FILE - Illinois State Capitol

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

Madigan will likely choose his replacement

Voters in the 22nd Illinois House District won’t get a say in who replaces the longest serving state Representative. The Democratic Party and former state Rep. Michael Madigan will. Madigan resigned from the seat Thursday. He lost his speakership of nearly four decades last month. With the vacancy, the Democratic party announced anyone interested in seeking the open seat can apply. Madigan has a weighted vote on who will replace him.

COVID-19 variants in Illinois

There are now 43 cases of COVID-19 variant found in Illinois, according to public health officials. The Illinois Department of Public Health says there were 42 cases of the British variant and one of the South African variant. The state also has a slot for the Brazilian variant, but there are no reported cases. The CDC says that variant was discovered in Japan and first identified in the US last month.

Pritzker likely to sign police bill

The controversial bill reforming the state’s criminal justice system is likely to be signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. House Bill 3653 also provides more regulations on law enforcement. Pritzker’s budget anticipates increased spending from the bill. The measure passed in the final hours of the previous General Assembly. It was sent to the governor two weeks ago.

Illinois unemployment rises

Illinois experienced an increase in the number of new unemployment filings last week than the week before. The U.S. Department of Labor reports nearly 68,000 new claims were filed last week, 33,500 more than the week before. There were also more than 14,800 new independent contractors filing for unemployment. The total number of insured unemployed and continued pandemic unemployment assistance claims is 477,500.

Pritzker pushes for more ed spending

The state’s higher education board is welcoming several increases for program spending proposed in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed $42 billion budget. Of the nearly $2.1 billion for higher education, the Illinois Board of Higher Education notes $1.2 billion will go to public universities. Nearly half a billion will go to Monetary Award Program grants. IHBE also expects around $8 million for community colleges.

2 million vaccines

Illinois could hit more than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered soon. The latest data published by state public health officials Thursday showed 1,977,000 doses administered with a 7-day rolling average of 61,000. Around 3.7 percent of the state has been fully vaccinated. Of the doses allocated for long-term care facilities, the state-administered around 60 percent. Illinois began administering doses two months ago.

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.

Staff Reporter

Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for the Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.

Regional Editor

Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.