Skip Navigation Links

Update from the Capitol 8/4/2020

Tuesday, August 04, 2020 - Posted 5:16:52 PM by Rep. Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett

11 Counties at warning level for Coronavirus

Cass, Gallatin, Jackson, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Perry, Randolph, Saline, Sangamon, St. Clair, and White Counties have been reported at warning level for Coronavirus by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Warning level indicates that these counties have experienced an increase in two or more Covid risk indicators which include a rise in cases, hospital emergency room visits or positive tests.

A map and information of each county's status can be found on the IDPH website at countymetrics

When you call IDES, who calls you back?

For months my office has been fielding calls from frustrated workers out of work due to the Covid restrictions who are finding it difficult to get through to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, or to get a call back. A report from Channel 2 News in Chicago reveals that there are actually two different sets of staffers fielding and returning calls: some are IDES employees, others are new contract workers brought on to help deal with the large volume of calls. Read the full story here: 2020/07/30/answers-arrive- about-who-is-calling- unemployed-illinoisans-back- at-ides-and-where-theyre- located/

Local CURE aid program set to start up

The Local CURE program will pass through to local governments COVID-19 relief funds appropriated by Congress. Under the Downstate portion of this program, at least $250 million in federal funds will be distributed to local governments if they can show the money will be spent for COVID-19 safety and relief. Municipalities, counties, and certified local public health departments will be eligible to apply for the aid.

The distribution of Local CURE Act money will be overseen by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

Governor issues new guidance restricting youth sports

The Governor announced new guidelines restricting youth and adult recreational organized sports in Illinois. That includes school-based sports such as those governed by the IHSA and IES, travel clubs, private leagues, recreational leagues and sports centers and Park District sports programs. The plan categorizes sports into three risk levels, low, medium, or high, based on the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play.

The guidance sets four levels of play allowed based on current public health conditions.

  • In level 1, only no-contact practices are allowed and they must be outside.
  • In level 2, indoor and outdoor practices and intra-team scrimmages are allowed but there can be no competitive play.
  • In level 3 intra-conference, intra-region or intra-league play is allowed and there may be state- or league-championship games allowed for low-risk sports only.
  • In level 4, tournaments, out-of-conference play, and out-of-state play are allowed. State championship games would also be allowed in level 4.

Beginning Saturday, August 15th, low risk sports can be played at levels 1, 2, and 3. Medium risk sports can be played at levels 1 and 2, and high-risk sports can be played at level 1.

Report, don't open unsolicited seeds from China

In recent weeks, hundreds of Illinois families have received an unexpected package from China that contains unidentified seeds. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is currently working with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to address the issue.

Department officials warn that if you receive unordered seeds, do not open the package, plant the seeds, or throw them out. Please keep all seeds unopened and with their original packaging and labels, including mailing labels and immediately contact the Department of Agriculture by emailing You will need to provide first and last name, phone number and the number of packages received.

 More News from Around the State:

Democrats call for Madigan Resignation: news/local/growing-list-of- democrats-call-for-speaker- madigans-resignation

Science on sending students back to school: 20200801/should-i-send-my- child-back-to-school-this-is- latest-science-on-coronavirus- and-kids

Two thirds of U of I classes will be online this fall: coronavirus/coronavirus- response-two-thirds-of-ui- classes-to-be-online-in-fall/ article_e9d19ee1-909d-5c3d- 9c2e-3ea87b158aea.html

Illinois ranks 9th highest in state tax burden: https://www.thecentersquare. com/illinois/illinois-ranks- 9th-highest-in-wallethub- study-of-2020-state-tax- burdens/article_f80f0b6e-c149- 11ea-abcb-9fead8f8cfa1.html

Illinois Coronavirus tracker: https://www.chicagobusiness. com/news/tracking-coronavirus- illinois

For additional helpful resources, click here.

For continually updated news from state agencies, visit: or my website at and click on COVID-19 Info. Persons with coronavirus questions or concerns should call the statewide toll-free coronavirus hotline at 1-800-889-3931. You can also submit questions via e-mail at

My district offices remain closed to in-person visits, but are still accessible by phone at (815) 432-0106 (Watseka) and (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac).

Tom Bennett