All Illinois residents required to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. On Thursday, Governor JB Pritzker announced a statewide indoor mask mandate for all Illinois residents, regardless of vaccination status, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates continue to increase. The masking requirements are effective Monday, August 30th.

Governor Pritzker also announced vaccination requirements for individuals in high risk settings. All healthcare workers, including nursing home employees, all pre-k-12 teachers and staff, as well as higher education personnel and students will now be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees in all of these settings and higher education students who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least once per week, and IDPH and ISBE may require increased testing in certain situations.  
Does Chicago owe its picturesque skyline to a birdcage?

By the late 1800s cities in the United States and around the world were running out of real estate. Some were hemmed in by waterways or other geographic obstructions and could not expand horizontally. Others had ample space but could not extend infrastructure fast enough to support an ever-growing physical space. Some just faced pressures to get as much rentable real estate as close to the central business district as possible.

To one degree or another, Chicago faced all three challenges.
U.S. Census Bureau Counts Confirm that Democrats’ Redistricting Plan is Unconstitutional and Unlawful.
The official 2020 decennial counts released by the U.S. Census Bureau on August 12 confirm that the Democrats’ redistricting plan, HB 2777, violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law, as well as comparable provisions of the Illinois Constitution. Accordingly, no lawful redistricting plan was effective on June 30, 2021. The Illinois Constitution is clear that responsibility for the plan has shifted to the bipartisan Legislative Redistricting Commission.
Illinois is many things, but first and foremost we are an agricultural state. Agriculture built Illinois; whether it is the small family farmer, the truck driver who delivers their products, the tractor factory employee or those who work at the Chicago Board of Trade, agriculture touches every part of Illinois’ economy and remains the state’s largest industry.

Geography plays an important part in that history. Our state happens to sit atop some of the most fertile farmland in the entire world and the development of the nation’s transportation infrastructure put us right at the crossroads of the continent.

Illinois population numbers released, confirming that Illinois will lose one congressional seat. Actual 2020 Census numbers (rather than computer-generated statistical estimates) were released this week. While the overall U.S. population grew by 7.4% between 2010 and 2020, Illinois’ population actually fell slightly. As a result, Illinois will lose one of its 18 congressional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Slow economic growth and poor governmental policies were blamed for Illinois’ poor Census showing. Illinois sharply underperformed population growth patterns posted in neighboring states such as Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. In contrast to Illinois, none of these four states will be required to give up congressional seats in Washington.

By the late 1880s Illinois was booming. The dark days of the early 1870s, with the Chicago Fire and a nationwide economic recession, were fading into memory as farmers produced bigger crops each year and railroads brought commerce and opportunity to cities and towns throughout the state.

This newfound prosperity and interconnectedness also provided an opportunity for recreation which had been unheard of for working class Illinoisans just a few decades earlier. With a little money in their pocket and a nearby rail connection to any point in the country, many Illinoisans were taking their first long-distance vacations during the decade of the 1880s.

Governor Pritzker imposes mask mandate on schools, long-term care facilities. As COVID-19 infection rates across the state continue to increase and with a number of school districts not yet adopting CDC guidance on masking, Governor JB Pritzker and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced this week that masks will be required for students, teachers, and staff at pre-kindergarten-12th grade schools and day cares across the state. The new requirement formalizes CDC guidance released in July on universal masking for both unvaccinated and vaccinated people in schools to ensure a safe return to classrooms. 

There are a lot of things that make Illinois unique. Throughout history state leaders have sought to showcase some of the distinctive elements of Illinois by granting them official status as a state symbol.

Certain symbols are necessary for the functions of government, like the state seal for official documents. Others are so common that it is hard to imagine not having one, such as our state flag. Some of our most well-known state symbols came to receive official recognition in the early 20th century thanks to the work of citizens groups who, for example, helped designate our state tree and state bird.