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Quick hits: Illinois news in brief for Friday, July 24, 2020

The dome of the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

Bipartisan calls for Illinois legislators to distance from Madigan’s political money amid patronage scandal

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling for their Democratic colleagues to distance themselves from political money controlled by House Speaker Michael Madigan in the wake a utility agreeing they took part in a patronage scandal involving Madigan allies.

While Madigan hasn’t been charged with a crime, Democratic state Rep. Anne Stava-Murray said others should follow her lead and be independent of Madigan’s money. Republicans have demanded Madigan step down.

GOP calls for hearings on unemployment fraud

Republicans are calling for there to be public hearings about what could be millions and millions of dollars of fraud in unemployment benefits.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says they’re cracking down on the reports of people who didn’t apply for benefits getting cards.

But Republicans are demanding there be public hearings to find out how expansive the problem is.

Chicago crews remove Columbus statue overnight

City crews removed the statue of Christopher Columbus from Grant Park overnight.

In an early morning operation, city crews took the bronze statue off of a concrete pedestal.

The statue was installed in 1933 as a gift to celebrate the world’s fair. Just last week police fought with protestors at the statue’s base.

Officials report 3.4 percent COVID-19 positivity rate in Illinois

The latest daily report of COVID-19 cases for Illinois found 1,624 new positives. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is up to 3.4 percent.

There were an additional 20 deaths public officials say are related to the virus for a total of 7,367 since being tracked earlier this year.

New lawsuits claim no public health emergency in some Illinois counties

There isn’t a public health emergency in certain counties in Illinois, that’s the new claim attorney Thomas DeVore has in a slew of lawsuits filed in counties across the state against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 orders.

DeVore filed cases in Clinton, Sangamon, Bond, Richland, and Edgar counties using state public health data for each county arguing it doesn’t rise to the level of an emergency.

He amended the case state Rep. Darren Bailey won in Clay County to reflect the others filed Thursday.

Universities, national labs outline plans for quantum internet

The U.S. Department of Energy laid out a blueprint it says will bring about quantum internet.

The announcement at the University of Chicago brought together several academic institutions and the state and federal government and explained 17 national laboratories will serve as a backbone for the network they say will better control and transmit information more securely.

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