The Illinois House and Senate have canceled next week’s scheduled session.
The House and Senate were scheduled to be in session Tuesday through Thursday. Jessica Basham, chief of staff to House Speaker Michael Madigan, notified House members Wednesday morning that the House will not meet on those days. The Senate has not yet made an announcement about next week.
It will mark the third straight week that the two chambers have canceled scheduled session days because of concerns about the coronavirus.
Basham indicated the House could be called back into session in early April.
“As I indicated in previous communications, the session schedule is ‘in flux’ and members should be prepared to return to Springfield to address urgent matters, including during the weeks of April 5 and April 12 (the legislative spring break).”
The memo said House Democrats would hold a conference call Monday to discuss the budget and the hospital assessment program among other things. Gov. JB Pritzker acknowledged Tuesday that the crisis over the virus is blowing a hole in revenue projections for next year. The hospital assessment program helps the state get additional Medicaid money from Washington, but is expiring at the end of June and needs to be renewed.
Sangamon County gets an “A” for social distancing
Sangamon County and the state of Illinois made out with high marks according to a “Social Distancing Scoreboard.”
The county and state received “A’s” from the company Unacast, which uses GPS location data.
The scores were determined by the change in average distance traveled compared with before the COVID-19. outbreak. A more than 40% decrease earned states and counties top marks.
The map is at www.unacast.com.
A number of micro-pantries have sprung up in the Springfield area.
They include the Illinois Department of Public Health (Bell Building), 422 S. Fifth St. and Southeast High School, 2350 E. Ash St., in Springfield; Riverton High School, 841 N. Third St. and Riverton Christian Church, 1245 N. Seventh St., in Riverton; and VFW Post 4763, 501 W. Mulberry St., in Chatham.
The pantries operate on a “leave what you can, take what you need” basis.
Raoul signs on to letter
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul Wednesday urged Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart and Craigslist to rigorously monitor price gouging practices by online sellers using their services.
The letter, signed jointly by 32 other attorneys general, acknowledged the companies’ cooperation with states’ efforts to stop price gouging and asked that online retailers do more to monitor listings by third-party sellers.
In the letter, Raoul and the coalition cite several examples of price-gouging on these marketplace platforms, all of which occurred in March. The attorneys general referenced a 2-liter bottle of hand sanitizer listed for $250 on Craigslist, an 8-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer listed for $40 on Facebook Marketplace, and packs of face masks being priced at $40 and $50 on eBay. Raoul’s office contacted eBay after receiving a complaint about a seller listing a package of toilet tissue for sale for $49,000.
Volunteers needed to deliver dinners
The Prairie Council on Aging is in search of volunteers to deliver Doorbell Dinners to shut-ins in the Jacksonville community. The dinners are medically-prescribe meals provided by the council, Church Women United and Passavant Area Hospital.
The agency needs volunteers because the majority of their current volunteers are seniors who are at-risk for the COVID-19 disease.
Volunteers must be available weekdays, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; own a vehicle with GPS access on car or personal mobile device; complete a safety screening; be under age 65 and in good health with no compromised immune system, diabetes, COPD or congestive heart failure.
All meal recipients have been screened for the coronavirus.
Interested volunteers should call the Prairie Council on Aging at (217) 479-4619.
Goodwill virtual career centers open
Land of Lincoln Goodwill Career Centers have launched virtual operations during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Career coaches will be available to anyone by telephone, email and video conferencing Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. to offer general employment support, help with how to file unemployment claims, prepare resumes, online job search techniques, provide free computer classes and training.
Contact career coaches in Springfield at (217) 303-9532, or email@example.com. Also, (217) 889-0717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goodwill Stores are closed and are not accepting donations at this time.
Donations in Taylorville
Residents in Taylorville can drop off donations of supplies to help local health care organizations as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Donations of boxed, unused surgical type masks (including N95 masks); clean, handmade, sewn masks; unused, wrapped or boxed gowns and exam gloves; hand sanitizer; bleach wipes and alcohol wipes can be dropped off at HSHS Medical Group Multispecialty Care, 1304 W. Burnett Drive, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The SAT college entrance exam provided by the State for all high school juniors has been postponed. It was scheduled for April 14. The Illinois State Board of Education is working on a new date.
All other State assessments have been cancelled as well.