State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

City governments across Illinois are asking to have their state funding put on autopilot.  It’s the latest consequence of Illinois’ 20-month budget stalemate.  The money in question comes from taxes on gasoline, phone bills, and gambling. It's collected by the state and passed along to local governments.  That is, unless the powers that be never agree on a budget.

Testosterone treatment did not improve older men's memory or mental function in the latest results from landmark government research. The results add to evidence that challenges bold anti-aging claims of popular supplements. 

American and United have started selling cheaper "basic economy" fares as they battle discount airlines for the most budget-conscious travelers.  American announced that it began selling the new fares for flights starting March 1 on 10 different routes from its hub airports in Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Illinois State University is asking the public to weigh in on the institution's future.  The school is asking for community input on the challenges ISU is facing and what the university should look like in 15 to 20 years. People are invited to complete a survey online by Feb. 24.

Hundreds of people who own John Deere stock will come to the Quad Cities tomorrow. Michelle O'Neill reports the company's annual meeting will be held at World Headquarters in Moline.

Shareholders will elect twelve directors, including the newest one, Alan Heuberger. He's Senior Manager at BMGI, a consulting firm specializing in strategic problem-solving. Shareholders will also vote on other routine items such as Deere and Company's accounting firm and executive compensation.

There are 9,469 students enrolled at Western Illinois University this spring semester. It's the first time this century Western's student body has dropped below 10,000.

Former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson has been transferred out of the Illinois prison system and is now in a federal prison in Indiana.  Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said Peterson had been transferred but declined to say why or where, citing security.  The federal Bureau of Prisons says Peterson is in the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

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Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs don't always see eye to eye.  But they can agree the rivalry is one of the best in sports. Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Crawford tells us it will be on display in Springfield.

The Cubs versus Cardinals Rivalry exhibit will start March 24 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.  It will run throughout the year.

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School personnel across Illinois are adapting to a new state law that requires districts to have an emergency protocol to deal with asthma emergencies.  Under the new law anyone who works with students must be trained to handle asthma emergencies. 

A group of Illinois legislators are pushing an agenda intended to help farmers who sell at local markets.

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Several hundred people have gathered near Trump Tower in Chicago to protest President Donald Trump.  Today's rally is one of several occurring across the U.S. dubbed "Not My President's Day."  Protesters are speaking out against White House policies on issues ranging from immigration to the environment and health care.

Flickr Creative Commons/John Martinez Pavliga

The issue of how long injured pro athletes should be allowed to earn worker compensation benefits is being debated in Springfield.  The Chicago Bears are leading other Chicago sports franchises in backing a measure that would reduce a former player's ability to tap into workers compensation after a career-ending injury. 

Police say they seized nearly 130 explosives from a home in Normal Illinois.  McLean County Assistant State's Attorney Emily Young says police found 128 explosives devices each containing about a half-ounce of dynamite or explosive powder in the home of 32-year-old Gilbert Wilson.

Several months after first being mentioned as a possible candidate for governor of Illinois, Cheri Bustos has decided against it. Monday the congresswoman from East Moline and the 17th District said she will run for re-election next year instead.

More than 100,000 Illinois drivers were convicted for illegally using their cell phones. That’s since the law went into effect in 2014.

The law says drivers can use their cell phones only with the help of a hands-free device. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office says fewer than one percent of those convictions were from repeat offenders.

Katherine Johnson / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Work has started to remove asbestos from the long-abandoned former Pillsbury Mills plant in Springfield.

Cliff Owen / AP Photo

MARION, Ill. (AP) - Williamson County officials are monitoring the use of a synthetic opioid they say was recently introduced in the area and poses a major threat of overdose.

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

The Illinois House is set to return to Springfield this week. Policymakers are still puzzling through last week's budget proposal by Governor Bruce Rauner. That’s partly because the Rauner administration made a significant break with tradition.

Flickr Creative Commons/Ben Townsend

Municipalities nationwide including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Skokie, Illinois, are urging a federal judge to continue blocking President Donald Trump's travel ban.  New York City's chief lawyer Zachary Carter filed papers in federal court in Brooklyn on behalf of nearly three dozen cities. 

Illinois' 11 Democratic congressmen have signed a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner demanding that he restore funding to domestic violence shelters.  Rep. Cheri Bustos initiated the letter.  Domestic-violence program funding was omitted from a temporary budget last summer. The Department of Human Services waited nearly six months to alert providers. 

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Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Jane Lynch has received an honorary doctoral degree from her alma mater Illinois State University. Lynch is a native of the Chicago suburb of Dolton and a 1982 graduate of Illinois State's theatre program. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Chicago Architecture Today

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says the lawmakers will consider a plan to sell the Thompson Center government office building in downtown Chicago.  Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has been interested in selling the large, glass-paned office building since he took office two years ago. The governor even mentioned the idea during his annual budget address.  Rauner has estimated the state could net $200 million selling the building.

This year at the Grammys - Chicago native Chance The Rapper took home multiple awards, including one for Best New Artist. But another Chicago based group took home its first win, though the category it took the Grammy for goes a little more under the radar.

Earnings fell but sales and revenue rose for Deere and Company during its first quarter. 

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CHICAGO (AP) - Family members of Navy pilot Edward "Butch" O'Hare are gathering at his namesake Chicago airport to mark the 75th anniversary of his heroic World War II mission.

Eric Zarnikow is in charge of Illinois’ program to help low-income students pay college tuition, known as MAP grants. He cheered yesterday when Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed increasing MAP funding by 10 percent, saying it could accommodate 12,000 more students, or increase the size of the grants.

But one thing the proposal does not do is pay for MAP students in school today.

 

Illinois' attorney general says she will appeal a judge ruling denying her request to stop paying state workers unless lawmakers resolve an ongoing budget impasse.  Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the Illinois Constitution requires an enacted appropriation for state spending.

Flickr Creative Commons/Mark Warner

The Chicago Board of Ethics has voted to fine a former aide to President Barack Obama $90,000 for illegally lobbying Chicago's mayor on behalf of Uber.  The board found David Plouffe violated city ethics rules when he failed to register as a lobbyist after contacting Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Flickr Creative Commons/Tom Hilton

Hundreds of people in Chicago are rallying at a demonstration to mark "A Day Without Immigrants."  Similar demonstrations are planned nationwide. Numerous businesses in immigrant-heavy industries, like restaurants, are closing in solidarity.

Flickr Creative Commons/Shauna Karren

An Illinois House committee has cleared a proposal that would require public universities to admit first-time freshman applicants who finish with a GPA in the top 10% of their high school's graduating class.  The House Higher Education Committee passed the bill despite opposition from the University of Illinois and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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