COVID-19

New numbers show “second wave” of viral transmission in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has now reported results from more than 7.0 million coronavirus tests performed in Illinois as of Thursday, October 22. Slightly more than 5% of these tests have come back positive, with more than 360,000 confirmed cases reported.

On two separate days over the past seven-day period, on Friday, October 16 and again on Thursday, October 22, new positive cases have passed 4,500 per day. The count of positives cases was 4,554 on October 16, and was 4,942 on October 22. Both counts were records for a 24-hour period in Illinois. 
The Federal Aviation Administration assigns every airport in the country a three-letter identification code. This abbreviation is useful shorthand for flight scheduling and also for simpler conversation. Usually these codes are tied to the name of the city, like Miami’s MIA or Dallas-Fort Worth’s DFW. Sometimes cities with multiple airports have an abbreviation which helps distinguish one local airport from another, like New York’s JFK or Washington-Dulles’ IAD.
Rep. Mike Marron discusses legislative action from the 2019 and 2020 sessions, lays out his legislative priorities going forward, and reviews what he's learned in his first term as 104th District State Representative.

Rep. Marron is a native of rural Fithian, in Vermilion County, is a family farmer, and previously served as Vermilion County Board Chairman.
The Illinois General Assembly enacted new statutory provisions in an attempt to protect voters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Legislature amended the Election Code to expand access to mail-in voting and make other changes that are designed to ensure that Illinois voters do not have to choose between their health and their right to vote in the 2020 General Election. The Illinois Attorney General has put together the following information to answer questions and provide general guidance to Illinois voters:
ETHICS

As election approaches, taxpayer-funded ethics reform commission falls silent. The Illinois taxpayer money that funds the General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform was used to hold hearings and gather evidence on the current state of pay-to-play politics in Illinois. The Commission, which is staffed by taxpayer-funded public sector employees, was created in the wake of serious allegations made against lobbyists and members of the General Assembly – including politicians who have resigned from office under federal indictment.
The Illinois Secretary of State has established a new email service available to members of the public who need information on reinstating driving privileges, obtaining driving relief or scheduling an administrative hearing. Individuals who have a driver’s license suspension or revocation or any other loss of driving privileges can send an email to adminhearings@ilsos.gov.

Once an email is received by the office, a response will be sent within three days. The response will include whether a hearing is necessary, the type of hearing needed and the documents that may be required at a future hearing. Administrative hearings are still required to be held in person.

For more information on the service, please visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com.
Illinois State Arsenal under construction, 1902.
Photo from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. 
For as long as there have been armed forces there have been arsenals, facilities to store and secure weapons and ammunition. For obvious reasons these facilities are generally well-built and well-protected. A lucky hit on one of them by an enemy in battle could wreck an entire fort, or sink a powerful warship. Over the centuries, warring armies have expended enormous effort and tons of artillery or aerial bombs to destroy these high-value targets.

One Sunday night in February 1934 in Springfield all it took was a ten-year old with some matches and a paper bag.
ETHICS

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin Says Time’s Up for Democrats: Demand Answers from Madigan or Call for His Resignation. Charging that Democrats “pulled the plug” on the investigation of Mike Madigan for political motives, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin on Thursday called on Gov. JB Pritzker and House Democrats to “demand answers from the speaker or demand his resignation.” 
The scene at Chicago’s Dearborn Station on May 3, 1932, was not unlike that observed on most days. As a particular train readied to pull out of the station, bound for Nashville, Atlanta and ultimately Miami, a crowd of onlookers had gathered to bid goodbye to passengers on board. But on this occasion the departure was different in at least one sense. The scene included two men who, while enormously famous due in large part to each other, had just met in person for the first and only time.

Aboard the train, headed for the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, was the gangster Al Capone. Watching from the station was the U.S. Treasury agent who had put him there: Eliot Ness.
State Representative Tom Demmer who serves as the minority spokesperson on the Special Investigating Committee II, released the following statement:

“At last week’s meeting of the Special Investigating Committee, a motion to subpoena key witnesses was ruled out of order by Chairman Welch, and no vote of the committee was taken. After the meeting, we sent copies of the requested subpoenas to Chairman Welch for his review. Still now, a week later, he has not responded nor issued any subpoenas.
The suicide rate for farmers is higher than all other occupations. Rep. Norine Hammond and a group of lawmakers from around the country and Canada are working together to address issues directly impacting the agriculture community, including farmer suicide.

Rep. Hammond is passionate about supporting the agricultural community and discusses the issue of farmer suicide in this episode of Leading Voices.

Learn more about Rep. Hammond: norinehammond.org
ETHICS
House Special Investigating Committee questions ComEd about Madigan bribery scheme; former ComEd VP pleads guilty in federal court. An executive from Commonwealth Edison, Chicago’s largest electric utility, testified to the Committee on Tuesday, September 29, on admissions that ComEd had engaged in a multi-year bribery scheme to influence Public Official A (Speaker Michael J. Madigan) with jobs and a board seat for Madigan associates.
In recognition of  National Women's Small Business Month, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) recently announced it will host a series of webinars to support the advancement of women-owned businesses. The discussions scheduled by DCEO and a host of industry partners, including Groupon, will offer support and insights for small businesses to grow, position themselves, and seek out resources that will help them overcome the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Granger Movement Promotional Poster, ca. 1873.
Library of Congress
Agriculture has been the backbone of Illinois’ economy from the very start. Whether it is farming itself, the manufacturing of farm equipment, or the transport, storage and sale of farm commodities, the agricultural sector has been a dominant part of Illinois’ economy for its entire history.

Just after the Civil War Illinois farmers were struggling. The farm economy had been hit with several challenges all at once. Soldiers returning from the war expected their jobs back, while new competition was coming from homesteaders arriving in the plains states west of the Mississippi. This all created new rivals for markets and eventually led to overproduction of corn and wheat. All the while, the post-war revolution in farm machinery compelled farmers to buy new equipment or risk falling behind.