Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

Madigan’s replacement resigns days after being selected

Just days after former state Rep. Michael Madigan hand-picked his replacement to the Illinois House, state Rep. Edward Guerra Kodatt has stepped down.

In a statement late Tuesday, Madigan suggested Kodatt resign “after learning of alleged questionable conduct.” Madigan did not elaborate.

A spokesperson for House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch announced the House clerk received Kodatt’s resignation Wednesday.

Pritzker says he’s worried about ‘super-spreader event’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he’s “worried about a super-spreader event” with a political challenger holding in-person political rallies.

Asked to respond to an issue raised by state Sen. Darren Bailey who announced his bid for governor, Pritzker said he heard Bailey had an event with hundreds of people not wearing masks.

Bailey said masks were offered and temperatures were checked. Bailey also said the pandemic doesn’t eliminate people’s rights to peaceably assemble.

Bailey plans more rallies throughout the state.

McCann enters not guilty plea

Former state Senator and independent gubernatorial candidate Sam McCann pleaded not guilty to fraud charges.

Prosecutors allege McCann illegally spent campaign donations on prohibited expenses.

The State Journal-Register reported McCann was given a public defender.

Lausch to stay on until successor confirmed

The Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney investigating public corruption in Illinois will be retained by President Joe Biden after all.

U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworkth announced John Lausch, the U.S. Attorney for Northern District of Illinois, will be kept on by the Biden administration until a successor is confirmed.

Lausch has cases pending in the ComEd bribery scheme that implicates former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Madigan has not been charged with a crime. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Food money to benefit students

Hundreds of millions of dollars in additional food assistance are headed toward eligible families with children.

The extra benefit from the federal government will be automatically sent out to the families of about 1 million school kids.

Many school districts are still remote, or only meeting in-person part of the week, which limits the availability of school-provided meals.

Pritzker plans to help municipalities hit with high natural gas prices

Details are still coming together, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker and a bipartisan group of lawmakers say they’re working to get low-interest loans for municipalities hit with high natural gas prices earlier this month.

During the sub-zero temperature around Valentine’s Day weekend, natural gas prices for some small municipalities saw price spikes from $3 a unit to $300 a unit, if not more.

The Illinois Finance Authority may announce a deal Thursday. Pritzker hopes federal aid will cover the loan.

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