State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

CHICAGO (AP) - The latest on the aftermath of the shooting of a black teenager by a white Chicago police officer: 

(Posted   2:30 a.m.)

 Most protesters in Chicago seemed to honor pleas for restraint in the hours after the release of a dash-cam video showing the shooting death of a black teen by a white police officer.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Department of Commerce says it has reached tax-break deals with three companies following Gov. Bruce Rauner's recent decision to reinstate corporate tax incentives.

The deals through the EDGE tax-credit program, though, would not provide tax incentives until Rauner and Illinois lawmakers agree on the overdue state budget.

Chicago Police Deparment

Chicago officials have released a video of a white police officer fatally shooting a black teenager last year.  The move follows a judge's order last week to release the squad car dash-cam footage. Seventeen-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014. Police say he refused to drop a knife.

Bibles can no longer be found in the rooms of Northern Illinois University's campus hotel after a secular group complained it had no place in nightstands.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he’s pursuing legal options to prevent Syrian refugees from coming into the state.  Rauner has said there are security threats to America following attacks in Paris.

Prominent clergy members in Chicago are calling for peaceful protests and civil disobedience surrounding the anticipated release of a video showing the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer. 

The Martin Luther King Bridge connecting East St. Louis to St. Louis is set to reopen after being closed for construction.

Profits and sales will be lower than last year, but will the company continue to beat expectations? That question will be answered tomorrow morning when Deere and Company reports 4th quarter and year end results.  

The Illinois law allowing the sale of medical marijuana, also prohibits campaign contributions from companies in the cannabis industry. Now that part of the law is being challenged in federal court.

aka Kath / Flickr/Creative Commons

An initial phase of repairs to the run-down governor's mansion in Springfield is just about complete.

Architect Jeff Evans, who's coordinating the project as a volunteer says it was in bad shape.

"The roof has been replaced. We've got about a week's worth of work to finish up odds and ends. The leaks have stopped. There's no more water infiltration. The next thing will be just to complete the rest of the rehabilitation," Evans said.

That later rehab will include fixing stairs, making an elevator usable, and applying fresh coats of paint.

Hundreds of candidates, or their supporters, stood in line outside the state board of elections office in Springfield Monday morning to turn in petitions. 

Anyone there before 8 AM could have their name listed first should they make it onto the primary ballot. 

Theresa Mah was one of them. She's running for state representative in the second district, in Chicago. Mah says when she knocked on voters' doors to get their signatures most people were supportive. 

Many expressed concern about Illinois' budget:

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration will find a new director for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum instead of hiring an outside search firm. 

The University of Illinois took an unusual step this year to increase its in-state enrollment.  U of I accepted students with lower entrance-exam scores, and increased financial aid by several million dollars.

The Obama Foundation has hired a native Chicagoan and former aide to President Barack Obama for a key role in the development of his presidential library and museum.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has invited ministers and community activists to City Hall to discuss the upcoming release of a police car dashcam video that shows a white officer fatally shooting a black teenager last year.

@ByronTau / Twitter

CHICAGO (AP) - Authorities say a fire that broke out about halfway up the John Hancock Center Saturday was accidental. Five people were injured.

Flames and thick smoke poured out of an east side window on the 50th floor Saturday. Authorities said the fire did not leave the residential unit where it began but the apartment was gutted and other residents on the floor would be displaced.

The Fire department said the fire was accidental. 

 The iconic 99-floor building also has offices, shops and an observation floor popular with tourists. 

jwayne810 / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Officials say they're seeing an uptick in historic renovation projects in the Springfield area thanks to low interest rates, federal historic tax credits and more awareness of the significance of historic buildings.

Springfield Historic Sites Commission vice chairman Steve Myers says he believes there are more projects going on amid an "increased appreciation for history."

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

CHICAGO (AP) - The number of Illinois inmates released on parole has increased as lawmakers look to reduce the prison population. 

But funding to help parolees stay out of trouble has dropped dramatically because of the state budget crisis.

 The number of parolees has grown 14 percent in the past four years, to over 28,000.   The newspaper reports the largest concentration of parolees is living on Chicago's west side. 

The race for Illinois comptroller has narrowed: There will no longer be a Democratic primary. State Sen.Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, has confirmed he will not run.

You could say the Democratic primary race for comptroller is over before it ever began; only today can candidates begin filing paperwork to run.

Illinois is in uncharted territory. It'll soon hit its sixth month without a budget. 

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who dominate the legislature continue to spar about what Illinois' future should look like. Rauner wants to rein in unions; Democrats say that's akin to bolstering business tycoons at the expense of the middle class.

How long can it go on?

Congressman Bobby Rush says he’s seeking re-election to take on the many challenges facing Chicago’s African-American community. In his re-election announcement Friday, Rush made it biblical.

Bank accounts that belong to the widow of a northern Illinois police officer who authorities say killed himself after years of embezzling from a police youth program, will remain frozen.

A Springfield bank will process Illinois sales taxes from cash medical marijuana purchases after submitting the only bid for the contract.

The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago has announced an indictment in what it describes as an ongoing investigation of the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk's office.

The two owners of a Chicago nightclub where 21 people were crushed to death in a stairwell in 2003 have been sentenced to two years of probation.

A labor union representing home health care workers in Illinois has filed legal action to force the government to pay health insurance costs.  SEIU Healthcare Illinois is seeking a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Leslie Munger. 

The chief of staff to Illinois first lady Diana Rauner has been appointed to the state House of Representatives.  Sara Wojcicki Jimenez of Springfield will replace Republican Raymond Poe who resigned last week to become Gov. Bruce Rauner's state agriculture director. 

Bobby Rush is running for re-election, and he says he won’t be resigning any time soon.  Democrat Bobby Rush has represented Chicago’s South Side in Congress since 1993.

Human rights groups in Illinois say they'll continue programming for Syrian refugees, despite the governor's calls to suspend accepting them. As of 2010 Illinois has welcomed around 170 Syrian refugees. 

A task force created by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to figure out how to reduce the number of local governments in the state. That group Thursday voted to recommend restrictions on organized labor. Members listening in via conference call heard an unexpected interlude.