State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

AT&T and other mobile phone providers are pushing legislation they say will ease congestion on their networks. But some towns and cities across Illinois are worried it’s really a power grab.

Big Rebound for Deere

16 hours ago

Deere and Company is recovering from three years of a global farm recession and weak construction markets. Wednesday the company reported higher sales and profits for its just-completed fiscal year.

Dozens of state employee union members and Northern Illinois University employees protested Monday on the DeKalb campus.

They came in support of a fair initial contract between AFSCME and NIU. Protestors marched in the turn-around outside Altgeld Hall on campus.

AFSCME members have been negotiating with NIU officials since February 2016. Since then, union members filed unfair labor practice charges against NIU and recently won a case regarding parking pass rate increases.

The Executive Inspector General has found that an Illinois Department of Transportation administrator violated conflict-of-interest and merit-hiring rules in the hiring of her next-door neighbor as fleet manager in 2014. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has granted five petitions for clemency and denied 97 others.

A wide-ranging Great Lakes cleanup program would receive $300 million next year under a spending bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Supporters of President Donald Trump held a rally and expo in Rockford Tuesday to celebrate the first year of his presidency.

CAFNR / Flickr

Wireless phone companies are pushing legislation they say will enable the next generation of cellular technology. The proposal would standardize rules, letting AT&T and other carriers install “small cell" towers on streetlight poles. But Doug Brown, the chief utility engineer with Springfield’s City, Water, Light and Power, says there should be exceptions for bigger cities.

“You know, our customers own our power poles, our street lights, our infrastructure. And we want to be fairly compensated for the use of our infrastructure, our right-of-ways."

Lily Gicker / Flickr

The Illinois state fire marshal is urging people to be safe in the kitchen this week. Thanksgiving is the peak day for when the most home cooking fires occur. In 2015, fire departments nationwide responded to over 1,700 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving. That's according to the National Fire Protection Association.


The family of a man who died in northern Illinois last month after an apparent altercation during a traffic stop has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

The Chicago City Council has overwhelmingly approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget for 2018.

When Al Bowman was president of Illinois State University, he liked the freedom and flexibility that he had to run his campus. Now that tables have turned.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood is praising the House version of the GOP tax plan he voted for last week.

The opioid epidemic continues to sweep across Illinois and the rest of the nation. The Trump administration recently declared it a public health emergency. But some believe medical marijuana could be the solution.

A Chicago Bears and Fighting Illini legend will be immortalized in bronze at the University of Illinois. 

After being battered for three years in a row by a global farm recession and weak construction markets, this year should be a welcome improvement for John Deere. The maker of farm and construction equipment based in Moline is scheduled to release its report Wednesday for the fiscal year that ended October 31st.

Jerry Huddleston / Flickr

McDonald's Corp. has announced it will demolish a suburban Chicago museum that's a replica of Ray Kroc's first restaurant.

Mayor Mike Inman said businesswoman Kay Ruggles brought the idea for Flags of Love to Macomb after seeing a similar display in southeast Iowa.  Inman said the original goal was to fly 100 American flags in Chandler Park.

Immigration Battle Fuels Higher Ed Uncertainty

Nov 20, 2017
University of Illinois International Student and Scholar Services / Facebook

The ongoing rule changes and legal battles over immigration are affecting international students at the state’s colleges and universities.

Martin McFarland is the Director of International Students and Scholar Services at the University of Illinois. Speaking on the Illinois Public Radio talk show  The 21st, McFarland says the people he works with are getting frustrated with all the uncertainty.

The University of Illinois board has approved bonuses totaling $175,000 for the president of the university's system and the chancellor of the University of Illinois-Chicago campus for the second straight year.

Records have been provided to a psychiatrist preparing the mental evaluation of an Illinois student accused of shooting a classmate in the high school cafeteria.

A southern Illinois congressman says his chamber's passage of legislation addressing floodplains is overdue - and needs to be sent to the president's desk.

Representative Mike Bost says the bill, which reforms FEMA's floodplain insurance program, is a much-needed update. He says numerous property owners in his district would benefit from it.

It’s been nearly two years since Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner formed the State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform to resolve prison over-population in Illinois. Rauner calls the plan “25 by 2025” – which aims to reduce prison populations by a quarter by the year 2025. On this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Jessie Schlacks looks into northern Illinois efforts working toward this goal.

The opening of a new police academy this fall in Decatur was expected to mean that the University of Illinois Police Training Institute, just 50 miles away in Urbana, would close.

But director Michael Schlosser announced Thursday that the Police Training Institute will continue to offer classes in 2018. He said the university signed an agreement Wednesday with the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board to continue the PTI.

Schlosser says demand is up for police training in Illinois.

The Illinois General Assembly’s new ethics watchdog can now begin investigating a backlog of 27 cases.

PACs Build Women’s Political Power

Nov 17, 2017
Tony Arnold / WBEZ

Hundreds of thousands of women marched in January after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. Three of them from Chicago were inspired to work toward a bigger voice for women in politics. But once the march was over, they all asked themselves the same question: Now what?

Raise money. 

The University of Illinois has a new budget for 2018, and the spending plan holds the line on student tuition.

A central Illinois youth basketball coach has pleaded not guilty to charges he engaged in criminal sexual activity with two former players.

There's a move to weaken the power of the office of Mayor in Bloomington.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza about the state's record bill backlog, and other financial issues.

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