Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Friday, March 5, 2021

Pritzker’s latest COVID-19 executive order expires Sunday

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s latest COVID-19 executive order expires Sunday. The governor has issued 13 orders over the past year, limiting the state’s economy with months of a stay-home order, then months of limiting capacity for businesses and activities.

It’s unclear if the governor will file a new 30-day order.

State Sen. Sue Rezin said a year into the pandemic, the governor needs to be more transparent and involve the legislature.

Mendoza calls for plan to reopen

Comptroller Susana Mendoza is pushing for more clarity on when the state will be able to open more for conventions.

During a virtual state Senate committee hearing Thursday, the Illinois comptroller talked about the lost tax revenue over the past year from convention cancellations, and said if the state is doing well with COVID-19 metrics as the governor says, the state should plan to allow conventions to safely return.

Lawmakers grill IDES about unemployment issues

Several state lawmakers told the Illinois Department of Employment Security director their constituents are suffering mental health problems because of their inability to work through their unemployment issues.

The agency’s physical offices for clients have been closed for most of the past year. State Rep. Sue Scherer said she has constituents who say they’ve been mocked by the agency and are at their wits end, even saying some are suicidal.

Illinois lawmaker: Delay minimum wage hike by a year

A state lawmaker is looking to delay the implementation of the state’s minimum wage increases by one full year.

Illinois employers experienced three minimum wage increases in 13 months, two were during the peak of the pandemic with government limiting their businesses with COVID-19 mitigation restrictions.

St. Charles Republican state Sen. Don DeWitte filed Senate Bill 2268 to delay the next dollar increase to January 2023.

Tours scheduled of Springfield’s Dana-Thomas House

Virtual tours of the historic Dana-Thomas House in Springfield are being arranged.

The tours will feature live, on-screen interpreters from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, as well as recorded segments and interactive discussions about the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed mansion. Reservations can be made by calling 217-782-6776.

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