ETHICS
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin Calls for Madigan’s Immediate Resignation, New Vote for Speaker of the House. Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin released the following statement regarding the call for Speaker Madigan’s immediate resignation and has filed House Resolution 885 to remove Madigan from the position of Speaker of the House:

“The federal charges outlined in the ComEd prosecution highlight a scheme solely for the benefit of Speaker Madigan. These facts are a disgrace of the highest level to the citizens of Illinois and to the institution of which we serve, the Illinois House of Representatives.
Photo by Eric Douglas/Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 
As these hot summer months drag on, many Illinoisans might be thinking of cooler locales. Eighty-five years ago, an Illinoisan named Lincoln Ellsworth took this idea to the extreme when he and his co-pilot Herbert Hollick-Kenyon of Canada became the first men to complete a flight across Antarctica.

Lincoln Ellsworth was born into a wealthy Chicago family in 1880. His father was among the city’s leading businessmen and even built one of Chicago’s first skyscrapers. He grew up in the opulent surroundings common to the well-to-do of the Victorian era, including a Michigan Avenue home with a large library full of stories of explorers and adventurers. The young man soon discovered a hunger for adventure that extended beyond studying the exploits of others. Instead, he sought to explore those spots on the globe which had not yet been written about in his books.
No Room for Error in our Right to Free and Fair Elections
by State Representative Amy Grant, 42nd District

State government bureaucracy doesn’t have a great reputation for efficiency, but in recent months we’ve seen lapses in the administration of state government that are unacceptable. When it comes to our most basic rights, like the right to free and fair elections, there is no room for error.
The Governor announced new guidance restricting youth and adult recreational organized sports in Illinois. That includes school-based sports such as those governed by the IHSA and IES, travel clubs, private leagues, recreational leagues and sports centers and Park District sports programs. Restrictions issued today do not include professional sports leagues, or collegiate level sports. The new restrictions go into effect in mid-August.

The guidance was developed in coordination with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
ETHICS REFORM
House Republicans demand action on ethics reform. The past twelve months have seen several bombshell revelations about key leaders and former members of the Illinois General Assembly. In October 2019, longtime Chicago Representative Luis Arroyo was charged with conduct that involved political bribery. In January, former Senate Transportation Committee chairperson Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty to federal charges of bribery and tax fraud. Now in July, a federal grand jury subpoena is enforcing a look by law enforcement at the office papers of the Speaker of the House, Michael J. Madigan. 
Photo from Forest Citys Baseball. 
This weekend Major League Baseball will finally begin its coronavirus-delayed 2020 season. After cancelling more than half the season and the All-Star Game, baseball also lost its 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which would have occurred this weekend in Cooperstown, New York. Instead, the ceremony will be postponed until the same weekend next year, when Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker will be inducted into the Hall.

They will join Illinois stars like Ernie Banks and Frank Thomas in the baseball shrine in the rolling hills of upstate New York. The Hall is located in this small, out-of-the-way community thanks to the efforts of two men who died long before its creation: Abner Doubleday, who is credited with inventing the game of baseball on a field near Cooperstown, and the Illinoisan Albert Goodwill Spalding who credited him with doing so.
Illinois State Representatives Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst), and Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) held a video press conference on Tuesday to demand Governor JB Pritzker call the General Assembly into special session to pass badly needed ethics reforms. The calls for reform came on the heels of news that House Speaker Michael Madigan is implicated in a deferred prosecution agreement unveiled Friday.
Michael J. Madigan is the longest-serving leader of any state legislative body in the history of the United States. He has served as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives for 35 of the last 37 years and has amassed enormous power in Illinois politics. As chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party and Speaker of the House of Representatives he unilaterally controls the agenda in Springfield. His influence has kept many people silent when they should have spoken out. That needs to change.
Total Reopening Nowhere in Sight
by State Representative Dan Brady, 105th District

We have now entered Phase 4 of Gov. Pritzker’s gradual reopening plan for our state, and the restored freedoms for our families and businesses are certainly needed now to get our communities well on the road to recovery.
James Cornish probably did not know he was about to play a role in the making of history when he arrived at Chicago’s Provident Hospital on July 10, 1893. Chances are he wasn’t much interested in what history books would say, suffering as he was from a severe stab wound to his chest. His life would be saved that day by a trailblazing physician performing a first-of-its-kind surgery.
It’s Time for Hearings, Audits, and Answers
by State Representative Avery Bourne, 95th District

It has been nearly 100 days and 40 Executive Orders since Governor Pritzker issued the first stay home order. The initial intention of the order – to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed – was a goal we all shared. Many sacrifices were made. All of this was done with the assurance that once we did our part to flatten the curve, we could slowly and safely reopen.
COVID-19
“Phase 4” in Illinois. With coronavirus case counts going up in many states, worries are spreading in Illinois. An upsurge in COVID-19 could force the State to retreat from its current “Phase 4” status, which has allowed the resumption of many Illinois activities such as nonessential retail store activity, socially distanced indoor dining, and swimming pool use.
Photo from the National Road Association of Illinois. 
A visitor to Illinois from the east coast has many easy and convenient ways of reaching the Land of Lincoln. Daily flights from points up and down the coast deliver passengers to Illinois airports around the clock. Direct Amtrak service connects Illinois with New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, and seven east-west interstate highways and countless smaller roads bring travelers across Illinois’ eastern border somewhere between Lake Michigan and the state’s southern tip.

Two hundred years ago it was not so easy. Before construction began on one of the nation’s first large-scale public works projects in 1806, the frontier on the far bank of the Wabash was about as hard to reach as the cities on the far shore of the Atlantic.
The deadline to apply for the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) is 5 p.m. today, July 7.

The state is providing $60 million in the first round to businesses experiencing extreme hardship as a result of COVID-19 related closures in the form of $10k and $20k grants. An Additional $210 million is allocated for future rounds.

The first round is open to Bars and Restaurants, Fitness Centers, Barbershops and Salons, and nearly all small businesses in zip codes that experienced property damage from civil unrest. 

The Votes We Didn’t Take in May
by State Representative Grant Wehrli, 41st District

Lawmakers considered a mixed bag of legislation during our four-day session in May. Some measures, like legislation that provides for the automatic rollover of certain property taxpayer exemptions (senior, senior assessment freeze,
William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, and Robert Todd Lincoln
at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922. 
Standing outside the Temple of Music concert hall at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in September 1901, the former U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain must have noticed the sudden commotion coming from inside. Soon the news passed through the crowd: President William McKinley had been shot and seriously wounded by a would-be assassin. He died a few days later.

The moment must have brought back a torrent of terrible memories for the retired diplomat. Twenty years earlier, while serving as Secretary of War, he had been at the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad station in Washington with President James A. Garfield when another assassin had struck. Sixteen years before that, he had been hastily summoned from the White House to his dying father’s bedside in the Petersen House across the street from Washington DC’s Ford’s Theater in the wake of America’s first Presidential assassination.

That day in Buffalo was just another tragic turn in the life of Robert Todd Lincoln.
Nearly 25% of people over 65 years of age still need to file their 2019 income taxes, which are due on Wednesday, July 15.

While most Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP Tax-Aide programs, which provided free basic income tax return assistance, have suspended service due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Department on Aging wants seniors to know that the following options are available at no charge to assist them with their 2019 tax returns:
COVID-19
All Regions of Illinois Move to Phase 4 on June 26. All four Restore Illinois health regions have met the IDPH health benchmarks to advance into Phase 4. Metrics include reductions of positivity rate and hospital admissions and availability of hospital surge capacity.

On a statewide level, Illinois flattened the curve, passed the peak and saw a sustained decline in key metrics since the coronavirus pandemic began. Looking at 7-day rolling averages - which smooth out daily fluctuations and allow trends to emerge - Illinois is seeing marked declines in cases, deaths, case positivity and Covid-related hospitalizations.
The application for Business Interruption Grants (BIG) is currently available for review by businesses seeking assistance. Applications will be accepted between June 26 through July 7, 2020.

In the first round of grants, the state has allocated $60 million for businesses experiencing extreme hardship as a result of COVID-19 related closures. Up to $20,000 per business will be awarded for eligible applicants.
It might not come as a surprise to learn that a phrase which has been around American politics for a century; a phrase which has come to symbolize secret, backroom political deals; has its origin here in Illinois.

This year millions of Americans went to the polls during the late winter and spring to choose their party’s Presidential nominees. Just as they did four years ago and every four years going back for as long as most of us can remember.

But it wasn’t always that way.
COVID-19
Push for “Phase 4” reopening. Under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, restaurants, bars and taverns will be allowed to reopen their indoor facilities under conditions of social distancing. Schools and universities will be allowed to make plans for reopening in fall 2020. Health and fitness clubs, gyms and swimming pools will be allowed to reopen under strict guidelines. Many Illinois residents have been laid off from jobs that are associated with these workplaces, and the Illinois unemployment rate has spiked to more than 15 percent. The move to Phase 4 is currently scheduled to begin on Friday, June 26.
It had taken three years for the news to travel from Washington to Texas, but it had finally arrived.

President Abraham Lincoln had called his Cabinet together in July 1862 and informed them that he intended to issue an Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all then-enslaved persons in the Confederate states to be “thenceforward and forever free.” The Proclamation was issued in September just after the Union victory at the battle of Antietam, and took effect to much fanfare in the north on January 1, 1863.

But in those areas of the south still controlled by Confederate forces, the news did not spread so quickly. As Union armies marched through the south, they carried copies of the Proclamation with them, announcing the joyous news at every stop, months or sometimes years after its issue by the President. With Grant’s victory at Appomattox, and the cascading effect of surrenders of other rebel armies throughout the south, Union forces began arriving to restore United States authority in many parts of the seceded states.
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is reminding taxpayers that state individual income tax returns and payments are due July 15, the same date set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for federal returns. Taxpayers who have yet to file their 2019 state individual income tax returns must act by July 15 to avoid penalties and interest. The Governor extended the tax filing season three months from the normal due date of April 15 to help Illinois taxpayers experiencing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Illinois residents who are new drivers or have expired driver’s licenses or ID cards  can now preregister online to apply/renew their driver’s licenses and ID cards. This is in an effort to reduce the processing time of transactions at Driver Services facilities.

Customers may go to www.cyberdriveillinois.com to access the preregistration application for driver’s licenses and ID cards and input specific information regarding their upcoming transaction. As a result, once the customer visits a Driver Services facility, the clerk will not have to enter all of the data like a change of address or a change of height and weight into the electronic application form because the customer has already updated the information. This will improve the efficiency of these transactions.
COVID-19
Continued progress towards “Phase 4” reopening. Phase 4 of the State’s “Restore Illinois” plan will allow the limited reopening of restaurants and bars. Schools and universities will be allowed to reopen with social distancing. Health and fitness clubs, swimming pools, and other public facilities will be allowed to reopen under strict guidelines. The movement to Phase 4 is made necessary by the fact that many Illinoisans have jobs that depend on these activities, and that a growing number of Illinois residents now understand the danger of this virus and how to protect themselves and others from transmitting or catching it.
The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) has extended the deadline for accepting nominations for the 2020 Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame Awards to August 31, 2020.  These awards recognize adults, 65 years of age and older, and highlight the meaningful contributions they have made in Illinois.

Award nominations are being accepted for the following categories:
Some sporting figures just endure for generations. A hundred years after he played, if you ask who the greatest baseball player who ever lived was, you’ll probably hear a mention of Babe Ruth. If you ask about the greatest track star, someone will likely put forth Jesse Owens. In Illinois, although there are a great many candidates, if you are looking for the name of the greatest football star, you’re sure to hear about Red Grange.

A legend at the University of Illinois a century ago, and then in the early days of the Chicago Bears, Red Grange earned the nickname “the Galloping Ghost” for his ability to elude the grasp of defenders who might as well have been grabbing at thin air.
PUBLIC SAFETY
Protests and looting break out; state of emergency declared in fifteen Illinois counties. The declaration followed numerous statewide incidents of looting in the wake of protests. While these protests were sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, many voices are now being raised concerning the overall state of race relations in the United States. The disaster declaration accompanied the deployment of hundreds of National Guard troops to strategic locations throughout Illinois. 
The State of Illinois is opening its community-based testing sites to anyone to get tested, regardless of symptoms or other criteria. As we move through the Restore Illinois plan, and into a full reopening of the state, testing will be crucial to identifying new cases and taking immediate action to prevent additional spread.

No appointment, doctor referral, or insurance is needed at state operated drive-thru sites and testing is available at no cost to the individual.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is recommending anyone who has recently been part of a mass gathering, including rallies and protests over the past week, get tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The virus has been found to spread between people up to a couple days before people start showing symptoms. Because of this, the number of people an infected person could unknowingly expose can be exponential.

A list of public and private testing sites can be found on the IDPH website at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/testing.
Severe weather is always a threat in the spring and summer months and it is important to be prepared and have a plan in place to protect your family.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) recommends a few new items be included in your emergency supply kit, including face coverings for every member of your family, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Other items to include in a basic emergency supply kit are: water, food, NOAA weather radio, flashlight, batteries, phone charger, and prescription medications. A complete list can be found online at www.ready.gov/kit.

IEMA offers severe weather preparedness information on the Ready Illinois website, a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters. To help Illinois residents prepare for severe weather season, IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide that covers flooding, severe weather terms and tips for staying safe.
Captain Daniel V. Gallery, Jr. and Lieutenant Junior Grade Albert L. David.
Photographed on board USS Guadalcanal, June 1944. 
When America entered World War II, a menace lurked off the nation’s east coast. German submarines, called U-boats, had been stalking British and other allied shipping in the North Atlantic since the outset of the war, and upon America’s formal entry into the European war these fearsome warships were sinking American ships, some within sight of the U.S. coast.

One of these U-boats was U-505, a Type IX-C submarine which entered service in the German Navy in 1941. U-505 had an effective first year, attacking and sinking allied shipping off the coast of West Africa and in the Caribbean Sea. The loss of thousands of tons of shipping and cargo to the torpedoes and gunfire from these submarines threatened to starve the British into submission and strangle the war effort.

Something had to be done.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Illinois General Assembly meets in special session. The May 2020 special session, which partially replaced the abbreviated spring 2020 session, was held in Springfield under conditions of coronavirus social distancing. Instead of meeting in its traditional State Capitol chambers, the Illinois House of Representatives convened at the Bank of Springfield Center, a convention center on in downtown Springfield. The convention hall, a spacious location, allocated square footage for all House members. Support personnel set up separated desks and voting pads for their use. In addition, all of the House members were required to wear facemasks and were strongly advised to undergo COVID-19 testing before the start of the session. In addition, House members were be advised to self-quarantine for up 7 days after the end of the session. The Illinois House met in Springfield starting on Wednesday, May 20, through Saturday, May 23.
Two of the men who tried to steal Abraham Lincoln's body,
Jack Hughes (left) and Terrence Mullins (right). Photos from the
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.
It was early on the sad morning of May 3, 1865, when a nine-car train, draped in mourning and carrying the bodies of the murdered President Abraham Lincoln and that of his son Willie who had died in Washington three years earlier, at long last reached Lincoln’s adopted hometown of Springfield. The train had carried the body of the Great Emancipator on a two-week, 1600 mile journey through the north, finally arriving in Springfield for his burial.

After a two-day funeral in the state’s capitol building, Lincoln was carried by a hearse to Oak Ridge Cemetery, north of downtown, to what was intended to be his final resting place. A temporary vault held the President’s remains while his more ornate tomb was completed. It was expected that this was where Lincoln would lay in repose permanently, but within a decade a band of Chicago thieves had made other plans.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 
Six weeks after the surrender at Appomattox, the Union soldiers who had triumphed in the Civil War participated in a two-day victory parade through the nation’s capital city. This Grand Review of the Armies lasted for two days and was attended by top northern leaders, from the President on down. It included soldiers from the eastern army on its first day and the western army on its second, May 24, 1865. Included among both groups, but more so the second, were thousands of soldiers from Illinois who had worn the blue uniform and done their part to save the republic.
Today the Illinois House of Representatives convened at the Bank of Springfield Center in downtown Springfield to resume the 2020 spring legislative session that was paused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first meeting of the House since March 5, and its first meeting at a site other than the Capitol building at 2nd and Monroe (with the exception of the biennial inauguration ceremony at Sangamon Auditorium) in more than a decade. The fall veto session of 2006 and the opening of the 2007 spring session were held at the Old State Capitol in Springfield due to renovation work in the House chamber.

The House was forced out of the chamber it has called home since 1877 due to the coronavirus outbreak and the need for enough space to conduct business and still be accessible to the public, all while observing social distancing guidelines.

The day began with a press conference by House Republicans calling for a legislative vote on the Governor's Reopen Illinois plan. Members expressed their concern with the lack of local input in the Governor's initiative and lack of legislative involvement in major policy decisions affecting their constituents. Read more about the press conference.

Shortly after the historic session began at the Bank of Springfield Center, the administration withdrew its Emergency Rule that would have imposed a Class A Misdemeanor on owners of small businesses who were out of compliance with the Governor's Stay-at-Home Order. The controversial provision had evoked considerable public outcry and pushback by House Republicans who felt the Governor had overstepped his authority.

At his 2:30 press conference, the Governor announced that on May 29, the state would be moving into Phase 3 of his Restore Illinois plan allowing gatherings of 10 or fewer people, possible outdoor seating at restaurants, and the opening of gyms for personal training among other openings. Read more about Phase 3.

The House is due to take up the state budget in the coming days.



COVID-19
The Illinois General Assembly and the re-opening of the state. The Illinois House and Senate will reconvene in Springfield on Wednesday, May 20. The House will move its meeting location from the historic House chamber in the Illinois State Capitol to the 7,700-seat Bank of Springfield Center in downtown Springfield. Meeting in the convention hall will allow all 118 House members to gather while maintaining social distancing.  
While the seat of state government at 2nd and Monroe in Springfield has been closed to visitors since mid-March by the coronavirus outbreak, residents and visitors to the capital city still have the Capitol building and its distinctive dome as a familiar sight on Springfield’s cityscape.

It won’t be long before legislators and members of the public once again gather beneath the dome. They will be keeping alive a long tradition: for nearly 150 years, the dome of the Illinois State Capitol building has welcomed visitors and residents alike as they arrive in the capital city.
COVID-19
House Republicans propose safe economic recovery plan. The next phase of combating the global COVID-19 pandemic is to repair the economic devastation it has wrought in its wake. It is a monumental effort that will only be successful if Legislative and Executive branches work together. The Illinois General Assembly is a separate but co-equal branch of government. We strongly believe it is the responsibility of legislators to work with the Executive branch to implement a plan to re-open Illinois’ economy on a safe, responsible, and regional basis.
Tonight Illinois and the rest of the nation will be lit by a full moon, which some believe can be a harbinger of strange occurrences. In thousands of years of Illinois history, it is not hard to find a good-sized collection of unusual and unexplainable places and events. Some of these curious tales and unique places have been studied and explored, while many of those which remain unexplained are compiled in Troy Taylor’s 2005 book Weird Illinois.
State Reps. Dan Swanson and Dave Swanson describe how the legislature is taking on Lyme Disease, a tick borne disease affecting thousands of Illinoisans.





COVID-19
Modified stay-at-home order begins. The new order covers the month of May and will be in place until May 30. The new order put in place this week requires all individuals to wear a mask in any public place where a six-foot social distance cannot be maintained. Essential businesses and manufacturers are now required to provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain social distancing of six feet from other people.
Illinois has hosted more political party nominating conventions than any other state. From brokered conventions held during times of national turmoil, such as the Republican meeting at the Chicago Wigwam in 1860, to quiet times where the outcome was known long in advance, such as the Democrats’ gathering at the United Center in 1996, Illinois has seen all kinds of political gatherings.

The violence and chaos of the 1968 assembly is probably the most frequently recalled, but for sheer drama and fury, none match the raucous 1912 Republican convention which led to the formation of a new political party and an election with three different Presidents listed on the ballot.
Illinois House Republicans are asking for more transparency and open communications from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the Pritzker administration on policy changes and communications regarding prison furloughs or inmates released early during the coronavirus pandemic.

State Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville), whose district includes correctional centers in Taylorville and Hillsboro, said inmates released into her district include high-level drug and meth dealers.
COVID-19
Gov. Pritzker modifies and extends Stay at Home Order through May. Governor JB Pritzker announced Thursday that he will sign a modified version of the state's stay at home order that will go into effect on May 1 to continue the life-saving progress made over the last month while also allowing residents additional flexibility in the safest way possible.

In conjunction with Thursday's announcement, the Governor released modeling put together by top academic institutions and researchers in Illinois that predicts the course of coronavirus in the state over the coming months. On our current trajectory, the state is projected to see a peak or plateau of deaths per day between late April and early May, but if the stay at home order were lifted this week, the model anticipates a second wave of the outbreak in Illinois starting in May, which would claim tens of thousands of lives and greatly exceed the state's hospital capacity.
A new modified Stay-at-Home order goes into effect on May 1 in Illinois. The new provisions include the following changes to the current order:

FACE COVERINGS: Beginning on May 1, individuals will be required to wear a face-covering or a mask when in a public place where they can’t maintain a six-foot social distance. Face-coverings will be required in public indoor spaces, such as stores. This new requirement applies to all individuals over the age of two who are able to medically tolerate a face-covering or a mask.
Recovered Mail Bags from Rondout Train Robbery.
Photo from the Cook Memorial Public Library. 
Old westerns are filled with tales of masked bandits of the 19th-century robbing trains and stagecoaches as they traveled across the frontier. But it might surprise you to learn that the largest train robbery in American history didn’t happen in the 1800s, and it wasn’t in the old west. It happened here in Illinois in 1924.

Banks throughout the upper Midwest depended on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to supply them with the cash they needed to operate. This cash was placed on heavily-guarded trains which then carried it to small towns and big cities across the northern plains. Such was the plan on June 12, 1924.
We are still learning about the coronavirus, but we know that it is zoonotic, and it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations.

Recently two cats in New York have been reported to be diagnosed with the virus. Additionally, the CDC is aware of a very small number of pets, including dogs and cats, outside the United States reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after close contact with people with COVID-19. To date, there is no evidence that pets can spread the virus to people.
Illinois House Republicans discussed an array of proposals and ideas on ways to safely re-open Illinois during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of these proposals include a safe, responsible re-opening of hospital systems, essential retail operations resuming online or curbside pick-up and the re-opening of state parks. State Rep. Mark Batinick has been a vocal advocate for increasing the use of personal protective equipment. With safety in mind, Batinick says it is time to revise current restrictions and make plans for a first-phase reopening of Illinois’ economy. 
COVID-19
Illinois schools to remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Governor JB Pritzker announced Friday that in-person learning in schools will not resume during the 2019-2020 school year, with remote learning days to continue for all pre-k through 12th grade students.

"I've said time and time again, our decisions must follow the science and the science says our students can't go back to their normal routine this school year," said Governor Pritzker. "Over the last month, Illinois' schools have stepped up and faced the many challenges of COVID-19 with generosity, creativity, and a resolute focus on caring for students, parents and communities. I am confident that our schools will manage and expand the learning opportunities for all our children who will be working from home over the coming weeks."
COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown has caused economic hardship for many Illinoisans. If you are facing tough economic times please know you are not alone and there are programs out there to help. Below is a list of some of the programs available to help with utilities, mortgages and student loans.

Utility Providers
The IL Commerce Commission (ICC) ordered that each Illinois gas, electric distribution, water, and sewer utility shall design and implement on a temporary basis more flexible credit and collections procedures and file them for consideration and approval to ensure that customers remain connected to essential utility services when the emergency status ends.