Jennifer Daniels of USCCB talks about aid for Catholic schools in the recent stimulus package. Then, Justin Lombardo of the Archdiocese of Chicago discusses the documented success of Archdiocesan schools with in-person learning during the pandemic as outlined in a study published in an academic journal. Finally, Abe Scarr of Illinois PIRG discusses passage of the Predatory Loan Prevention Act during the recent lame-duck session.
Illinois lawmakers wrapped up an abbreviated session early today, in which they crafted a $42.8 billion budget reliant on borrowing for an upcoming fiscal year that is shrouded in uncertainty wrought by the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. The budget set to take effect July 1 relies on a $5 billion loan from a special Federal Reserve fund created to aid state governments during the pandemic. Legislators hope to pay off the debt with monies from an uncertain additional stimulus package from Congress.
The bishops of Illinois' six Catholic dioceses late yesterday released a uniform plan developed in conjunction with state and local civic and public health officials for reopening churches across the state. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker last week released a detailed "Restore Illinois" plan for reopening regions of the state as the COVID-19 pandemic runs it course. Each bishop also released a personal letter to the faithful in his diocese, with some noting regional modifications to the overall plan.
Executive Director Bob Gilligan talks with newly-appointed Bishop-elect Michael McGovern of the Diocese of Belleville; Lauren McCormack of USCCB's office of government relations on the CARES Act; Jennifer Junis of OSF HealthCare on its partnership with the state of Illinois in remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients via its Pandemic Health Worker Program (PHWP); and Steve Roach of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Springfield on the agency's new COPE Line.