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Illinois State Capitol Building

The Illinois State Capitol is seen Tuesday, June 19, 2012 Springfield, Ill.

Seth Perlman

WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: Illinois Lawmakers Take Big Swings And Misses

Hey there! It’s Tuesday, and it’s already June? Happy Pride month to all those who celebrate. Here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. Cocktails to-go, state budget and ethics reforms approved by Illinois lawmakers

State lawmakers took some big swings — and misses — this Memorial Day weekend as the spring legislative session ended.

Among the big accomplishments were a $42 billion budget that’s flushed with federal pandemic relief funds and includes no major tax increases. Lawmakers also approved ethics reforms that bar elected officials in the state from lobbying local units of governments.

And the Illinois Senate approved a House-backed bill compelling public schools to place “menstrual hygiene” products in bathrooms, including boy’s bathrooms to accommodate transgender students.

As WBEZ’s Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney report, lawmakers didn’t advance two big issues: an elected school board in Chicago and a bailout of three financially struggling nuclear power plants. It’s not immediately clear what will happen now. [WBEZ]

Oh, and lawmakers extended the pandemic-era “cocktails to-go” until 2024. [NBC Chicago]

2. Trump supporters believe there will be a Myanmar-style coup

A dangerous conspiracy theory has taken hold among former President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters and QAnon followers: Trump will be reinstated after a deadly coup similar to one that took place in Myanmar earlier this year.

The conspiracy theory has been around for months, but it’s receiving more widespread attention after Michael Flynn, who served as a national security adviser in the Trump White House, on Sunday appeared to endorse a U.S. coup. [CNN]

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman on Twitter points out this “isn’t happening in a vacuum.” The conspiracy theory comes as his supporters are pushing for audits of last year’s election because of Trump’s baseless claims that the election was rigged.

The former president also reportedly believes the coup theory.

“Trump has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August (no that isn’t how it works but simply sharing the information),” Haberman writes. [Twitter]

3. Biden announces plans to reduce wealth gap between Black and white Americans

President Joe Biden today unveiled a series of policies to boost minority-owned businesses and homeowners as he visits Tulsa, Okla., where a white mob killed hundreds of Black Americans in 1921.

Part of the president’s plan includes setting aside $10 billion in infrastructure funds to help rebuild disadvantaged neighborhoods across the country. Biden also announced the federal government will direct about $100 billion in federal contracting to minority-owned businesses over the next five years. [CNN]

Biden today met with survivors of the Tulsa massacre, one of the worst outbreaks of racial violence in the nation’s history. The New York Times consulted with historians and used archival maps and photographs to create a 3-D model of the Greenwood neighborhood, where the deadly destruction took place. [NYT]

4. Dogs may be surprisingly effective at sniffing out COVID-19

Preliminary studies suggest that dogs could be better at detecting COVID-19 than rapid antigen testing, reports The New York Times.

“For dogs, the smell is obvious, just like grilled meat for us,” Dr. Kaywalee Chatdarong, a researcher at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, told the newspaper.

Many countries, including the U.S., are developing programs that utilize sniffer dogs in public spaces, like airports and other transportation hubs. Proponents say the dogs are cheaper and work faster than other forms of testing. [NYT]

In Chicago, the average number of cases has fallen to its lowest point since the start of the pandemic, said Dr. Allison Arwady, the city’s top public health official. [COVID Dashboard]

5. What do you call Chicago’s LGBTQ neighborhood?

Is it Rainbow Way? Northalsted? Just Lakeview? Or still Boystown?

I’m genuinely asking, because the debate over changing the neighborhood’s name from Boystown to something more inclusive is still going on, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The issue heated up last year during protests over racial equality in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd. Critics said the gendered name excluded lesbians, people of color and transgender and nonbinary people.

The Northalsted Business Alliance, which represents businesses in the area, agreed last year to promote the neighborhood as Northalsted, and it recently unveiled street banners with the new moniker.

But that doesn’t appear to have solved the situation, with some people preferring different names and others remaining loyal to Boystown. A protest march is set for June 13, and it could indicate how much momentum remains behind the issue. [Chicago Tribune]

Here’s what else is happening

  • A walkout by House Democrats in Texas intensified a battle over restricting voting access. [NPR]
  • Florida banned transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports. [Chicago Tribune]
  • Many top athletes are supporting Naomi Osaka and her decision to pull out of the French Open. [NPR]
  • A transparent pool between two skyscrapers? No, thanks! [Twitter]

Oh, and one more thing …

Hollywood is busting out the champagne after the Memorial Day weekend signaled the box office is back for the summer blockbuster season.

Industry observers estimated A Quiet Place II would only make about $30 million over the holiday weekend. But the movie shattered expectations and is projected to gross $57 million.

The success of A Quiet Place II, which was exclusively released in theaters and could have just been called A Quieter Place, may cause studios to rethink the strategy of simultaneously releasing films in theaters and on streaming services.

For example, Disney’s Cruella was available in theaters and Disney+. It earned about $26.5 million over the weekend, leading some analysts to think the film could have made more if it had been released solely in theaters. [Deadline]

Tell me something good ...

I spent the Memorial Day weekend reading a ton of books, so I’d like to know what is a good book you recently read.

I finished A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet in one day. The book is an allegory about climate change, and it follows a group of kids who work together to survive an apocalyptic event as their parents mostly get drunk.

Feel free to email or tweet me, and your responses might pop up here this week.

Feel free to email me at therundown@wbez.org or tweet me at @whuntah.

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