road to the nomination. It is a deeply-engrained part of the modern American political tradition, but one that is just that: modern.

For most of American history, those seeking the Presidency stayed quiet in February. The modern system of primaries did not emerge until the mid-20th century and before then tradition dictated that those who desired to sit in the highest office in the land did not seek it overtly.

But 160 years ago an aspiring Commander in Chief broke from tradition; only slightly as he was not yet an official candidate for the Presidency. On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln visited New York’s Cooper Union and delivered what is considered by some to be the speech that made him President.
Reps. Sosnowski, Weber, and Bryant during a press conference. 
During a press conference at the Illinois State Capitol last week, State Representatives Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa), Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) and Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) presented several pieces of legislation to reform the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

“In April of 2019, one of the communities I represent, Crystal Lake, was rocked by the death of an innocent 5-year old boy named AJ Freund,” said Rep. Weber. “Shockingly, AJ was one of 123 children who were failed by DCFS in 2019. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about and I’m not alone in that feeling. We must change the course of a broken DCFS and that’s why I’ve filed the AJ Freund Act to give local law enforcement the ability to investigate any allegation of child abuse or neglect. If local law enforcement had this investigative ability in December of 2018, when AJ told the ER doctor that his bruises might have been caused by his mother, he may still be alive today.”

House Republicans Call for No New Taxes, Spending Restraint in FY21 Budget. Governor JB Pritzker gave his second annual budget address on Wednesday to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. Deputy Republican Leader Tom Demmer responded to the governor’s remarks.

“The General Assembly has some work to do,” said Rep. Demmer. “I disagree with Governor Pritzker’s proposal to spend $1.4 billion of hypothetical revenue, and his threat to cut healthcare and education spending unless voters approve his tax increase. Instead, I’ll work with colleagues on a balanced budget that takes advantage of revenue growth from our strong national economy and low unemployment. We can pass a responsible budget without another tax increase.”
State Representatives Tom Demmer, Tony McCombie and Ryan Spain reject the Governor’s proposed budget, calling instead for a responsible state budget that doesn’t rely on hypothetical revenue projections.

The International Space Station (ISS) has become a fixture in orbit above the Earth. Today it is not uncommon for astronauts to spend as much as a year at a time in space. Supplying these extended missions presented NASA and its international space flight partners with significant logistical challenges, leading to the development of the Cygnus spacecraft, an unmanned cargo capsule which launches atop an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to deliver essential supplies to the crew of the ISS.

This Cygnus capsule flying the mission this month bears the name of Robert H. Lawrence, the Illinoisan who was the United States’ first African-American astronaut.
Illinois House prepares for submission of FY21 budget. Illinois enacted a balanced FY20 budget in June 2019 for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2019. International credit-rating agencies accepted Illinois’ FY20 budget, which moved Illinois closer to fiscal stability. The Illinois House must prepare for the challenges of the FY21 budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. Governor Pritzker will give his Annual Budget Address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, February 19.
Assistant Republican Leaders Avery Bourne and Tim Butler talk about the need to eliminate mistakes in Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) and to fix bureaucratic processes causing long delays for Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) card applications and renewals.

For most of its first century, organized professional baseball in America was strictly segregated. This shameful era lasted until 1947 when the great Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier as Major League Baseball’s first African-American player.

But though the doors of Major League Baseball may have been closed to them, African-American baseball stars of the early 20th century still found a way to showcase their talents, thanks in part to the work of a Chicago ballplayer who on February 13, 1920, chartered a new league which would change baseball forever.
CGFA releases revenue numbers for January 2020. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) tracks incoming State revenues in order to help lawmakers keep to the balanced budget that Illinois is constitutionally required to maintain.

The January 2020 CGFA revenue report contains a feature article describing the current gambling industries of Illinois, and the numbers they generated in calendar year 2019. Illinois now has more than 33,000 video gaming terminals that generate net income of more than $1.6 billion/year. More than $400 million/year of this money goes to the State to help generate funds for capital and infrastructure reinvestment. Net income from video gaming terminals has now passed the adjusted gross receipts generated from game play at casino riverboat slot machines and table games.
As the spring legislative session got underway in Springfield last week, House Republicans once again are laser focused on ending corruption in state government. Assistant House Republican Leader Grant Wehrli and State Representative Patrick Windhorst talk about the need to end the corruption and unethical practices that have been plaguing Illinois.

Pullman Porters in Chicago, 1943.
South of downtown Chicago lies the city’s Pullman neighborhood. At its center is Illinois’ second National Park Service site: a monument to an effort to revolutionize the way companies and their employees lived and interacted. While it failed in its effort to create an ideal community for the company’s workers, Pullman did become an epicenter in both the labor and civil rights movements which changed the nation forever.

Born in New York in 1831, George Pullman was a builder from the start. His father worked on the Erie Canal and even invented a tool to use jackscrews to move entire buildings out of the canal’s path. When he died in 1853, young George picked up right where he left off, heading the family business and moving 20 more buildings to allow the canal to come through.
Governor Pritzker delivers State of the State address to Illinois General Assembly. In an annual tradition, a joint session of the General Assembly listened to the State of the State address by Gov. Pritzker on Wednesday, January 29th, where the Governor laid out his priorities for the 2020 spring sessio

Responding to recent federal investigations and charges against current and former legislators, Governor Pritzker called for swift action on ethics reform to end the culture of corruption.
As the defeated mass of soldiers in blue fell back in disarray, Congressman John A. Logan had seen enough.

Like many of the “great men of Washington,” the Illinois congressman had journeyed a few miles west of the nation’s capital city on a warm Sunday in July 1861 to watch what many had expected to be the one and only major battle of the American Civil War. The inexperienced U.S. Army had marched into Virginia to confront a ragtag group of rebels who were dug in along a creek called Bull Run. Many spectators expected an entertaining clash which would result in the suppression of the rebellion in a single afternoon.

They could not have been more wrong.
Federal and State Lawmakers Demand Accountability and Action to Preserve Integrity of Illinois Elections. With early and absentee voting set to start on February 6, U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis, and Illinois State Representatives Tim Butler, Avery Bourne, Mike Murphy, Dan Brady and C.D. Davidsmeyer are demanding accountability and immediate action to preserve the integrity of the March 17 primary election
Census Workers in 1960.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 
Two hundred years ago, Illinois participated in its first decennial census as one of the nation’s 24 states. Completed on the first Monday in August of 1820, it produced the first official snapshot of Illinois’ demographics as a state.

The Census was authorized by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, with the instruction that it take place “within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress,” which worked out to 1790, “and within every subsequent Term of ten Years.” It was originally spelled out in the Constitution as being necessary for the purposes of apportionment of seats in the population-based House of Representatives. With Illinois attaining statehood in 1818, its first census as a state would be conducted in 1820.
With early and absentee voting set to start on February 6, U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville), and Illinois State Representatives Tim Butler (R-Springfield), Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville), Mike Murphy (R-Springfield), Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) and CD Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville) are demanding accountability and immediate action to preserve the integrity of the March 17 primary election.

On December 18, 2019, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office notified the State Board of Elections that a “programming error” led to well over 500 non-citizens being registered to vote over a 17-month period. The letter was not made public until last week.
House Republicans continue to push for property tax relief despite Democrat-controlled task force failure. Illinois House Republicans will continue to fight this spring for property tax relief families need and deserve, despite the latest Democrat-controlled task force’s failure to deliver.

At a Capitol press conference this week, Representatives Dan Brady, Tim Butler, Mike Murphy and Tom Bennett said the final task force report was another missed opportunity, but won’t be the final word. 
Every January the Capitol building at 2nd and Monroe in Springfield sees an influx of people: legislators, staff, lobbyists, press and everyday Illinoisans who come to the grand old building to observe the workings of the Illinois General Assembly.

The building has stood since the late 19th-century, and has undergone a series of overhauls and rearrangements in its 150 years. All of this movement and renovation might inspire an old-timer (in some cases a really old-timer) to look at a certain spot in the Capitol and ask a question that begins with the words, “didn’t this used to be….”
Durkin calls for investigation after shocking email from Madigan confidant hints at rape cover-up, ghost payrolling. The call came following the disclosure that a powerful former lobbyist with close ties to House Speaker Michael Madigan, had sent an email to top officials in then-Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration referring to what appeared to be the cover-up of an incident of sexual assault.

In the 2012 email, then-lobbyist Michael McClain urged two top Quinn aides to avoid firing a state worker facing a disciplinary case by arguing that the worker had “kept his mouth shut on Jones’ ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other items.” 
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was among the most important pieces of legislation passed in the 20th Century, or perhaps in all of American history. The effort to pass the law was driven by some of the towering figures of the 1960s: Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House, Hubert Humphrey in the Senate and Dr. Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

But its passage would ultimately come down to a rather unlikely figure, the bespectacled, eminently-quotable senator from Illinois, Everett McKinley Dirksen.