Pritzker to implement plans to improve state in 2020


Daily file photo by Emma Edmund

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Pritzker released a five-year plan in October with the intent of revitalizing the state’s economy.

Jacob Fulton, Assistant City Editor

Gov. J.B. Pritzker will take steps to transform Illinois in the new decade, including creating a plan to improve the state’s economy and implementing a new program for the 2020 U.S. Census.

Pritzker released a plan in October to energize the state’s economy in the next five years. In the report, he set goals based around three priorities: preparing the state for long-term growth, reducing the equity gap and bringing more businesses and workers to Illinois. Pritzker said in an interview with Crain’s Chicago Business that the plan would prepare a foundation for growth.

The governor’s office identified six key industries to focus on over the next five years, including agribusiness and agricultural technology, energy and information technology.

The plan also focuses on developing relationships between community colleges and local businesses to form apprenticeship programs that encourage the involvement of formerly incarcerated people in the workforce, among other goals.

Pritzker has also invested state funds in the 2020 Census. In June, he signed an executive order to create an office focused on census outreach, and, in October, he announced the state will distribute $20 million to local organizations.

Pritzker said in a news release that it was the single largest investment in the 2020 Census by any state.

The census, which occurs once a decade, is essential in distributing government funding, House seats and electoral votes to states. According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois is at risk of losing one or two congressional seats.

Pritzker told NPR in June that he hopes the new census office and funding will ensure state-wide accuracy in the 2020 count.

The state will also see the effects of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which legalized the recreational cannabis use in the state. Residents who are 21 and older are legally allowed to possess up to 30 grams of the substance as of Jan. 1.

Pritzker pardoned over 11,000 low-level cannabis-related offenders on Dec. 31 for charges that became legal under the new law. State officials estimate that approximately 116,000 convictions could be overturned under the new law.

At the pardoning event, Pritzker said “the defining purpose of legalization is to maximize equity for generations to come,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Those convicted of possession charges of 30 grams or less can appeal to the state to have their charges overturned. People convicted on charges of 30-500 grams may also have their cases overturned, but the process won’t be automatic — instead, each person must appeal to the governor’s office to change their conviction, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Illinois State Police and State attorney’s offices will also continue to search for eligible cases to automatically pardon throughout 2020.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jacobnfulton1

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