Change to CCL renewal rules; Recommendations for religious services

State Police accepting applications for renewed concealed carry licenses

The State Police have made an important change to the procedure for submitting applications for concealed carry license (CCL) renewals. Applicants will not be required to submit proof that they have completed renewal training at the time they submitted their application. This change recognizes the fact that such training has been hard to access during the two-plus months of shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. Once the state disaster proclamation is ended, applicants will have 12 months to submit proof that they have completed the required three hours of training.

Applicants may submit their renewal online. Anyone with questions about this or any other aspect of the FOID card or CCL process may visit the State Police website at https://www.ispfsb.com/Public/Faq.aspx.

Public Health releases new recommendations for church services

While still recommending against large public in-person gatherings of any kind, the Department of Public Health (IDPH) yesterday released a new set of recommendations for conducting church services in Illinois. “Recognizing the centrality of worship in may people’s lives and the spiritual and emotional value of prayer, community and faith, this guidance provides recommendations for places of worship that choose to resume or expand in-person activities, and for those that do not,” the recommendations begin.

IDPH continues to advise that the safest option remains remote and/or drive-in services. For places of worship which do not choose that option, IDPH suggests congregating outdoors or in small groups of less than 10 people at a time.  Additional guidance is given for in-person activities, capacity limits, multiple, small services. The Department also reminds that restrooms need to be “regularly sanitized and have sufficient soap and hand sanitizer.”

To read the full set of recommendations, click here.

Local restaurant taking steps to safely re-open

The Pueblo Lindo Mexican restaurant in Paxton is like many other locally-owned businesses trying to get by during the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown. The owner, Guadalupe Olivares-Camilo recently wrote to me to tell the story of what her business has endured, and how they are seeking to get safely re-opened.

“We are only serving at about 25% with the carryout only option, which has forced us to furlough some employees,” she wrote, adding that increased costs for merchandise have also harmed the business. “We really need to start moving forward and start opening, even if we start at half of the capacity of the restaurant, I feel like we could start to see a difference in our sales.”

Guadalupe told me about how willing she is to take the steps to keep her customers and employees safe: closing off booths to keep customers apart, sanitizing of work areas and masks for employees. “As a small business we need the opportunity to start to move forward or we will start to sink.”

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $6,935,003,459 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $6.7 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $137 billion.

Have a very nice weekend

With such nice weather on the way, I hope everyone enjoys this weekend. As more businesses partially re-open, I encourage everyone to stay safe while out and about, to stay home if you feel sick and to remain vigilant about washing your hands. Please respect the wishes of the business owners who so desperately need this step in the re-opening to go smoothly.

With the legislature now adjourned for summer and our area beginning to emerge from the shutdown, I am going to send these updates out a little less frequently. Thank you to everyone for reading and for sharing your feedback and your thoughts on issues in state government. I will be back with another update on Tuesday. Have a very nice weekend.

More news from around the state

The latest update from the Department of Public Health

Unemployment workers allege understaffing, ‘insurmountable’ workloads, fear of infection

Illinois needs more Census participation: only 65% response rate so far

Two Illinois counties continue to have no confirmed coronavirus cases

Illinois could benefit as tourists seek to travel shorter distances

National unemployment passes 40 million due to outbreak

IHSA submits plan to health officials for re-starting high school sports

FAQs about Illinois educator licensure changes

For additional helpful resources, click here.

For continually updated news from state agencies, visit: coronavirus.illinois.gov or my website at repbennett.com 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 dph.sick@illinois.gov.

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).