Illinois news in brief for Friday, March 19, 2021

Pritzker announces COVID-19 reopening ‘bridge’ plan

Members of the Illinois state legislature are urging the governor to open more amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor’s “bridge” to a full reopening announced Thursday depends on 70 percent of people over 65 getting vaccinated.

Some Democrats and Republicans say their constituents seem to be moving on without the governor.

Illinois House passes health care, voting bills

The Illinois House was busy passing various bills Thursday impacting health care, voting and property owners.

House Bill 2877 codifies federal assistance for landlords, property owners and renters and temporarily halts foreclosure proceedings for homeowners and some landlords. House Bill 1871 continues curbside and mail-in voting.

House Bill 158 supporters say addresses disparities in medical care. All measures must be approved by the Senate.

Income tax deadlines extended

You’ll have more time to file both your federal and state income tax returns.

Both governments announced the deadline has been extended a month from April 15 to May 17. For Illinois’ taxes, returns can be filed for free directly through the state’s website

The state says 2.4 million taxpayers have already filed with nearly 80 percent of those expecting a refund. Last year, more than 6.4 million returns were filed in Illinois.

Illinois to expand vaccine eligibility to all people 16 and older by April 12

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a major expansion of the COVID-19 vaccination program Thursday.

The governor says all Illinois residents who are 16 and older, outside of Chicago, will be eligible for vaccinations starting on April 12.

The state’s mask mandate will continue in accordance with current CDC guidance.

Illinois gamblers expected to spend millions on NCAA basketball tournament

Illinois sports books continue to set records in revenues, and the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball tournament most likely will add to those totals. 

Illinois sports books took in nearly $600 million in January, becoming only the fourth state to take in more than $500 million in sports bets in a single month. 

The Fighting Illini of Illinois is one of the favorites in the tourney, but in-state bettors can’t wager on the team because of restrictions in state law.

Chicago’s Sister Jean gets a bobblehead

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled a limited-edition bobblehead of Loyola University of Chicago’s Sister Jean Schmidt, BVM.

The bobblehead features the 101-year-old in her wheelchair wearing a maroon and gold Loyola letter jacket.

Sister Jean will be in attendance when the Ramblers take on Georgia Tech in the NCAA college basketball tournament Friday.

This article was originally posted on Illinois news in brief for Friday, March 19, 2021

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