State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

A marijuana advocacy group is urging Illinois lawmakers to accept Governor Bruce Rauner's changes to a marijuana decriminalization plan. 

danxoneil / Flickr/Creative Commons

A judge has called off Friday’s hearing on former congressman Aaron Schock's cooperation with a federal investigation after he turned over 10,000 financial records.

U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough ordered the Peoria Republican to provide her with documents in a probe of his office and campaign spending. Schock believes the government doesn't have a right to see them.

  BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Three southern Illinois judges plan to retire in name only to avoid retention elections that require 60 percent approval rather than a simple majority of votes. John Baricevic, Robert Haida and Robert LeChien have filed paperwork to retire in December 2016 but also seek to keep their jobs in the previous month's general election. Baricevic said that a general election campaign allows him to speak more freely on political issues that sitting judges can't discuss under the state's judicial ethics' code.

  CHICAGO (AP) - Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will visit the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute on Friday in Chicago.  The institute is a UI Labs collaboration and a key part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. President Barack Obama created the national network to strengthen America's competitiveness worldwide in manufacturing and the workforce. The innovation institute is focused on digital manufacturing and design. That's the ability to connect different parts of the manufacturing system through data.

CHICAGO (AP) - The city of Chicago is continuing its legal battle with five drug makers it accuses of deceptively marketing a class of prescription painkillers that can be highly addictive. Attorneys for the city filed a revised complaint Wednesday in federal court in Chicago. In May, U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso dismissed the city's claims against four of the drug companies while allowing the city's consumer fraud claims against Purdue Pharma to continue.

Peoria Public Radio

  SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Two candidates seeking to serve the remainder of former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock's term offered up different views on how to improve the economy of the 18th Congressional District during a debate. Republican Illinois State Sen. Darin LaHood said Wednesday that the best way to spur economic growth is tax reform, regulation reform and reducing labor costs.

CHICAGO (AP) - Four firefighters and one other person have been injured in a fire in a building that houses the offices of Chicago's famed Second City theater company. Wednesday's fire did not reach the theater in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood that launched the careers of scores of comedians and actors, including John   Belushi, Tina Fey and Bill Murray. 

A potential strike by workers at U.S. Steel is another development in what has been a roller-coaster year for the company's Granite City operation. The contract between the company and its unionized employees expires on Tuesday.

Decisions affecting more than 2,000 area workers are being made well-beyond the Metro East, including Washington, D.C. That is where lawmakers debated legislation designed to fast-track the international trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

A last-minute appointment former Governor Pat Quinn made after losing last year's election has spurred a new law.  

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is hailing a new state law that will prevent hospitals from billing survivors of sexual assault for medical forensic exams.

Attorneys for a professor who's suing the University of Illinois over a lost job offer have asked a federal judge to restore claims that evidence in the case was destroyed.

The Chicago Police Department is investigating an incident in which a white officer tells a man shooting a video that Michael Brown "deserved" to be shot last year in Ferguson, Missouri.

Two firefighters and one other person have been injured in a fire in a building that houses the offices of Chicago's famed Second City theater company. 

Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock has surrendered more than 10,000 financial records to the U.S. government to comply with a subpoena.

The sponsor of legislation intended to curb heroin abuse says he'll try to override Governor Bruce Rauner's partial veto.

A federal judge is ordering Illinois’ comptroller to cut checks for some services for people with developmental disabilities.  

Judge Sharon Coleman told the State of Illinois that even without a spending plan - it must pay for services for Medicaid-eligible people with developmental disabilities.

She instructed Comptroller Leslie Munger - who writes the checks - to pay by last Friday, a deadline that Munger did not meet.

Today - Judge Coleman again ordered Munger to cover the costs, which attorneys for her office agreed to do.

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - The owner of a St. Louis area business and six employees have been indicted on federal fraud charges related to what authorities call a scheme to submit phony income tax returns.  Tax King owner Eyob Tilahun is accused of instructing tax return preparers at his East St.

CHICAGO (AP) - President Barack Obama's foundation has started the process of choosing an architect to design his presidential library.  The foundation says it has invited firms to submit their qualifications to design the Obama Presidential Center, which will be located in one of two sites on Chicago's South Side.

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A Missouri couple is accused of orchestrating a cross-country prostitution ring involving at least five girls. A federal complaint accuses 28-year-old Marcus Dewayne Thompson and 24-year-old Robin Thompson of conspiracy and sex trafficking.

  HELENA, Mont. (AP) - An Illinois man has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with an online Canadian pharmacy to smuggle prescription drugs into the U.S. to sell to doctors. Ram Kamath appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch on Tuesday for arraignment in Missoula, Montana. So far, he is the only one of the 14 individuals and companies named as defendants to appear to face the criminal charges. Federal prosecutors accuse Canadadrugs.com, its CEO Kristjan Thorkelson and its affiliated companies and associates of selling $78 million in prescription drugs over three years to U.S.

  CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago's Collaboraction Theatre was one of the first to get in line when Michael Jordan announced nonprofits will benefit from the $8.9 million he won by suing a defunct grocery chain that used his name without permission. Artistic director Anthony Moseley says as soon as he heard the news tried to determine if Jordan had already committed the money. Collaboraction uses dance, art, food and what Moseley calls crime theatre to address violence.

  CHICAGO (AP) - A rare obstruction-of-justice trial of a lawyer accused of instructing clients and witnesses to lie is concluding in Chicago. Thirty-seven-year-old Beau Brindley is to testify for a second day Wednesday in a federal courthouse where he's practiced law for years. The defense is expected to rest later in the day. Attorneys rarely face charges related to representation of clients, in part, because attorney-client privilege shields them from scrutiny.

  CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - An outbreak of mumps at the University of Illinois continues to grow with what officials now say are almost 100 cases. Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde says 98 cases have been confirmed. But she says more are likely with a number of lab tests taken from sick students awaiting confirmation. Fall classes started this week at the Urbana-Champaign campus. University health officials are offering free vaccination clinics for students this week. Mumps is a highly contagious viral illness characterized by swollen jaws and puffy cheeks. 

  CHICAGO (AP) - Hundreds of school districts across Illinois cover either all or most of their teachers' retirement contributions. The issue is in the spotlight as Illinois' largest district is in the middle of tense contract negotiations and the cash-strapped district is seeking help from legislators. Thousands of teachers reportedly get a better deal than Chicago teachers. Some districts, including in suburban Wheeling, say picking up pension costs helps keep them competitive.

Attorneys for Illinois’ comptroller are expected to be in court today to respond to allegations they’re in contempt.  The office is being sued for not paying court-mandated services for developmentally disabled residents. 

Waymarking.com

The 10th anniversary of hurricane Katrina will generate a lot of attention this week. But…15 years earlier another storm directly affected Northeast Illinois.

This Friday will be 25 years since the Plainfield tornado that killed 29 people and devastated the Will County community. Illinois Public Radio’s Brian O’Keefe spoke with College of DuPage Meteorology professor Paul Sirvatka. He says meteorologists still study the 1990 storm:

    

Gov. Bruce Rauner's office says lawmakers' plan to restore cuts to child care services shows Democrats' resolve to "claw their way to a massive tax hike."

Illinois State Fair officials report fewer than 412,000 people attended this year's fair.

Illinois legislators are considering whether local governments should be allowed to declare bankruptcy. Members of the Illinois House heard from dueling experts today.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says design plans of a museum proposed on Chicago's lakefront by movie producer George Lucas are being updated. 

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