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Update from the Capitol: Calls growing for IDES hearings

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - Posted 3:28:13 PM by Rep. Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett

IDES.pngLast month I joined with other legislators in calling for public hearings into the failures of the unemployment assistance system at the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Over the spring and summer my office and the offices of many other representatives received hundreds of calls and e-mails from neighbors who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic shutdown, but who could not get through to IDES to get the help they needed. We called for public hearings into the matter as a way of getting answers about what went wrong and what was being done to fix it.

Now a bipartisan group of representatives is joining our call for oversight and action. The agency has a new director who has been working hard to get through the backlog and get people the help they need, but as time drags on and bills pile up, government has to do better. I am pleased to see that our call for hearings is gaining momentum and I hope it leads to improvements.

Sign up now for the Great Central United States Shakeout

It might surprise you to learn that Illinois is in a part of the country known to have large earthquakes. We tend to think of places like the West Coast when we think of earthquakes, but in the 1800s Illinois was actually hit by one of the largest earthquakes in American history and that same fault line remains active today.

To help people in the central United States prepare for earthquakes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross and other organizations are partnering to host the 2020 Great Central United States Shakeout - a regionwide earthquake drill on Thursday October 15. To find out more about how to participate in the drill and how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in the event of an earthquake, click here.

Illinois tops 6 million coronavirus tests

driveup_testing_1_(1).pngLast week the Illinois Department of Public Health reported conducting its 6 millionth coronavirus test, nearly one test for every two people in the state. Of course, some Illinoisans have been tested more than once; health care workers for example; but the public health community is making a concerted effort to have a test available for every person who needs one. Sadly, the disease continues to spread in Illinois, with more than 300,000 positive tests confirmed.

More news from around the state

The latest update from the Department of Public Health

Vermilion added, Livingston removed from list of counties at coronavirus warning level

Illinois' seven-day average of new coronavirus cases sets new high

Hoopeston Library staff member tests positive for COVID; Library hours changing

First human West Nile Virus death in Illinois reported in Chicago

DCFS launches enhanced, streamlined online system for reporting child abuse and neglect

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).