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Illinois news in brief for Friday, April 30, 2021

Inspector General releases LaSalle COVID report

Former Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia “abdicated” her authority in managing the COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home. That’s what witnesses told investigators with the Illinois Department of Human Services Inspector General.

The inspector’s 50-page report released Friday also outlined a lack of COVID policies that led to confusion and chaos. Thirty-six residents lost their lives in the outbreak. One family is suing for millions of dollars.

Pritzker looks to modify spending of VW settlement funds 

The Pritzker administration Thursday said it’s set to spend $9 million in Volkswagen settlement money for electric school buses in more urban areas.

The governor’s office also said it’s looking to modify how it spends the remaining $90 million of settlement money to focus entirely on electric transportation options. The administration is taking public comment through June 21.

VW paid Illinois $108 million as part of a national settlement in an emission testing scandal.

Redistricting hearings continue 

Though they’re not in session, the Illinois Senate continues holding redistricting hearings.

A hearing starting at 11 Friday was to gocus on Sangamon and Macon counties. At 5 p.m., they’ll look at Winnebago, Boone and DeKalb counties.

All hearings can be seen live at ILGA.gov.

State health officials working on digital vaccine card

The Illinois Department of Public Health says it’s working on a plan to allow people to prove they’ve been vaccinated, but aren’t providing many more details.

A spokesperson for the department said “vaccinated individuals may want to be able to prove they have been vaccinated, especially if they misplace their CDC vaccination Card.”

The department said it is working to provide that service to individuals, but did not disclose if they’re working with a third-party vendor or provide any timeline for such a service.

Illinois among seven not recovering half of pre-pandemic jobs back

Despite what Fitch Ratings says are notable improvements over the month, Illinois is one of only seven states that remain below 50% jobs recovered from the pandemic.

The credit rating agency, which has the state’s rating a notch above speculative grade, or junk bond status, notes the other states have recovered more than half the jobs they lost at the peak of the pandemic.

Legislators return Tuesday 

Illinois state lawmakers put in three days of work this week in Springfield. Both chambers are off Friday.

The Senate is scheduled back Monday, but may not return until Tuesday.

The House is back Tuesday. They have a May 31 deadline to pass bills, including a state budget.

This article was originally posted on Illinois news in brief for Friday, April 30, 2021

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