State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and black state legislators are escalating a fight that began earlier this week.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week means shoppers will more often be paying sales taxes for online purchases. It might also have meant a windfall for state government, but Illinois lawmakers anticipated the decision and already spent the money.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says that 66 of the more than 2,300 migrant children separated from their families at the border in recent weeks under President Donald Trump's ''zero tolerance" policy are in Chicago area shelters.

The Republican-led House has narrowly passed a sweeping farm bill that would toughen work requirements for food stamp recipients.

Southern Illinois University President Randy Dunn survived a vote by the school's board of trustees to place him administrative leave.

The federal government has agreed to match billions of dollars in Medicaid funding for Illinois hospitals around the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has agreed to investigate a confirmed case of West Nile virus in Illinois.

The White House has issued an executive order that purports to end the separation of children from their parents at the border.

Officials say that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that retailers must collect sales tax from buyers in other states could mean more than $200 million a year to Illinois.

Hemp has been used for centuries to make rope, fishnets, paper, car parts, fuel and much more. It’s an unruly crop. It’s skinny, it’s tall, but what has made it controversial is that it’s a derivative of the cannabis plant.

Chuck Bleyer is worried the southern Illinois school district he heads won’t be able to fill an open teacher position by the time classes start this fall.


Peoria Public Radio

President Trump signed an executive order today that keeps the “zero tolerance” immigration policy in place, but stops children from being taken from their families at the border.

Congressman Darin LaHood says separating families was never a long-term solution and was happy to see the president end it.

Images_of_Money / Flickr/Creative Commons

In Illinois, somebody being paid minimum wage would have to work 99 hours a week to afford the average two-bedroom apartment.  That’s according to a new study.

The study found the average cost for a two bedroom apartment in the state is more than one-thousand dollars a month. 

Sharon Legenza is Executive Director of Housing Action Illinois.

A former state executive inspector general will investigate the Illinois House of Representatives after several sexual harassment scandals.

Officials say crews will be working to repair a section of Interstate 55 in central Illinois where the roadway buckled in the recent high temperatures. 

A team of Chicago Tribune reporters looked into cases of sexual misconduct in the city's public schools spanning a decade. Their series 'Betrayed' tells the stories of students abused by educators or other school employees. We talked to David Jackson — one of the reporters involved — about what they uncovered. 

The SIU Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting later this week to talk about placing the system's president on leave and appointing an acting president.

The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at Evergreen Hall on the SIU-Edwardsville campus.

Illinois is losing residents, according to recent census estimates, and common explanations include high taxes, unfriendly business policies or the state’s growing pension debt.

An article from the watchdog group Better Government Association examines those claims. The BGA’s senior editor, Bob Secter, says they distract from a deeper look at demographic trends.

Illinois has struggled for decades to persuade high school graduates to stay in-state for college. The recent two-year budget impasse only made things worse. Now, a group of lawmakers has a plan to reverse the trend, starting with the state’s Monetary Award Program.

Illinois' Medicaid program will soon provide preventative dental care for almost half a million low-income residents.

Illinois will soon mint commemorative coins to mark the state’s 200th birthday. They're the latest in a string of products the state is offering to mark its bicentennial year.

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs hosted a several months-long contest, challenging designers to capture Illinois’ history on a single coin face. Submissions poured in from far and wide, but they were eventually whittled down to five finalists, whose designs were then voted on by the public.

  CHICAGO - A new organization to promote, remember and protect African American firefighters and emergency workers is opening its doors on the Chicago's southwest side.

 

The Black Fire Brigade will officially open its doors with a June 23 ceremony at the brigade's new home that will include the unveiling of a memorial to the 13 black Chicago firefighters and paramedics who have died in the line of duty.

 

WTTW-Channell 11

  CHICAGO - Elizabeth Brackett, a longtime Chicago journalist and world-champion triathlete, has died four days after an apparent bicycle accident. She was 76.

 

PBS affiliate WTTW, where Brackett hosted "Chicago Tonight" for two decades, said on its website Brackett died in the hospital surrounded by family members.

 

Brackett had been in a coma with a fractured vertebra in her neck following the apparent fall Wednesday morning near the city's lakefront bike trail. She had been training for a triathlon.

LinkedIn

  SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The superintendent of Illinois historic sites including the Old State Capitol and Lincoln Tomb has been tapped to serve as curator of the newly remodeled Illinois Governor's Mansion.

Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Friday that Justin A. Blandford will start in the position Monday.

He'll be responsible for programs and events that will focus more on history and education, and for attracting visitors to the historic building.

Marco Krohn / Wikimedia Commons

  MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (AP) - Could southern Illinois be the final frontier for bitcoin miners? Actor William Shatner thinks so and is recruiting new tenants at a solar-powered mining facility in the area.

The former Star Trek actor is the spokesman for the alternative energy developer Solar Alliance. The company plans to convert an abandoned label-making factory in Murphysboro into a solar-powered bitcoin mining operation.

 

Medicaid recipients who aren’t happy with their managed care plan have until the end of the month to switch. After that, they’ll be locked into their current health plan for the remainder of the year.

Claudia Lennhoff leads Champaign County Health Care Consumers. She says many patients have been auto-enrolled into plans that may not include their primary care physician. And if they don’t act before the June 30th deadline, they’ll have to find a new doctor.

The Illinois General Assembly has revived an effort to bridge the so-called “gender wage gap.”

The plan would ban employers from asking about salary history during interviews.

Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar measure last year. The latest version still keeps prior salary out of the interview process, but tries to address concerns from business owners who are worried about their bottom line.

Wendy Pollack is with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago. She says no law is perfect and hopes Rauner acknowledges it’s a good starting point.

worldatlas.com

Democratic U-S Senator Dick Durbin is supporting a Republican state senator to be the next ambassador to Kenya. That’s despite the significant political differences Durbin has with state Senator Kyle McCarter.

Durbin says he’s impressed with McCarter’s decades-long experience with the African nation.

“I doubt if very many people in Illinois know the commitment that Kyle and his family have made to Kenya, and the medical care that they provide through a clinic there is nothing short of amazing.”

Residents in the Bloomington area are getting the chance to ride in a 90-year-old airplane.

The odor of decomposing bodies has renewed calls to replace a county morgue in northern Illinois.

Pages