Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Monday, Jan. 18, 2021

Dining restrictions set to ease in some regions of Illinois

After months of a statewide prohibition of indoor service because of COVID-19, Region 2 of Illinois, which includes Peoria, Bloomington and Galesburg, along with Region 5, the southeastern part of the state, can have 25 percent indoor service per the governor’s plan.

Region 1, the northwestern part of the state that includes Rockford, is in Tier 2 which still prohibits indoor dining.

But, in Region 3, which is still in Tier 3 mitigation, Springfield officials allowed bars and restaurants to have 25 percent capacity indoors.

Springfield ranked 25th safest state capital

Illinois’ capital city of Springfield is the 25th safest state capital in the nation, according to WalletHub.

The consumer finance website used metrics like affordability, economic well-being, and quality of education, health and life. Austin, Texas, was ranked No. 1.

Federal funds could help close state’s budget deficit

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said President-elect Joe Biden’s stimulus plan will help close Illinois’ multi-billion dollar budget hole.

Illinois is facing a $4 billion budget hole.

Many oppose sending untethered federal funds to states that have spent as if there were no budget crunch, calling Biden’s plan a bailout for reckless spending governments.

No protest in Springfield

The Illinois National Guard and Illinois State Police watched over a boarded-up state capitol building Sunday as protesters were said to be gathering ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Despite warnings that they would come, no protesters showed up in Springfield.

Region 5 moves to Tier 1

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced Saturday that Region 5, which includes most of Southern Illinois, has been moved to his “Tier 1” mitigations. That change means local restaurants have the governor’s blessing to resume indoor dining. Many businesses across the state have ignored Pritzker’s order and allowed patrons to dine indoors.

ISU outgoing leader gets $46,000 bonus

Illinois State University trustees have awarded outgoing president Larry H. Dietz a $46,000 bonus and it’s raising some eyebrows.

The Chicago Tribune asked the taxpayer-funded university if it thought it was appropriate and representatives said it was based on performance metrics in the university executive’s contract.

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