The Illinois senate chamber Credit: AP Photo/Seth Perlman File

Welcome to the Reader‘s weekday news brief.

  • Illinois’s late payment charges on its bills add up to $1 billion

The state of Illinois has paid $1 billion just for late payment charges on its many bills from the very long state budget impasse, according to the Associated Press. The state has $8.8 billion in overpaid bills as of Monday, according to state comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office. There’s also $2.3 billion in debt that was not approved by the Illinois General Assembly, and Mendoza says Governor Bruce Rauner should explain how the state will pay for it. [Associated Press via the Sun-Times]

  • Chicago police used a conference room in the Trump hotel during the Women’s March

The Trump International Hotel and Tower in River North provided the Chicago Police Department with a complimentary conference room for officers who patrolled the Women’s March Saturday, according to the Tribune. But there was no special message intended. The room was used for a police roll call because of its “central location,” according to CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, and it’s “fairly standard practice” for companies to donate space for police use during large events. “CPD had officers assigned to a number of downtown locations on Saturday to ensure the safety and security of everyone who attended the demonstration,” he said. [Tribune]

  • “Pharmacy deserts” on the south and west sides are a growing problem

Residents of some poor neighborhoods on the south and west sides are facing a growing problem: “pharmacy deserts,” areas facing a lack of access to retail or independent pharmacies. It’s all the more concerning as the importance of pharmacies continues to increase as they provide physicals, vaccinations, testing, access to the medicine that can reverse opioid overdoses, and other important services, according to the Tribune. “A lot of public attention focuses on [prescription drug] insurance, but that’s not enough,” Dima Qato, an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes & policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago said. “Even if medications are affordable, if the pharmacy isn’t accessible, they’re not accessible.” [Tribune]

  • A female-only coworking space has opened in River North

Coworking spaces like WeWork have grown exponentially in popularity over the past few years. Now Chicago has a new one for women only: EvolveHer, located at 358 W. Ontario in River North. Its leaders want to attract and help female entrepreneurs grow. “We really wanted to create a space that fosters collaboration,” founder Alicia Driskill said. “We want this to be the members’ space. This is about building it together.” [Crain’s Chicago Business]

  • Improvements on Michigan train tracks to cut Amtrak travel times to and from Chicago

Passengers traveling on Amtrak trains from Chicago to Michigan will have a shorter travel time thanks to track improvements made by the Michigan Department of Transportation, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. A trip between Chicago and Detroit on the Wolverine Service train will be shortened by about 20 minutes as of Monday. [Crain’s Detroit Business]

  • Rick Bayless’s Fonda Frontera closes in Wicker Park

Celebrity chef Rick Bayless has closed a stand-alone restaurant in Chicago for the first time in his career. Fonda Frontera in Wicker Park closed after brunch Sunday. The location opened in August 2014 as Xoco Bistro but was rebranded as Fonda Frontera in late 2016 to increase business. [Eater Chicago]