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News Around Illinois – July 1, 2020

The latest news around the state, for July 1, 2020.

Wage Hike, Driving Privileges, Civics Address In New Laws

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — New Illinois state laws dictating minimum wage, certain driving offenses and LGBTQ history education in public schools will take effect Wednesday. Low-wage workers statewide will see a salary increase for the second time this year as required by a law signed last year by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The minimum wage will increase to $10 from $9.25. There was a $1 hike in January, from $8.25 per hour, the first statewide increase in more than a decade. In Chicago, the minimum wage will increase $1, to $14 per hour. LGBTQ history must be taught in Illinois public schools starting in the 2020-2021 school year. The bill also requires schools to purchase textbooks that are “non-discriminatory” and “include the roles and contributions of all people protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act.” Under the new laws, the secretary of state will be allowed to suspend or revoke driving privileges when a person is using an electronic communication device while driving and results in “great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement.” The offense is also subject to a minimum $1,000 fine. Illinois banned texting while driving ten years ago.

Community Groups Push A Bold Idea To Revitalize Some Chicago Neighborhoods

A coalition of community groups, has a bold proposal to address decades of abandonment and disinvestment in Chicago neighborhoods. They want to build 1,000 new-construction, single-family homes on the city’s West Side, and 1,000 more on the South Side. They’re asking for hundreds of free, city-owned vacant lots to kick off the effort and to keep the cost of housing down. They say quickly building a critical mass of homes is necessary for real neighborhood revitalization to take place, and they’ve caught the attention of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and city officials, who seem intrigued by their idea. For decades, many of Chicago’s Black neighborhoods have been marred by vacant lots and abandoned buildings. They’ve been losing population. And even decades-long efforts by community groups have not reversed overall trends. – Linda Lutton – WBEZ

In Letter, ISU Faculty And Staff Say Reopening Plan Comes Up Short

letter circulating Tuesday among employees and students argues that Illinois State University’s draft reopening plan does not do enough to protect campus—or the Bloomington-Normal community at large. The letter suggests giving more employees the option to work from home, requiring students to sign a “Redbird pledge” to behave responsibly, and creating a free on-campus testing site, among other ideas. The letter, penned Monday, already has over 100 signatures from faculty, staff, students, and community members. It’s addressed to President Larry Dietz. – Ryan Denham – WGLT

Some Concerned Parents Are Choosing To Homeschool During The Pandemic

Illinois recently released guidelines for schools to return in-person this fall. Some concerned parents are choosing to homeschool their kids this year rather than send them back to in-person classes during COVID-19. Brandi Poreda has homeschooled three of her kids over the last 20 years. She said the biggest advantage of homeschooling is flexibility. Nikki Atterberry and Brad Brad are homeschooling their twin 5-year-old boys. They thought about giving their kids the option to go to public school this year but decided against it because of the pandemic. Atterberry said she thinks if parents knew how enriching it would be for them and their kids, more people might do it. – Peter Medlin – WNIJ

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