State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

The Justice Department says in a new filing in former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock's corruption case that a 1995 ruling that's long provided guidance in the prosecution of politicians is wrong.

A judge has ordered that 15 percent of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush's congressional salary be garnished to pay for more than $1 million he owes on a delinquent bank loan.

Last year’s data breach at the Equifax credit reporting agency brought attention to the fees customers can be charged for freezing their accounts. The Illinois Senate Wednesday approved a ban on such fees.

SecretName101 / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Democrat J.B. Pritzker is spending the final days of his campaign for Illinois governor defending his attachment to offshore trusts and companies. The Chicago Tribune recently detailed that Pritzker, or his associates, own several offshore companies in the Bahamas. Their assets are not subject to U.S. taxes unless they’re moved into the country.

Authorities are urging people at Northwestern University in suburban Chicago to take shelter after a report of a gunman and shots fired in a student residential building.

The Illinois Senate has adopted a ban on bump stocks, an age limit to own assault-style weapons and an extended waiting period for delivery of high-capacity weapons.

A lawsuit against the city of Peoria and several police officers that alleged they conspired to falsely prosecute the plaintiff has been dismissed.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has chosen a former federal prosecutor and assistant state inspector general to be Illinois' next executive inspector general.

A revised report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Illinois job growth hit a high point last summer and surpassed its prior business cycle peak from September 2000. 

Thousands of students at schools across Illinois participated in a national walkout to demand action on gun violence.

Ford County Men Suspects In Two Bombings

Mar 14, 2018
Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center / Facebook


Three Ford County men have been charged with arson in the bombing last year of a mosque in suburban Minneapolis.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Springfield says the men were arrested Tuesday on separate gun charges, and were suspects in the mosque bombing.

But federal authorities in Minnesota charged them with additional counts of arson for their alleged role in the August 5th explosion at the mosque.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Tuesday vetoed the only gun-control legislation to reach his desk — one month after the Parkland, Florida shooting.

Wednesday, some students from Springfield-area schools will leave class and stand in a common area on school grounds for 17 minutes - one minute to honor each of the lives lost in the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school. It's part of a national push led by young people for stricter gun laws.

Illinois is using emergency spending rules to upgrade the water system at the veterans’ home in Quincy. Outbreaks of the waterborne Legionnaires’ Disease have killed and sickened dozens of residents and staff.

Accusations of harassment from a campaign worker against her supervisor and close aide to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Kevin Quinn, led to Quinn’s firing last month. Madigan is still struggling with the ripple effects from Alaina Hampton’s claims, with some observers predicting this could be the downfall for the powerful politician.

Hampton’s story has also brought attention to how political campaigns deal with sexual harassment.

The Illinois treasurer says he opposes a bill that would take away his office's authority to hire auditors to help recover residents' unclaimed property.

A group of residents is raising money to keep a park district-owned riverboat operating in northern Illinois this summer. 

L. Brian Stauffer / University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

U of I Provost Andreas Cangellaris apologized Monday after criticism of his actions during the recent strike by graduate student workers. The apology came during a meeting of the Urbana campus’s Senate and several days after the Graduate Employees Organization, or GEO, called off an 11-day strike.

Cangellaris says he was criticized by faculty and students over his handling of the negotiations.

Digital currency is becoming a fundamental part of some finance courses at Illinois universities.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a Medicaid funding plan that changes the way hospitals are reimbursed for treating low-income patients.

aeroSoul / CC by 2.0 / Flickr

Illinois Democratic candidates for governor say it's time for the state to legalize recreational marijuana, while Republican candidates oppose the idea.


All six Democratic candidates for the March 20 primary favor legalization in some form. They say the move will bring needed revenue into the state and fight what they see as racial disparities in arrests and sentencing.


  CHICAGO - A federal judge in Chicago is slated to issue a first-in-the-nation ruling on whether law enforcement stings where suspects are talked into robbing non-existent drugs from non-existent stash houses are racially biased.

Monday's ruling could determine whether agencies nationwide curtail their reliance on such stings.

The stings are overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They typically involve agents posing as cartel couriers.

Ravi Shah / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

It's an alleged bid to harness the luck of the Irish or, at least, the luck of an Irish name.

A watchdog says a Chicago-area lawyer changed his name to sound Irish to improve his odds of winning election as a Cook County judge, from Phillip Spiwak to Shannon P. O'Malley, after losing a 2010 race in a neighboring county.

The Illinois Civil Justice League is releasing its judicial candidate ratings Monday, citing O'Malley's name change for giving him a "not-recommended" rating.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois attempts to balance its books, it’s dipping into pots of money meant to help cities and towns pay for services. And local officials are looking for options.

One idea is to make it easier for smaller cities to gain home-rule status, which allows those towns to have more flexibility in how they operate. Home rule governments can borrow more money for big road projects, set more zoning rules and institute sales and gas taxes.


GEO Strike Ends with New Five-Year Contract

Mar 12, 2018
Graduate Employees' Organization-UIUC / Facebook

Members of the Graduate Employees’ Organization, or GEO, voted Friday to ratify a new five-year contract. The contract puts an end to the nearly two-week-long strike that cancelled hundreds of classes and caused dozens more to be relocated.


GEO co-president Gus Wood says they weren’t going to give up until they got guaranteed tuition waivers for all graduate workers.


Illinois county fair officials say they still don’t have nearly $1.5 million promised to them in the current state budget for fair operations. 

You might be feeling the effects of the time change  just like every spring when we lose an hour.  But there’s legislation that just might change that. 

Eastern Illinois University's president says the campus appears to be headed toward a significant increase in freshman enrollment next fall.

WNIJ continues to review important races in the upcoming Illinois Primary Election on March 20. So far, we’ve outlined the crowded races for Illinois Governor and Attorney General. On this week’s Friday Forum, we outline the rest of the statewide offices appearing on the ballot. They include Treasurer, Secretary of State, and Comptroller.

This week, House Speaker and Chairman of Illinois' Democratic Party Michael Madigan faced more criticism over his handling of sexual harassment allegations against party workers and lawmakers.  Also, Governor Bruce Rauner is not saying if he supports gun control legislation in Illinois.

Bernie Schoenburg of the State Journal-Register and NPR Illinois' Maureen Foertsch McKinney join the panel.