State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs says he’s frustrated with the Trump Administration’s lack of transparency on medical marijuana.

Frerichs says he’s written the president twice since US Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the drug ‘dangerous’… but didn’t further explain if he was referring to medicinal, or recreational use. He says he’s still waiting for a response … and that’s hurting financial institutions, which federal law currently bans from processing money used in the medical cannabis industry:

AP Photo / Richard Sitler

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois native who flew planes in Southeast Asia more than 75 years ago has been buried alongside his parents in Carbondale.

TPC Deere Run is known for more than hosting the John Deere Classic every summer. It's also known as an outdoor classroom, a training ground for firefighters, and for environmental stewardship.

The Department of Justice has taken the rare step of trying to strip a convicted terrorist of U.S. citizenship in what some critics say could mark a new, tougher line under President Donald Trump.  

Chicago Police are searching for five or six men or boys suspected of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl on Facebook Live.  Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says detectives found the girl and reunited her with her family. She went missing on Sunday. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has unveiled a broad-based cybersecurity plan. He says cybersecurity is one of the most pressing issues facing the nation and Illinois. The plan outlines goals to protect state information systems. 

Two state workers who joined Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's lawsuit arguing labor unions shouldn't be allowed to collect fees from non-members say they're appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling that allowed unions to collect the "fair share" fees from workers covered by collective bargaining agreements. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration says it plans to lay off state prison nurses to streamline medical services and coordinate them with the current health care vendor.  Rauner's office informed the Illinois Nurses Association that in June it will lay off 124 nurses at 12 prisons. Their jobs would be privatized. 

Federal prosecutors are asking that a woman who stole nearly $1 million from Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History should spend four years in prison.  Caryn Benson pleaded guilty to embezzlement in January 2016 for stealing money prosecutors say she used to buy expensive clothing, watches, handbags and luxury cars.

Blogtrepreneur / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has unveiled a broad-based cybersecurity plan that would cost $1 billion to implement.

Airport officials say an agreement allowing a central Illinois youth soccer league to use airport-owned fields is likely a short-term deal due to concerns about safety and federal guidelines.  The Central Illinois Regional Airport has a lease with Prairie Cities Soccer League that runs through the end of the year. 

Facebook/DanielBiss

A state senator from the Chicago suburb of Evanston is joining the race for Illinois governor.

City Club of Chicago

The airing of grievances over the ongoing state budget impasse continued today between Governor Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Susana Mendoza.   As comptroller, Mendoza signs the checks connected to the state’s bank accounts.

Facebook/Fighting Illini Basketball

New University of Illinois men’s basketball coach Brad Underwood says he’s honored to be taking over a program in a city he’s visited many times before.  The former coach at Oklahoma State spoke to reporters today at the State Farm Center after he was named the Illini’s 18th head coach over the weekend.  

A feud between Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Susana Mendoza is escalating over spending priorities during the state's unprecedented budget standoff.  Mendoza is a Democrat in charge of paying Illinois' bills. In a speech she accused Rauner of being a terrible governor and paying consultants from a health care fund, among other things.   

The Illinois Supreme Court won't immediately consider Attorney General Lisa Madigan's appeal of a circuit court ruling that state workers must be paid during the state budget impasse.  Justices denied Madigan's request to bypass the appellate court and take the matter directly to the Supreme Court.

An Illinois watchdog group takes a case against the Illinois High School Association to the state's highest court Tuesday. That’s regarding whether IHSA is subject to the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

pixabay/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An anti-abortion physician and two pregnancy help centers have filed a lawsuit alleging an Illinois law requiring them to discuss abortion with patients is unconstitutional. 

Steven Vance / Flickr/Creative Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - A newspaper report says all of Chicago's leading 10 areas for police-issued bike tickets are predominantly African American or Latino. 

Sony Pictures Classics

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Roger Ebert's film festival this year will include 2016 psychological thriller "Elle" and a film delving into the life of TV icon Norman Lear.

Minor league baseball players are suing Major League Baseball, claiming unfair pay. But a new proposal in Illinois would protect independent leagues from a similar lawsuit.

The state’s minimum wage law applies to most workers, but there are a few exceptions: farm hands, children of small business owners, and outdoor salesmen to name a few.

Rich Sauget is the owner of the Gateway Grizzlies, a minor league team in the East St. Louis area. He wants his players, coaches, and trainers to be added to that list.

Budget Woes Force NEIU to Close Next Week

Mar 17, 2017

Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago is shutting down next week to save money due to the ongoing state budget impasse.

It's Spring Break for Northeastern - but the faculty and staff aren’t getting paid for it. Many students who tutor won’t work this week, either.

And even parts of the university that aren’t just for students are closed - like the rec center, library and a child care center used by parents who live nearby.

A new poll says Illinois voters are divided on what to do about the state’s financial problems.

The poll puts Illinois' deficit at $10 billion, and gives voters three choices for how to fix it: raise taxes, cut "waste and inefficiency," or both.

Cuts were the most popular answer at 45 percent. Just 11 percent favored only raising taxes; about a third said do both.

Paradoxically, when you ask voters about specific areas to cut, most are rejected. Support was strongest for spending on education, poor people, and individuals with disabilities.

 

The Republican health plan currently in Congress would remove $40 billion from the Illinois’ current Medicaid program over the next 10 years, according to numbers from the Congressional Budget Office. The Illinois Hospital Association says they expect over 400,000 Medicaid recipients to lose coverage.

As Illinois remains mired in gridlock and nearing two years without a full budget, voters are pinning the blame on state leaders.

The new Republican health care legislation in Congress could cost Illinois $40 billion dollars in federal funding over the next decade. That’s according to the recent report by the Congressional Budget Office.

Illinois’ health care exchange has not been the success Obamacare proponents were hoping for. Insurance companies have struggled to find customers.

But hospitals say the expansion of Medicaid has been huge for Illinois. It’s given 600,000 people access to healthcare, so far paid in full by the federal government.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The University of Illinois says it will promise to reserve 85 percent of financial aid for Illinois residents if pending state funding legislation is approved.  

University President Tim Killeen called the "Invest in Illinois" measure an effort to keep Illinois high school graduates in state for college and stem a growing loss of students to out-of-state schools. The measure was introduced as an amendment to the funding legislation on Thursday.

NEIU Students Rally to Protest Budget Cuts

Mar 16, 2017

Students at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago rallied today ahead of a week-long university shutdown.

Northeastern is requiring its employees take five unpaid days off next week during Spring Break. It’s another money-saving measure in a string of budget cuts the university has made during the nearly 2-year-long state budget impasse.

Students like senior Patricia Burchfield primarily blamed Governor Bruce Rauner, saying she shouldn’t have to be protesting.

Jim Bowen / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois state lawmakers are planning to assess how Medicaid cuts proposed by President Donald Trump's administration could impact vulnerable residents.

torbakhopper / Flickr/Creative Commons

Illinois legislators are considering making it easier for transgender people to change the gender designation on their birth certificates.

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