While short on details, the state and regional guidance finally issued by the White House last week gives us a set of pretty reasonable if difficult-to-achieve goals.

We all know why we need to contain and reduce our risk to the COVID-19 virus: Save lives, preserve health, and get people back to work.

The libertarian-leaning Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) has tried reaching out more to Democratic legislators since Governor Bruce Rauner lost his reelection bid. Rauner at one point was so close to the group that he fired several of his longtime staffers and replaced some of them with IPI staff, which did not work out well, to say the least.

Without fanfare last week, Governor JB Pritzker issued a sweeping executive order (2020-19) granting many health-care providers immunity from civil liability during the COVID-19 crisis.

This is a story about two very different state legislators, representing very different districts with the same strong belief in hope during a time of anguish.

"We know now, just the fact of community spread says that at least one percent, at the very least one percent of our population, is carrying this virus in Ohio today."

That was Ohio Department of Health Director Doctor Amy Acton speaking on March 12, when Ohio had only five confirmed COVID-19 cases. One percent of Ohio's population would be about 117,000 cases. "Community spread" means that the virus was transmitted by someone from inside the community, not someone who brought it in from outside.

The Senate Democrats caucused by phone last week. Among other things, members heard updates about what is happening in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Senate President Don Harmon told members that he, the other legislative leaders, and the governor are working on a list of must-pass bills.

The Democratic primary opponent of State Representative Thaddeus Jones (D-Calumet City) recently ripped into the incumbent for his position on a bill last year to create a new state board that would have the power to cap some prescription drug prices.

Chicago's public radio station WBEZ recently published a story about e-mails between House Speaker Michael Madigan's former consigliere Mike McClain and top staffers in Madigan's office. Federal investigators raided the former ComEd lobbyist's home last year.

Former Governor Rod Blagojevich emerged from prison just like he went in: Defiantly proclaiming his innocence and ostentatiously displaying his carefully-coiffed victimhood.

If you were too young to know about Blagojevich or your memory is hazy, you're now getting a lesson in Rod 101. He knows what reporters want and he's more than happy to give it to them if it serves his purposes. He will say anything, literally anything, to stay in the public eye, no matter how far from the truth it may be. And reporters are eagerly obliging him.

All six Democratic candidates vying to replace former State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) gathered for a candidates' forum last week moderated by Laura Washington of the Sun-Times. Feigenholtz was recently appointed to the Illinois Senate.

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