Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021

Public participation limited as Illinois Legislature continues COVID-19 protocols

The Illinois House has cancelled session for next week but when they do return a nonprofit government transparency advocate says the public needs to be able to participate.

Reform For Illinois Executive Director Alisa Kaplan said while public participation in virtual hearings should be enhanced, the public should have the same level of access to the state legislature they had before the pandemic.

State rules affect local COVID-19 ordinances

The state’s fluctuating restrictions are also impacting local ordinances. In Springfield, the city is keeping its mask mandate in place for places like gyms despite Phase 4 not requiring a mask for those exercising.

Just down the road in Jacksonville, the city council gave the authority to the mayor to mandate masks. Mayor Andy Ezard said COVID-19 numbers continued down without the mandate.

Illinois has 10th most restrictive COVID-19 rules

Illinois has the tenth most restrictive COVID-19 mitigations of all states, including its neighbors.

Consumer finance website WalletHub reviewed all 50 states’ economic restrictions and found Illinois was ranked No. 49 for reopening restaurants and 34th in reopening nonessential businesses.

While Illinois overall ranked No. 42, Kentucky ranked No. 26, Indian No. 20, Wisconsin No. 8, Missouri ranked No. 6 and Iowa No. at No. 3.

Snow blankets much of Illinois

Much of Illinois is covered in a wet, heavy blanket of snow.

Much of northern Illinois saw inches of blowing snow starting Monday and the National Weather Service expects it to be a hazard for much of Tuesday morning.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency advises against traveling unless necessary.

Turner picked for Senate seat

A former Logan County clerk has been chosen to fill out the rest of state Sen. Bill Brady’s term.

Sally Turner of Beason was chosen over the weekend from a field of nine applicants, said McLean County Republican Party chair Connie Beard.

Turner served six terms as Logan County clerk and now works in government consulting.

The 44th Senate District includes parts of Bloomington, Morton, Washington, and Lincoln.

Brady resigned from the seat on Dec. 31.

Illinois ranks 41st for retirement

Despite the tax-free retirement income, Illinois still ranks 41st in a comparison of the best states to retire from WalletHub.

The site compared amenities for those in their golden years and affordability.

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