Joel Ebert

Joel Ebert is The Daily Line's reporter covering the Illinois state government. He covered politics in Illinois, South Dakota and West Virginia before joining The Tennessean in 2016 to report on the Tennessee General Assembly and state government. In West Virginia, he worked as a daily statehouse reporter before transitioning to provide daily coverage of the trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who became the first chief executive of a major corporation convicted of a workplace safety crime. A native of Illinois and graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Ebert is a student of Chicago politics whose work has been cited by national media. He’s received awards from the press associations in South Dakota, West Virginia and Tennessee, including the Malcolm Law Award for investigative reporting. In 2019, he was a National Press Foundation fellow.

MAY 07, 2021

Republicans blasted Democrats for holding closed-door redistricting discussions. And Gov. JB Pritzker weighed in on the Chicago elected school board bill and announced an evidence-based education funding boost.

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MAY 05, 2021

Lightfoot, Pritzker expressed optimism about full reopening by July 4. A House committee anticipates holding a hearing on a recent audit about the LaSalle Veterans’ Home. And Catholic bishops expressed concern about one of Pritzker’s proposed tax changes.

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News in brief: Lightfoot wants Chicago fully reopened by July 4, Pritzker ‘optimistic’ state is on a similar timeline

Lightfoot, Pritzker expressed optimism about full reopening by July 4. A House committee anticipa...
APR 09, 2021

News in brief: Hospitality industry calls for more help from state; Cook County outlines next phase of vaccination effort 

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News in brief: Hospitality industry calls for more help from state; Cook County outlines next phase of vaccination effort

News in brief: Hospitality industry calls for more help from state; Cook County outlines next pha...
APR 08, 2021

News in brief: Dowell launches Secretary of State election campaign; Pritzker, Blackhawks make joint announcement 

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News in brief: Dowell launches Secretary of State election campaign; Pritzker, Blackhawks make joint announcement

News in brief: Dowell launches Secretary of State election campaign; Pritzker, Blackhawks make jo...
APR 05, 2021

News in brief: CTA tests electric buses; Pritzker signs CTU bargaining bill

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TDL Chicago Morning Briefs: Monday, March 05

News in brief: CTA tests electric buses; Pritzker signs CTU bargaining bill
APR 05, 2021

News in brief: CTA tests electric buses; Pritzker signs CTU bargaining bill 

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News in brief: CTA tests electric buses; Pritzker signs CTU bargaining bill

News in brief: CTA tests electric buses; Pritzker signs CTU bargaining bill 
APR 01, 2021

News in brief: Former Sen. Annazette Collins indicted; Department of Corrections provides COVID-19 vaccine update 

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News in brief: Former Sen. Annazette Collins indicted; Department of Corrections provides COVID-19 vaccine update

News in brief: Former Sen. Annazette Collins indicted; Department of Corrections provides COVID-1...
MAR 23, 2021

News in brief: New mass vaccination site launched in Forest Park; land bank director resigns to “pursue other opportunities 

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News in brief: New mass vaccination site launched in Forest Park; land bank director resigns to “pursue other opportunities”

News in brief: New mass vaccination site launched in Forest Park; land bank director resigns to “...
MAR 16, 2021

News in brief: Cook County launches ‘My Shot’ vaccine campaign; Chicago Department of Housing releases Racial Equity Impact Assessment; Mendoza announces tax relief

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TDL Chicago Morning Briefs: March 16

News in brief: Cook County launches ‘My Shot’ vaccine campaign; Chicago Department of Housing rel...
MAR 16, 2021

News in brief: Cook County launches ‘My Shot’ vaccine campaign; Chicago Department of Housing releases Racial Equity Impact Assessment; Mendoza announces tax relief 

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SEP 21, 2021
A new report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability examined the state of Illinois’ various wagering industries (Credit: Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability)

The state lottery racked up $3.4 billion in sales in Fiscal Year 2021, making it the second-most lucrative year for the program on record, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report on wagering in Illinois.  

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Lottery sales soared last year as most other gaming in Illinois struggled: report

A new report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability examined the state...
SEP 21, 2021

Gov. JB Pritzker announced new funding for vulnerable residents to help keep the lights on, as well as a new union agreement for vaccinating some state employees.  

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SEP 20, 2021
Illinois Housing Development Authority executive director Kristin Faust speaking during an event in February. The authority on Friday approved a series of resolutions that will officially trigger the start of several affordable housing-related programs in Illinois. [Facebook]

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) on Friday approved a series of resolutions that will officially trigger the start of several affordable housing-related programs in Illinois, including a new law that will allocate $75 million to qualified developers.  

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IHDA approves resolutions to launch new affordable housing programs

Illinois Housing Development Authority executive director Kristin Faust speaking during an event ...
SEP 17, 2021
Members of the Legislative Audit Commission challenged Illinois Department of Employment Security director Kristin Richards (center) and other agency officials during a March 2021 meeting. 

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) did not perform wage verifications for claimants of unemployment benefits who received a total of $155 million through June 2020, potentially resulting in “erroneous” benefit payments to some recipients, according to an audit released this month 

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IDES did not verify info, lacked documents for unemployment benefits, audit shows

Members of the Legislative Audit Commission challenged Illinois Department of Employment Securit...
SEP 17, 2021
The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday listened to attorneys on both sides of a case involving an Illinois resident who had his Firearm Owner’s Identification card revoked in 2016. 

Attorneys on behalf of an Illinois resident who had his Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card revoked and the state attorney general’s office pleaded their cases before the Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday, urging the justices to side with them in a case that could have implications for residents with criminal histories applying for gun licenses 

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Illinois Supreme Court considers arguments in FOID case

The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday listened to attorneys on both sides of a case involving a...
SEP 16, 2021
Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act into law on Wednesday. 

Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday signed the recently approved omnibus energy bill into law, declaring it one of the “most comprehensive and importance pieces of legislation” in decades, “maybe ever.” 

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Pritzker signs energy bill into law, declaring it most ‘important’ measure in decades

Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act into law on Wednesday.  Gov. JB Pritzk...
SEP 16, 2021
Becky Dragoo, the deputy director of the Illinois Department of Public Health's Office of Healthcare Regulation, faced critical questions from lawmakers on Wednesday. 

Lawmakers on Wednesday pushed an Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) official for answers on a wide range of topics that largely centered on the deadly impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on residents of the state’s long-term care facilities.  

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IDPH draws ire of lawmakers as Illinois nursing homes register spike in complaints

Becky Dragoo, the deputy director of the Illinois Department of Public Health's Office of Healthc...
SEP 15, 2021

The Illinois Supreme Court returned to Springfield this week to kick off its September term, in which the high court is set to consider cases that could have implications on assault weapons bans, the state’s firearms identification system and the Freedom of Information Act.  

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Illinois Supreme Court to consider cases over FOID cards, assault weapons and FOIA in September docket

The Illinois Supreme Court returned to Springfield this week to kick off its September term, in w...
SEP 15, 2021

Gov. JB Pritzker and U.S. Reps. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) on Tuesday called for Congress to pass a federal law protecting abortion rights. And JCAR urged the state board of education to update rules over school revocations. 

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News in brief: Pritzker calls for federal abortion protections; JCAR urges board of education to update rules over school revocations

Gov. JB Pritzker and U.S. Reps. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) and Raja Krishnam...
SEP 14, 2021
Sen. Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) and Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) addressed reporters Monday after the Senate’s passage of the omnibus energy bill. 

The Senate on Monday concurred with the House version of the omnibus energy bill, allowing the measure to head to Gov. JB Pritzker, who has vowed to sign it.  

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Senate approves ‘aggressive, progressive’ energy bill, sending it to Pritzker, who promises signature

Sen. Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) and Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) addressed repo...
SEP 13, 2021
House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) at a news conference in June. During Thursday’s floor debate, Welch urged his colleagues to set aside politics and rhetoric while considering the omnibus energy bill. 

Despite months of gridlock, the House vote to approve the omnibus energy bill on Thursday was overwhelmingly in favor of the legislation. The bill (SB 2408), which required 71 votes for approval, ultimately received 83 yes votes.  

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Omnibus energy bill scrambles party lines in echo of 2016 energy law

House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) at a news conference in June. During Thursday’s floor deb...
SEP 13, 2021
Illinois recorded more opioid overdose deaths in 2020 than any other year on record. (Photo: US Department of Homeland Security) 

Illinois recorded more opioid overdose deaths in 2020 than any other year on record, according to report released last month from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).  

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Opioid overdose deaths in Illinois set record in 2020: report

Illinois recorded more opioid overdose deaths in 2020 than any other year on record. (Photo: US ...
SEP 10, 2021
Rep. Jay Hoffman, Rep. Marcus Evans and Rep. Robyn Gabel addressed reporters Thursday night after the passage of the omnibus energy bill.

The Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday approved yet another version of the omnibus energy bill, signaling the most significant movement to date for an issue that has been years in the making. The chamber’s approval is set to be confirmed by the Senate on Monday so it can head to the governor’s desk.   

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House approves ‘monumental’ energy bill supported by Pritzker, advocates, sending issue back to Senate

Rep. Jay Hoffman, Rep. Marcus Evans and Rep. Robyn Gabel addressed reporters Thursday night after...
SEP 10, 2021

The House on Thursday accepted Gov. JB Pritzker’s amendatory veto of the ethics bill. And businessman Jesse Sullivan entered the race to be the GOP nominee for governor.  

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News in brief: House accepts Pritzker’s amendatory veto of ethics bill; Jesse Sullivan enters GOP race for governor

The House on Thursday accepted Gov. JB Pritzker’s amendatory veto of the ethics bill. And busines...
SEP 09, 2021
Eureka College president Jamel Wright on Wednesday endorsed an effort by Rep. Tom Bennett (R-Gibson) to add a statue honoring former President Ronald Reagan to the Capitol grounds.

Former President Ronald Reagan is the first and only president of the United States to be born, raised and educated in Illinois and as such should have a statue honoring him on the state Capitol ground, a college president told a panel of lawmakers on Wednesday.  

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College president welcomes effort to add Reagan statue to Capitol grounds

Eureka College president Jamel Wright on Wednesday endorsed an effort by Rep. Tom Bennett (R-Gib...
SEP 09, 2021

Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced a probe of the Joliet Police Department. And Rep. Mike Halpin (D-Rock Island) will run for the state Senate. 

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News in brief: Raoul to probe practices of Joliet Police Department; Rep. Mike Halpin announces bid for state Senate

Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced a probe of the Joliet Police Department. And Rep. Mike Hal...
SEP 08, 2021
The need for workers across various Illinois job sectors has resulted in an increase in starting pay, according to a new report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. [Unsplash]

The need for workers across various Illinois job sectors has resulted in an increase in starting pay, according to a new report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). 

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Hot demand for workers in Illinois is pushing up wages: report

The need for workers across various Illinois job sectors has resulted in an increase in starting...
SEP 08, 2021
In May, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White warned residents about the dangers of phishing schemes. 

Sending legal notices to Illinois drivers via email could expose the state to cybersecurity risks, Secretary of State Jesse White wrote in a message to lawmakers eager to end the office’s reliance on snail mail. 

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Expanding email notification system for drivers ‘not practical’ due to phishing scams, White says

In May, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White warned residents about the dangers of phishing sc...
SEP 08, 2021

House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) announced the House will return on Thursday to take up the pending energy bill. And former U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson III has died. 

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News in brief: Welch announces House’s return to take up energy bill; former U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson III dies

House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) announced the House will return on Thursday to take up the...
SEP 07, 2021
A newly filed House bill requires Prairie State Energy Campus and other municipal facilities to meet emissions reduction goals before their closure.

Facing a Sept. 13 deadline for the closure of the one of the state’s nuclear facilities, House lawmakers revealed some of their priorities before the holiday weekend for the omnibus energy bill that recently passed the Senate. 

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Newly amended energy bill headed for House as deadline looms

A newly filed House bill requires Prairie State Energy Campus and other municipal facilities to m...