Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Friday, April 3, 2020

March revenues up, but COVID-19 impacts unavoidable

Even as part of the month the state was under a stay-at-home order imposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the state still saw revenues increase by $174 million.

The state’s non-partisan government forecasting group says that it may be surprising given the economic conditions, but it illustrates the lag in activity and the actual performance.

The group’s revenue director said the report should not mislead people that the impacts of COVID-19 are unavoidable.

Illinois State Police get nearly 50,000 firearm transfer requests in less than three weeks

Illinois State Police officials provided updated numbers of firearm transfer inquiry reports on Thursday.

Since March 13, ISP’s Firearms Services Bureau has received 49,342 inquiries. That’s up from 38,929 requests announced from March 13 to March 25, and up from 18,980 inquiries from March 13 to March 18.

Some say gun buyers are waiting up to 14 days to get their firearms from the dealer.

Illinois Libertarians, Green Party file lawsuit over ballot access

Illinois Libertarians and Green party members are suing the state to try and find signature-gathering requirements to get on the November ballot unconstitutional amid the coronavirus pandemic. Illinois’ non-established political parties have to get a much higher threshold of signatures than established party candidates.

The group argues in a lawsuit the requirement for them to get 25,000 signatures in the next few weeks is impossible as the state is under a stay-at-home order.

Hospital occupancy continues to fluctuate in Illinois

Day-to-day hospital occupancy in Illinois continues to fluctuate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Numbers from the Illinois Department of Public Health Thursday showed of all non-ICU beds, 56 percent were occupied.That’s down from 57 percent Wednesday. 69.7 percent of ICU beds were occupied. That’s up from 68 percent reported Wednesday. For ventilators, of Illinois’ 2,647, 40.9 percent were in use. That’s down from 45 percent reported Wednesday.

Drug treatment centers struggle amid outbreak

Drug treatment centers and other behavioral health facilities are struggling to continue to serve those who need help as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in Illinois.

A survey of 147 community-based organizations found that their estimated Medicaid billing to the state had plummeted by $6.3 million at the end of March.

The survey also found that their non-Medicaid billing is expected to balloon by about $800,000.

Recreational cannabis sales top $35.9 million in March

Despite part of the month of March the state being under stay-at-home orders, adult-use cannabis sales, considered essential, still brought in more than the previous month.

State officials say for the month of March, cannabis consumers in Illinois bought $35.9 million worth of legal pot, buying 812,000 items. That doesn’t include taxes, which can be as high as 40 percent.

In February the state announced $34.8 million in sales.

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