May 30, 2020

Illinois to expand child care services as legislature announces Saturday extension

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois will expand child care services amid the coronavirus pandemic as the general assembly announced Friday that they will extend the session into the holiday weekend.

All day care centers in Illinois will be allowed to reopen as soon as next week.

“We can’t have a conversation about going back to work without talking about child care,” said Gov. Pritzker. “Illinois must take a cautious approach that appropriately balances the need to greatly expand child care with the need to lessen the risk of spreading the coronavirus.”

To date, Illinois has not seen significant transmission of COVID-19 in child care settings. However, health officials note there is still much left to be studied about the virus’ impact on children.

The newly reopened providers will have reduced capacity, of no more than 10 children per classroom, for the first four weeks. Once they have provided care safely for four weeks and have followed the new health, social distancing and sanitation routines and guidelines, they will be able to expand to larger group sizes, though not their full licensed capacity.

Gov. Pritzker also hinted Friday that residents can expect new guidelines about places of worship.

“Outdoor faith services,including but not limited to drive-thru services will be welcome in Phase 3,” Gov. Pritzker said.

Republicans continue to demand more input on the plan to reopen Illinois.

“We should not go home until we come up with a bipartisan plan that the legislature and the governor work on to reengage this state,” said Senator Bill Brady (R-44th District.)

As of Friday night, the legislature is scrambling to wrap up business. There was fierce debate about a bill that would massively expanding vote-by-mail and allow 16 year olds to work as election judges. Senator Paul Schimpf used his 15-year-old as an example.

I don’t think he has enough experience where he would be able to stand up to the pressure of an adult and a respected figure trying to influence him,” said Schimpf (R-Murphysboro.)

The election measures sailed through both the House and Senate and Gov. Pritzker said he will sign the bill once it reaches his desk.

Details of the budget emerged Friday.

It holds spending at fiscal 2020 levels and calls for borrowing from Washington to help cover expenses.

The budget projects $36 billion in revenue including about $4.5 billion from federal loans.

Republicans pointed out that due to Illinois’ bond rating this loan is going to be very expensive.

The general assembly is also discussing language for a Chicago casino. It makes the tax structure for the Chicago casino more attractive for an operator.

Legislators will reconvene Saturday after House Speaker Michael Madigan announced an extension Friday evening.

“When committing ourselves to this session, we acknowledged that the work before us would take at least three days,” he said. “We must continue our work to provide relief and support to all Illinois communities and the people of Illinois affected by this unprecedented crisis. The House will convene tomorrow to continue our work.”