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News Around Illinois — Sept. 10, 2020

The latest news around the state, for Sept. 10, 2020.

2 Applicants Rejected For Marijuana Licenses Sues Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) — Two companies that were rejected for Illinois marijuana licenses have filed a lawsuit to delay the state from awarding licenses to the winning applicants.  The state announced that only 21 of 700 applicants would proceed to a lottery for 75 licenses. Southshore Restore and Heartland Greens did not make the cut and are suing the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which regulates dispensaries, and Bret Bender, deputy director of the Cannabis Control Section. The applicants allege in the suit, which was filed Friday, that the 21 groups are “politically-connected insider companies.” The suit also says that at least one of the 21 companies lists as a manager a person identified on LinkedIn as a risk consultant for KPMG, a firm that scored the applications. Jim McGann, a KPMG spokesman, said in a statement that the person mentioned in the lawsuit was not involved in the scoring process. The suit also alleges that the department’s decision to not give the “unsuccessful applicants any opportunity to challenge their ineligibility is unconstitutional.” A department spokesperson did not return the Chicago Tribune’s request for comment. Lawyers representing the two applicants also did not return the newspaper’s requests for comment. Every applicant in the lottery received a perfect score. The lawsuit alleges that Southshore Restore and Heartland Greens should have, too. – Associated Press

UIS Enrollment Drop “Better Than Expected”

Despite a global health threat and concerns of students taking a gap year, enrollment on the University of Illinois Springfield campus saw only a slight decline. That gives hope the school might be able to weather the disruption brought on by the pandemic. After the first ten days of the fall semester, officials announced the number of students taking classes dropped three percent from a year ago. “So actually we were bracing for a lower enrollment, so that’s why I can tell you it was better than expected,” said Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney. “So financially we are in a stronger position that we anticipated.” Whitney said COVID-19 testing on the campus for all students, faculty and staff appears to be working and she has confidence about completing the semester as planned. In addition, new classes will be offered starting in October and during the traditional winter break. – Sean Crawford, WUIS

Two Ballot Drop Boxes Planned For Springfield

Voters in Sangamon County will be able to submit their mail-in ballots for the November election in two drop boxes instead of sending back through the postal service. The county’s election oversight board approved the nearly $8,000 purchase from Vote Armor of the steel boxes on Tuesday night. The plan is to set them up in the next week. One box is planned for Monroe Street at Ninth Street outside the county building in Springfield, and the other outside the Sangamon County Juvenile Center at 2201 S. Dirksen Parkway. Ballots can be dropped off 24 hours a day. An Illinois law approved in the spring allowed for local election authorities to provide alternatives to mailing back ballots, including the secure boxes and drive-through drop-offs. The law aimed to encourage vote-by-mail amid the coronavirus pandemic. – Mary Hansen, WUIS

Bradley Seeks ‘Reset’ With 2-Week All-Student Quarantine

Bradley University is looking to correct the institution’s COVID-19 course with a two-week all-student quarantine period. Currently, there are about 50 students who have tested positive for the virus, and another 500 who were already in quarantine before University President Steve Standifird made his announcement Tuesday night in an effort to tamp down on additional COVID-19 exposures. Bradley University spokesperson Renee Charles said the raw numbers weren’t the reason for that decision.  Standifird said Tuesday those measures are no longer recommendations, but mandatory. Noncompliance could result in disciplinary measures up to dismissal from campus. She said the goal of the tw0-week quarantine will allow the university to step up enforcement efforts, get everyone on the same page, and interrupt the growth in COVID-19 cases and exposures. The quarantine ends Sept. 23. – Tim Shelley and Joe Deacon, WCBU

Kilbride Seeks Another 10-Year Term on the Illinois Supreme Court

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride wants to serve on the state’s high court for another 10 years. Kilbride formally launched his retention campaign on Wednesday. He must get at least 60 percent of the vote in the 3rd Judicial Circuit that includes Peoria, Tazewell, Fulton, Stark, Marshall, and 16 other counties in North and West-Central Illinois. Kilbride was born in LaSalle and has lived in the Quad Cities for the past four decades. He was first elected in 2000, and was retained in 2010 with just over 65% of the vote. During his time as chief justice, from 2010 to 2013, he promoted courtroom cameras and making electronic court filings easier. Peoria County State’s Attorney Jodi Hoos endorses Kilbride. – Tim Shelley, WCBU

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