State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

President Trump: The First 100 Days

Apr 25, 2017
Chelsea Beck / NPR

Before his election, back in October, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump laid out a 100 Day Action Plan. He called it his Contract With The American Voter. Among other things, it called for the full repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, suspension of immigration from certain "terror-prone regions," and the lifting of "roadblocks" to let "infrastructure projects like the Keystone Pipeline move forward."

The 100-day mark is not an official milestone, but it is a traditional point to take stock of a new presidential administration. Throughout President Trump's time in office so far, there have been both flurries of action and some setbacks. In many cases, the status of these efforts is not clear-cut, with substantial talk but not yet action. In other areas, progress is clearer.

The end of this week marks the 100th day of President Trump's term, and NPR is revisiting his full action plan, with annotations from journalists throughout the newsroom, taking stock of how the president's accomplishments compare with his campaign promises.

DANIEL SCHWEN / Wikimedia Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois General Assembly is back in Springfield and is heading into the final six weeks of its spring session. 

Women from across Illinois are expected in Springfield Tuesday for a march and rally at the Statehouse.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's information technology chief has contracted to spend thousands in tax dollars for two professional memberships despite the budget crisis.

Tamie Yost

Illinois lawmakers returned to Springfield today as state government is closing on 22 months without a budget, and prospects for an overall deal look grim.  Governor Bruce Rauner has been saying he’s heard there's good progress on an overall budget deal.  But Democrats in the Senate say they don’t know what the Republican governor is talking about. Legislators have been on a two week recess, and say no high-level meetings have been taking place.

Obama Speaks In Chicago

Apr 24, 2017

Barack Obama was back in Chicago today for his first big appearance since leaving the White House three months ago.  Obama sat on a University of Chicago stage with six young people to talk about issues he’d like to address now that he’s no longer president.

Tom Winkle / historicbridges.org

Flooding has delayed progress on a new bridge that will span the Illinois River at Meredosia in the western part of the state.  The bridge project was scheduled to be finished next year, but Halverson Construction Superintendent Scott Halverson says now that date is 2019.

Attorneys general from 20 states and the District of Columbia are faulting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for rolling back Obama-era guidance they say is helping protect student loan borrowers.  In a letter sent Monday, Democratic attorneys general Lisa Madigan of Illinois, and Maura Healey of Massachusetts called on DeVos to restore the memos instituted by the federal Education Department last year under President Barack Obama.

The 39th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival will celebrate the 100th birthdays of Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Ella Fitzgerald.  The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events recently announced the headliners. The three-day festival at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center will be Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. 

It's a sentiment shared by Democratic politicians and liberal pundits: disgust over how Republicans drew up favorable (for them) legislative districts after the 2010 Census.

Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers are returning to the Capitol this week to resume work on trying to end the budget stalemate that has eluded them for almost two years.

Illinois is observing its first-ever Distracted Driving Awareness Week, starting today.

More than 300 law-enforcement agencies in the state will focus on violations for distracted driving, along with providing general education about the problem. That includes departments like Sycamore and Carol Stream, which announced on their Facebook pages that they will focus on ticketing drivers for illegal cell phone use this week.

eric molina / Wikimedia Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A central Illinois county coroner has found a tranquilizer used on elephants and other large animals in the blood of two recent drug-overdose victims. 

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Democrats are pushing an ambitious minimum wage hike despite opposition from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Clean Energy Deal On Uncertain Footing

Apr 24, 2017
Mike Gifford / Flickr/Creative Commons

Some derided last year’s sweeping energy law as a bailout for power giant Exelon. But it was also a major win for environmentalists — who are now hedging their bets against Illinois’ budget problems.

Legislation aims to improve working conditions for temporary workers as the need for them increases.

Governor Bruce Rauner was asked Friday why he’s changed his position on an abortion law since the 2014 campaign.

Flickr Creative Commons/Alan Cleaver

The top government lawyers from 19 states are telling President Donald Trump and the Republican leaders of Congress not to cut federal money for drug treatment programs.  A group of Democratic state attorneys general sent a letter to federal officials saying the government cannot abandon this commitment to our communities.

Flickr Creative Commons/airpix

Illinois' continued state budget problems have prompted S&P Global Ratings to downgrade the credit worthiness of six state universities and the City Colleges of Chicago.  The credit house says it took action with the schools because it's possible lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner will fail to agree on an annual budget by the scheduled end of the legislative session May 31. 

An Illinois State Board of Elections hearing officer is expected to issue a recommendation next month regarding allegations that the state's auditor general violated campaign finance disclosure laws while serving as a Democratic state representative.

Documents show the man overseeing Chicago's investigation into the dragging of a passenger from a United Airlines plane was hired despite his termination from the Illinois Tollway amid sexual harassment allegations.

A federal court has taken just three days to reject the appeal of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich seeking a third sentencing.  The unanimous ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago dismissed arguments that the Democrat's trial-court judge should have reduced his 14-year prison term for corruption because of his good behavior behind bars.

AARP Illinois and consumer-rights groups in the state say they oppose legislation that would allow AT&T to divert its resources away from landlines.  The legislation would permit the utility giant to free itself from a legal obligation to provide landline service in areas with old technology. 

  Illinois officials say the state's unemployment rate fell .5 percent to land at 4.9 percent in March.

County Sues Abbott Laboratories for Drug Addiction

Apr 20, 2017

A county in Southern Illinois beset by drug addiction is suing Chicago-area Abbott Laboratories for its alleged role in the opioid epidemic.  The lawsuit claims drug manufacturers Abbott Laboratories and Purdue Pharma knew prescription opioids were addictive - but aggressively marketed them anyway.  St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly filed the lawsuit today.

School funding is one of the key issues in the General Assembly’s budget debate. Everyone agrees the current funding formula needs to change, but there’s less agreement on how to fix it. A bipartisan effort is poised for a floor vote in the House, but in the Senate, compromise appears to have fallen apart.

A judge is warning protesters not to bother the Chicago police officer charged in the shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald when he tries to make his way to and from the courtroom.  Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan says he would hold in contempt of court anyone who comes inside the courthouse with a sign and starts waving it around. 

Flickr Creative Commons/tanjila ahmed

The head of Colorado's Department of Revenue has spoken to a panel of Illinois lawmakers considering a proposal to legalize marijuana in the state.  The department executive director, Barbara Brohl, told Illinois lawmakers that she believes the legal market for marijuana is eating into the black market, funding drug abuse treatment and prevention, and providing a safer product.

Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock has asked a judge to toss the corruption case against him, arguing that authorities misinterpreted the law and overreached.  Lawyers for the Illinois Republican filed the motion to dismiss the case in a Springfield federal court. Among their other arguments is that the indictment trespasses on land the Constitution reserves for Congress.

Chicago's City Council has voted to create a municipal ID card for people living in the U.S. illegally and other city residents.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel asserted the ID will help bring people out of the shadows and allow them to get on with their lives.

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