SPRINGFIELD — In the final days of the legislative session, lawmakers passed bills to allow for college sports betting, to phase out isolation and seclusion practices at school, and to create more affordable housing units.

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SPRINGFIELD — Illinois became the first state Sunday to pass a bill that will ban police from lying to youth during interrogations — a practice that adds significantly to the risk of false confessions and wrongful convictions. It is expected to be signed into law by the governor in coming weeks.

SPRINGFIELD – Largely on partisan lines, lawmakers passed an omnibus elections bill Monday that would push back the date of the 2022 primary elections amid other major changes to the state’s election code.

CHAMPAIGN – Cooler weather led to a decline in soil temperatures in the first half of May, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

SPRINGFIELD – Leaders from the state’s tourism and hospitality industry asked legislators for additional support and reopening guidance during a Thursday committee hearing as the state plans next steps for its COVID-19 economic recovery.

Two drivers were injured and a passenger is dead following an accident in Effingham County early Sunday morning, according to Illinois State Police.

SPRINGFIELD — Two former Illinois state senators have a “clear right” to receive portions of their legislative salaries that were withheld by Illinois Comptroller Mendoza and her predecessors, a Cook County judge decided last week.

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency was forced to adapt quickly to a new role when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit last year, and the agency’s director told a legislative committee that more work needs to be done to prepare for the event of another statewide disaster.

SPRINGFIELD – A measure to end qualified immunity as a legal defense for law enforcement officers advanced out of the House Restorative Justice Committee at a Thursday hearing.

The grumbles of losing an hour of sleep in March give way to the joy of gaining an hour of sleep in November each year in Illinois. However, if some state lawmakers have their way, the annual ritual of moving clocks will end.

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday the opening of a new mass vaccination site in Aurora that will be focused on equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to the Black community as supply increases.

SPRINGFIELD – A House committee agreed Wednesday to continue working on a bill that aims to end the use of physical restraints and isolation as a way of controlling misbehaving students in public school classrooms.

EFFINGHAM — An Effingham County Circuit Court judge found probable cause Thursday for three additional counts against a Mason man charged with the murder of a Paris woman last year.

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SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Republican Party Central Committee on Saturday named Springfield attorney Don Tracy as its new chairman, replacing Tim Schneider, who had held the post for more than six years.

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The Effingham Water Authority has finalized a lease agreement with the group, Friends of Camp Wassatoga. The lease gives the group control of Camp Wassatoga, a former Girl Scout camp.

A preliminary investigation indicates that a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Michael W. Mattox, 60, of Dundas, was traveling westbound on West North Avenue approaching South West Street in Olney, IL. The vehicle proceeded through the intersection and ran off roadway on the northwest corner where it struck the outdoor patio portion of the Deuce’s Wild Saloon, according to police. Two female pedestrians standing on the patio were struck by the vehicle and were pronounced deceased on scene by the Richland County Coroner’s Office. They are DeAnn C. Richardson, 48, of Olney, and Judy L. Jourdan, 69, o9f Olney.

SPRINGFIELD — In early July, a judge in Clay County voided Gov. JB Pritzker’s executive orders in a sweeping order that he applied to the entire state, at the request of a southern Illinois lawmaker who sued Pritzker over his response to the pandemic.

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SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday that more than 17,000 doses of the first coronavirus vaccine have been administered to Illinois frontline health care workers outside of Chicago, up from 3,500 doses on Thursday.

SPRINGFIELD — Coronavirus vaccinations from the state’s National Strategic Stockpile were delivered Thursday to 77 hospitals in 45 counties throughout the state, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced at his daily briefing.

SPRINGFIELD – Five health care workers at a hospital in Peoria became the first people in Illinois to receive a COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, marking what Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike called “the beginning of the end” of the pandemic.

The escalating COVID-19 crisis is placing enormous burdens on Illinois teachers that could worsen an already critical teacher shortage in Illinois, public policy experts say.

SPRINGFIELD – Support within the ranks of Illinois House Democrats to reelect Rep. Michael Madigan to another term as speaker eroded further Thursday, Nov. 19, after federal prosecutors in Chicago issued four more indictments Wednesday night linking him to a bribery scheme involving utility …

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois surpassed 300,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 8,800 virus-related deaths over the weekend as it approached 6 million tests conducted since the pandemic first reached the state.

SPRINGFIELD – Revenues flowing into state coffers from legalized gambling operations plummeted during the fiscal year that ended June 30 as casinos, racetracks and other video gambling venues were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SPRINGFIELD – More than 2 million Illinois voters have requested vote-by-mail ballots and more than 26,000 such ballots have already been returned, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Treasurer Michael Frerichs have successfully partnered with National Cash Register (NCR) — the treasurer’s approved payment processor company — to remove the e-check payment processing fee through the year 2020. This is part of an ongoing effort by White to encourage online transactions with the Secretary of State’s office at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.

As we fast approach the advent of the 2020-21 archery deer hunting season, my mind ponders over the vast numbers of hunters that are injured or killed each year in a variety of accidents.

Five members of the Illinois state Health Facilities and Services Review Board will make a definitive decision on whether or not to approve a request from Sarah Bush Lincoln to demolish and replace the SBL Bonutti Clinic in Effingham, according to the board's administrator, Courtney Avery.

SPRINGFIELD – A special investigative committee of the General Assembly will begin meeting at the Capitol next week to decide the fate of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

CHICAGO – Gov. Pritzker on Tuesday announced the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has extended the deadline for Illinois renters to apply for aid by one week to noon on Aug. 28 due to those impacted by the storms last Monday. In addition, landlords will be given an additional two days, through Aug. 30, to complete their portion of the application. The Emergency Rental Assistance program provides $5,000 to eligible tenants who have seen their household income decline as a result of the COVID-19.