| Firm News
Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 7/14/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- Creation of Court Operations During COVID-19 Task Force
- Governor expediting portion of Coronavirus Relief Fund to local governments
- Chicago travel order for anyone traveling from high-risk states
- Chicago Mayor’s announcement of $56 million grant for contact tracing
- The Illinois Judicial Conference announced it will create a coronavirus task force to address ongoing challenges with court operations surrounding the pandemic. The task force, officially named the Court Operations During COVID-19 Task Force, will analyze and make “recommendations regarding the continuing challenges for the administration of justice resultant from the pandemic.” The task force will address issues such as “how technology might appropriately be used for jury selection and trials; use of remote proceedings in civil and criminal cases; and logistics of maintaining safety for court personnel, litigants and the public.”
- Illinois residents who are recent law school graduates have petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court this week to waive the bar exam requirement for those scheduled to take the test this September. The petition suggests an amendment to Rule 704, allowing “bar applicants who otherwise qualify for admission to the Illinois Bar to be admitted based on a diploma privilege and without taking a bar examination” when “exceptional circumstances” warrant it. Petitioners state that such a waiver would be in line with many other states that have adopted the diploma privilege alternative due to the pandemic, such as Utah, Washington, and Oregon.
- Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced last week that it will expedite a portion of the Coronavirus Relief Fund, designated by the federal CARES Act, to local governments across the state. The process of disbursing the funding could begin as early as this month. According to the press release, “funding will be distributed to municipalities, county governments, and certified local public health departments. Remaining funds will be released by application to other units of local government. The application-based allotment will prioritize local governments serving disproportionately impacted areas [DIAs], low-income zip codes that have had a significant number of cases of COVID 19 among residents.”
- Chicago officials have issued a travel order that requires anyone who visits 15 “high risk” states (states with a significant rise in COVID-19 cases) to quarantine for 14 days. The high-risk states at this time include: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Governor Pritzker has stated that a similar statewide order is not currently required, but if warranted in the future, he would consider it.
- Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot, alongside the Chicago Department of Public Health, has announced a $56 million grant to carry out contact tracing services within the city. The grant will go to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, which will collaborate with the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, National Opinion Research Center (“NORC”) at the University of Chicago, Malcolm X College, and Sinai Urban Health Institute. According to the press release, “[t]his grant will fund the creation of the COVID Contact Tracing Corps and the COVID Resource Coordination Hub, which together will hire 600 people to provide contact tracing services to all of Chicago.” In addition, “[t]he Partnership will be conducting a second competitive bidding process to award the majority of the funding to at least 30 community-based organizations that will recruit and hire the contact tracers and resource coordinators under this grant.”