Phase 5; Map Lawsuit; Session to Reconvene; State Fairs

Illinois Moves into Phase 5

After a year of lockdowns and heavy restrictions, Illinois will now move into Phase 5 of the state’s reopening plan. This is the final phase and allows the full reopening of businesses and eliminates capacity limits on businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, and all other venues. 

Life is finally officially moving to normal, and I am pleased that we have reached this point. I urge caution and recommend staying home if you are feeling unwell. And continue to use good hygiene practices. While we are now fully open, some businesses and municipalities can set their own requirements. Be sure to understand what restrictions may be in place when you’re out and about.

You can see the Illinois Department of Public Health’s updated guidelines here.

Republican Leaders File Lawsuit over Maps

On Wednesday Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Illinois Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the legislative maps drawn and passed by Illinois Democrats in the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker. The suit argues that the use of inaccurate and incomplete American Community Survey data instead of correct U.S. Census figures violates federal law and the “one person, one vote” principle of the Constitution. Those figures are expected by August.

If the legislature is not able to produce a map by June 30, the Illinois Constitution requires an evenly divided commission to be appointed to draw the maps in a transparent, bipartisan, and independent process. The lawsuit asks a federal judge to require the House Speaker and Senate President to make their appointments to the commission, something which the two Republican leaders have already pledged to do.

I will update you on the progress of this suit as news develops.

House Called to Reconvene Session Wednesday

On Wednesday, June 16, the House of Representatives will be called back into session to take on a small number of leftover items that were not completed by the May 31st adjournment. The largest of these items concerns energy legislation. In particular, working out an agreement that will keep four of Illinois’ six nuclear power plants open.  Illinoisans have a strong interest in the maintenance of a stable, reliable supply of electric power. Despite new innovations in the fields of solar cells and windmill electricity, Illinois homes and workplaces need a solid supply of continuous generating capacity that exists independently of the time of day or unpredictable weather conditions. Nuclear provides that.

Illinois State Fairs set to Return

Our two fairgrounds, in Springfield and Du Quoin, will once again welcome people from all states to be a part of Illinois life and culture.  During the summer of 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic was worsening, and no state fair activities could be held.  

The fairs celebrate the culture and agricultural background of Illinois, with an emphasis on music and heritage.  The Illinois State Fair, in Springfield, will be held from August 12 through August 22, 2021.  The Grandstand line-up will include Toby Keith, Sammy Hagar, the “I Love the 90’s” Tour, and George Thorogood. 

The Du Quoin State Fair will be held from August 27 through September 6.  Grandstand acts will include REO Speedwagon, En Vogue, Ludacris, Jamey Johnson, and comedian Ron White.