State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is set to get a new leader in July.  He has experience running presidential libraries.

Illinois' governor today used his executive authority to centralize, and potentially speed up an administrative process that's in play when a doctor misbehaves, a welfare recipient has a problem with benefits, or an employee alleges discrimination. 

A measure to change Illinois’ constitution affecting how legislative districts are drawn is one step closer to making it onto the November ballot.  The Independent Maps campaign has raised more than 580,000 signatures in support of the proposal, twice the number required.  

No overtime for home care workers

38 minutes ago

Starting this weekend home care workers paid by Illinois won’t be allowed to work over 40 hours a week. That’s because Governor Bruce Rauner says the state can’t afford to pay overtime and a new federal law requires it.  

When Cheap Trick was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame earlier this month, 17 year old Bloomington High School junior Bridget Lantz was thrilled for her father Doug, a huge fan of the band since he was a teen. For this edition of “What’s On Your Turntable,” Doug pulled out a mitt full of Cheap Trick albums from his collection to play for Bridget. The two spent the better part of an hour swapping stories about the band and interpreting song lyrics.

An Illinois state senator is urging the state to strip Dennis Hastert of the taxpayer-funded pension he receives from when he was state legislator. 

Illinois is one of 33 states not tracking the use of a toxic firefighting foam that has prompted the military to check U.S. bases for potential groundwater contamination caused by chemicals.

Students living illegally in the U.S. who struggle to pay for college because they don't qualify for financial aid are urging Illinois lawmakers to make them eligible for state help.

Police at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus are investigating the appearance of three large swastikas in campus buildings.  Administrators say an employee has been fired over an apparently unrelated noose left on a table in a work area.

Chicago State University / Facebook

Seniors at Chicago State University now have their degrees after surviving a tumultuous year. The university was scheduled to close Friday because of the 10-month long state budget impasse. There was some funding this week but the university remains on the brink.


That was obvious at this week’s graduation. The event was not a solemn ceremony. Instead, it was a political rally for students capping a very political school year. Illinois Public Radio’s Tony Arnold reports.

Before the graduation ceremony - students in black robes and green sashes were running around backstage - finding the right place to line up. Eric Giddens was in the hall with his nursing school classmates.

ARNOLD: You got a job lined up?


GIDDENS: Well yeah. I had clinicals and some of the clinical sites, they told me I could come back afterwards and try so hopefully I’ll get in.

Giddens says he’s graduating in spite of everything else going on. Chicago State didn’t get any state money for 10 months because of the impasse at the Statehouse. Neither did any other Illinois public university. But Chicago State was the closest to closing. Administrators even canceled Spring Break - and moved up graduation just to make sure it’d have the money for seniors like Giddens to finish the semester.

GIDDENS: When we were going through school, everything got rushed up, all the deadlines got pushed up and it was like really stressful. But now that it’s over with, I’m just happy that we made it. And I feel for the classes that come after us because they’re gonna have it a lot harder than we did but hopefully everything gets resolved.

Rusty Blazenhoff / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois patients who want to use medical marijuana legally will try again to expand the program to include chronic pain, diabetes, migraine and other health conditions. Monday's meeting of the state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board could lead to new recommendations, but Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has twice before rejected the board's suggestions. 

LandBetweenTheLakesKYTN / Flickr/Creative Commons

WILMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - For the first time, a national grassland preserve in northeastern Illinois has added to its bison herd through newborns - and not just one or two.

Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Radio

Gov. Bruce Rauner was met with a mixed reception Thurs., when he stopped at the University of Illinois Urbana campus. The governor was there to congratulate students who had won awards for innovative technology. 

Rauner received applause from those who came to see the awarding of the Illinois Innovation Prize. But he was heckled by demonstrators who blamed him for the budget impasse that’s held up state funding for higher education -- except for some recently approved stopgap funding.

Over 200 local residents filled the Rock Island Arsenal Museum Wednesday night, to voice concerns about the possible relocation of many of its artifacts. 

Following the signing this week of an emergency funding bill for higher education in Illinois, money for the Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants, has been released. But while students attending colleges on the semester system will receive about half the money they were expecting, those on the quarter system will get just one-third.

The City of Galesburg is honoring its native son, Carl Sandburg, with a sculpture of the poet alongside Nellie the Goat. On Saturday (4/30), the almost 10 foot tall bronze sculpture will be unveiled in Central Park as part of the 21st Carl Sandburg Festival.

A youthful mistake could be a burden for life, according to a study released Thursday by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission.

Illinois Governor "Optimistic" About Long-Term Budget Deal

Apr 28, 2016

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said he's hopeful he and Democratic lawmakers can reach a two-year budget deal by the end of next month. The state's already gone 10 months without a budget and that's crippled higher education and human services.

Illinois business leaders say the state could significantly grow jobs related to math and science if it can develop the workforce needed to do those jobs.

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - A faculty union at the University of Illinois' Champaign-Urbana campus plans a five-day strike after contract talks with the school Wednesday ended without a settlement. 

Shawn Gilmore is president of the Nontenure Faculty Coalition Local 6546. He says union members voted "overwhelmingly" Wednesday evening to authorize a five-day strike. The strike is to start Thursday with picketing is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. at the English Building. The union went on a two-day strike earlier this month.

Updated 12:30 p.m., April 27  with CEO comments - There is still no firm timeline for production to resume at the U.S. Steel plant in Granite City.  The company continues to describe the shutdown as temporary and operations will not start again until demand picks up. 

Rauner hopeful for budget deal by end of next month

Apr 27, 2016

Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner says he's hopeful he and Democratic lawmakers can reach a 2-year budget deal by the end of next month.   The state's already gone 10 months without a budget and that's left higher education and human services crippled. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner visited Auburn High School this morning. Rauner told students the main reason he was in their gymnasium was to thank their teachers for doing the most important job in the America. But he also promoted his plan to increase school funding statewide by about $50 million.


That plan would end up costing some needy districts millions of dollars, while adding funds to wealthier areas, because the money would be funneled through a formula widely described as the most inequitable in the nation.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's attorney says his client accepts the sentence and will focus on addressing his health issues and "healing the emotional damage" inflicted on his family and friends. 

Illinois business leaders say they want the state to invest more money in early education to meet the demands of a growing job market centered on math and science.

Tax Policy Group Blasts Illinois Graduated Tax Legislation

Apr 27, 2016

Members of a tax policy group based in Washington D.C., came to Springfield Tuesday to oppose two pieces of legislation that would change Illinois' income tax from a flat rate to rates based on how much a taxpayer earns. The change would depend on lawmakers passing a proposed amendment to the state's constitution and voters approving it in the fall.

The bathroom Alex McCray used during his sophomore year at Williamsville High School was small, dark, subject to extreme temperature fluctuations, and inconveniently located. Near the end of his junior year, he asked school administrators to allow him to use the boys' bathroom. McCray, who was born female, has identified as male for several years.

Members of a tax policy group based in Washington D.C., came to Springfield today to oppose two pieces of legislation that would change Illinois' income tax from a flat rate to rates based on how much a taxpayer earns. 

A new report says University of Chicago Medicine is asking for too much in its $269 million expansion proposal.

Lawyers for Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the largest state employees' union are making their case about whether negotiations on a new labor agreement have stalled.