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News Around Illinois – June 17, 2020

The latest news around the state, for June 17, 2020.

ComEd Quadruples Payments To Powerhouse Law Firm Amidst Corruption Probe

Amid a sprawling federal corruption probe, Commonwealth Edison quadrupled its payments last year to a powerhouse Chicago-based law firm that’s representing the utility giant in the investigation of its Springfield lobbying practices. Federal regulatory documents show ComEd paid Jenner & Block nearly $2.4 million in 2019 — more than what the power company had reported paying the law firm in the previous four years combined. WBEZ first reported last year the feds are investigating whether ComEd hired politically connected consultants — some with ties to powerful Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic Party boss Michael Madigan — in order to win favorable government actions in Springfield, including electricity rate hikes. – Tony Arnold – Dan Mihalopoulos – WBEZ

Some South And West Side Preschools Might Close June 30. Here’s Why.

Preschool providers, parents and even some young children are accusing Mayor Lori Lightfoot of decimating community-based programs that have educated and cared for children in their neighborhoods for decades. On Tuesday, about 200 teachers, activists and parents held a march and rally at City Hall, just weeks before some of the programs will lose needed funding on June 30. They said Lightfoot promised to meet with them, but that meeting had “fallen through the cracks” in the midst of the pandemic. Now some of them might have to close down. – Adriana Cardona-Maguigad – WBEZ

Illinois Is Hiring Thousands Of Contact Tracers To Help Slow COVID-19. Here’s How To Become One.

The state of Illinois is looking to hire 4,000 contract tracers, with an additional 600 in Chicago. You don’t need a background in health care to sign up for the program. The job can be done from home and the city of Chicago says it’ll pay tracers at least $20 an hour to start. Students at College of DuPage are also eligible for a scholarship. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has called contact tracing “arguably our most sustainable tool” to contain COVID-19. – Peter Medlin – WNIJ

Schimpf “Bitterly Disappointed” In State Decision On Grand American

Southern Illinois leaders say they’re disappointed with a decision that bars the Amateur Trapshooters Association from hosting their Grand American competition in Sparta this year. State Senator Paul Schimpf says he was “bitterly disappointed” with the decision, announced Monday. He says the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta should be an economic engine for the region – now he’s worried about the facility’s viability. State leaders pointed to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, but Schimpf says the ATA and regional leaders had a detailed plan ready. – Jennifer Fuller – WSIU


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