Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Thursday, July 2, 2020

Another 45,250 people in Illinois seek unemployment benefits

Another 45,250 Illinoisans filed for unemployment last week.

That’s about 1,000 fewer than filed the week before.

But, that adds to the 1.4 million Illinoisans who have filed for unemployment since the beginning of March. Across the country, more than 1.4 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week.

Prison watchdog says most employees not tested for COVID-19

Prison watchdog group John Howard Association says most Illinois prison employees say they had not been tested for COVID-19, and there were inadequate supplies for healthcare workers working with prisoners. Other results from the survey conducted in May also indicated increased stress levels among staff because of the pandemic.

State Police report 501 percent increase in FOID card applications

Illinois State Police say they’ve seen a 501 percent increase in the number of Firearm Owner Identification card applications in the first half of June.

A spokesperson for ISP said from June 1 through June 17 there were more than 42,000 FOID card applications compared to around 7,000 during the same time last year.

As for wait times for firearm transfers, that’s down to 73 hours from 86 hours last week.

State Police ramp up hiring to process gun transfer requests

The Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau staff has been working an extra week of overtime for months to address gun application processing needs.

An ISP spokesperson said the unit is hiring more personnel and in the past few weeks interviewed and made offers to ten new employees for the bureau.

They’ve posted 20 additional positions to help process transfer applications and gun owner IDs.

Illinois taxpayers have $57 million in unclaimed tax refunds

The Internal Revenue Service says of the $1.5 billion in tax refunds still owed taxpayers from 2016, there’s an estimated $57 million of that waiting for around 51,700 Illinois taxpayers. You have until July 15 to file a claim, if you feel you’re owed a refund from the 2016 tax year.

Construction suspended ahead of holiday weekend

With the Independence Day Holiday weekend ahead, the Illinois Department of Transportation is suspending construction projects and opening up lanes where possible through July 5.

But, there are a slew of projects they outline where lane closures will remain in place and note work zone speed limits remain in effect where posted.

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