Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Friday, May 1, 2020

Pritzker officially files modified stay-at-home order through May 30

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s extended stay-at-home order has officially been signed and filed.

The order, along with others extending certain mandates through May 30, was filed late Thursday.

It requires face coverings where social distancing can’t be followed.

The Illinois Gaming Board has also extended the suspension of all Illinois video gaming operations at all establishments of any kind and all casino gambling operations until further notice.

Public health officials issue guidance elective surgeries starting May 11

The Illinois Department of Public Health guidance for elective surgeries to begin May 11 includes regional hospital occupancy requirements of no less than 20 percent available capacity for ICU beds, surgical beds and ventilators, among other requirements.

The guidance also said facilities must test each patient for COVID-19 within 72 hours of a scheduled procedure. They must then self-quarantine until the day of surgery.

Fitch downgrades Chicago MFT bonds to junk grade

Even with a state gas tax increase with funds expected for the city of Chicago, Fitch Ratings downgraded Chicago’s motor fuel tax to speculative-grade status commonly referred to as junk.

The affected series 2013 bonds total $179.1 billion.

Fitch expects a recession of unprecedented depth caused by the government severely restricting business activities and nonessential travel to slow the spread of the virus.

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Church sues over stay-at-home order

The pastor of a church in Lena, Illinois, is suing Gov. J.B. Pritzker over his stay-at-home order.

The suit filed in federal court says The Beloved Church congregation plans to hold service May 3 but fears arrest and prosecution. They’re seeking immediate relief from the order.

Pritzker said no one will storm churches to enforce the order, but “there will be repercussions.” He called the church an outlier.

Protests expected in Springfield, Chicago on Friday

Protests against the governor’s stay-at-home orders are expected in Chicago and Springfield on Friday.

A group called Re-Open Illinois is being promoted online as part of a larger national movement against Illinois’ orders and similar measures in other states.

The protests are expected to begin around noon.

State comptroller releases financial report

The Illinois comptroller has published the state’s comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year that ended last summer.

The latest financial report for how the state spent taxpayers’ money is the quickest the report has been published in years.

The bottom line shows Illinois’ total net position is $193 billion in the red, driven mainly by the state’s $192.7 billion unfunded state employee retiree liability.

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