Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Friday, July 30, 2021

Audit shows IDES paid about $155 million in fraudulent unemployment benefits

Nearly $155 million in possible fraud was paid out in unemployment benefits just from the first few weeks of the pandemic, according to a recent audit.

Republicans are calling for more investigations.

The Auditor General’s report of the Illinois Department of Employment Security showed benefits going to dead people, and others the department could not provide verification.

Republican state Sen. Win Stoller said the report is just the tip of the iceberg.

Schools could face COVID-19 liability issues

Instead of warning schools of possible lawsuits that could cost taxpayers if they don’t follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 guidance, a state lawmaker says the governor should be working to find solutions.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said this week schools that don’t follow mask recommendations could be legally liable.

State Sen. Jason Plummer said the state needs to provide legal liability protections to the public and private sectors.

Workers leave union at Rush

More than 30 maintenance workers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have split from their union.

The release from Teamsters Local 743 comes after a secret ballot vote in which more than 70 percent voted to leave the Teamsters union.

The removal from the union allows the maintenance workers to negotiate and be considered for promotions and raises.

Illinois Supreme Court clarifies eviction order

The Illinois Supreme Court is clarifying a previous order about residential evictions.

The court said cases that involve a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate severe risk to property can proceed.

The order says litigants in other cases will be directed to available programs meant to help avoid evictions like rental assistance and financial assistance for landlords and tenants.

Niemerg says something has to be done about FOID backlog

A state lawmaker says with nearly 160,000 continued backlogged applications for Firearm Owner’s Identification, or FOID cards, something has to be done.

Republican state Rep. Adam Niemerg said his office continues to field calls about the delays with an average backlog of about seven months and that’s not acceptable.

He hopes lawsuits against the FOID card will succeed in ending the requirement.

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