Fire forces suspension of Household Hazardous Waste Collections
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week that all Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection events and locations are temporary suspended after a fire broke out at an Ohio facility currently used to dispose of the waste.
The announcement means that upcoming fall one-day HHW collection events in Tinley Park, East Moline, Bloomington, Quincy, and Springfield – as well as the long-term HHW disposal facilities in Chicago, Naperville, Lake County, Rockford, and Madison County that Illinois EPA supports – have suspended operations until an alternative incinerator willing to accept Illinois’ HHW is identified.
Residents in possession of household hazardous waste like oil-based paints, herbicides, cleaning supplies, and household batteries should keep the materials safely stored in their original manufacturer containers until HHW collections can resume.
The Illinois EPA says it remains committed to rescheduling the one-day HHW collection events once an alternative disposal arrangement is available, or the Ohio facility is operational. The agency is hoping to reschedule these events later this fall or early winter.
For more information on Household Hazardous Waste, please visit https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/waste-management/waste-disposal/household-hazardous-waste/Pages/default.aspx.
Biometric privacy class-action settled for Illinois Snapchat users
A settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Snapchat and its parent company, Snap. Inc., was reached this month for $35 million, and could have Snapchat users in Illinois eligible for a payout between $58 to $117.
The original lawsuit alleged that Snapchat’s lenses and filters collected and stored users’ biometric information without informed consent, which would violate the state’s biometric privacy laws.
Illinois’ Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA) prohibits private-sector companies and institutions from collecting biometric data from unsuspecting residents in the state or online. Under Illinois law, that data cannot be sold, transferred, or traded, and citizens are allowed to sue for alleged violations.
Illinois’ BIPA is considered to be one of the nation’s strictest biometric privacy laws and has resulted in several class-action lawsuits against some of the tech industry giants, including Google and Facebook.
Illinois residents who have used lenses or filters on Snapchat since Nov. 17, 2015, which attorneys estimate could be as many as 3.8 million people, may qualify for a piece of the settlement.
Illinois residents who believe they may be eligible have until Nov. 5 to file a claim. You can learn more about the settlement and file a claim here.
Illinois’ unemployment rate is lagging behind
A new analysis of the nation’s jobs report shows that the national average unemployment rate currently sits at 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, Illinois’ own unemployment rate is at 4.4 percent, making it tied for the third highest rate in the nation.
While the state did see 31,200 new jobs from mid-June through mid-July, marking 14 consecutive months of job gains, Illinois still hasn’t fully recovered from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic as the state is still missing 88,600 pre-COVID jobs.
Additionally, the fact that Illinois still has a $1.8 billion unemployment trust fund deficit raises concerns about how much assistance could be provided to Illinoisans who lose their jobs, and how large of a tax increase small businesses within the state could face.
If that $1.8 billion debt isn’t repaid by Nov. 10, the federal government will begin to charge $21 per employee annually on all businesses within the state next year, and businesses will be forced to pay an undetermined higher state tax to fund unemployment programs.
Du Quoin State Fair now underway
While the Illinois State Fair in Springfield may have ended, the Du Quoin State Fair is just now getting started.
The Du Quoin State Fair this year runs from August 26 through September 5, and features agricultural exhibits, livestock shows, auto racing, free entertainment, carnival rides, several contests, educational displays, harness racing, concerts and more.