County Fair season in our area; Driver’s License deadline extended

Another great County Fair season

One of the best parts of summer in east-central Illinois is our county fairs – there is nothing quite like it. The food, the competitions, the old (and new) friends, the shows, the games and fun – they all combine to create a summertime event like no other.

Our area has some of the best county fairs in the state – thanks in large part to some really great local organizers and volunteers who make them such a success every year – it takes organization, work, flexibility and dedication. Thanks also to the many exhibitors and participants in groups like 4-H and the FFA and all those who make our county fairs so special.

Last weekend I got to stop by the Livingston and Iroquois County Fairs. I appreciated the many great conversations around agriculture, farming, crops, rain, livestock and family.

Secretary of State extends driver’s license expiration until December 1

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has announced that the expiration dates for Illinois driver’s licenses and ID cards have been extended to December 1. The expiration date had previously been set for July 31, but now licenses and ID cards, as well as learner’s permits, will remain valid until December 1.

The SOS is also continuing to encourage Illinoisans to take advantage of the online options which his office offers, not only for renewing licenses and ID cards, but also for such services are as purchasing license plate stickers or obtaining duplicate licenses. Some services must be conducted in person, like first-time driver’s license applications, REAL ID cards and renewals for drivers over the age of 75.

You can find more information from the Secretary of State at

Unemployment debt might have to be paid for with tax hike on jobs

During the pandemic Illinois, like a lot of other states, borrowed money from the federal government to pay the large number of unemployment claims which were suddenly filed. But unlike most of those states, Illinois did not pay back the loan, even though the state had the funds to do so. This spring’s state budget made a partial payment, but left $1.8 billion unpaid, with no stated plan for how to pay it back.

If the state does not pay back the full amount it owes to the federal Unemployment Insurance trust fund, it could be forced to make up the difference by raising taxes on employers and cutting benefits for the unemployed. Now that Illinois has missed the deadline for making the payment in full, the debt is accumulating interest, which will only make it harder to repay.

Illinois could have repaid this debt in full, and spared Illinoisans the possibility of having taxes on jobs increased, but instead the budget prioritized other spending projects. Now this growing debt remains and we have heard no plan for how the state will eventually pay for it.

DNR reminding hunters about late-summer hunting opportunities

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced the dates for late-summer hunting seasons throughout the state. Anyone in need of an Illinois hunting license can click here for a list of participating vendors.

The first of these late-summer seasons (squirrel) starts August 1 and runs through February 15, with closures during firearm deer season in the late fall. Other seasons open later in the year, mostly in early September. Visit the DNR website for more details on daily limits and other information about these hunting seasons.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $1,892,684,603 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $3.8 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 $141 billion.

Did You Know?

One of America’s most famous frontier lawmen was an Illinoisan. Wyatt Earp, known for his role in the 1881 shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, was born in Monmouth, Illinois, in 1848. But Earp’s time in Illinois was much more checkered than his Hollywood reputation. Long before moving to Tombstone, Earp first exchanged gunfire in Beardstown, Illinois, with a local bully – avoiding injury himself but wounding the other shooter. After more trouble in Peoria Earp headed west to make a fresh start.

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