State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Governor Pat Quinn vetoed legislation Sunday that would have eased the way for increases in electric rates. But it's not the first time he's opposed this sort of thing, and the legislature has so far been able to work around him. IPR’S Brian Mackey has more.

Quinn reviewing airport gaming measure

May 3, 2013

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says he’ll be reviewing a new gambling expansion bill that passed the state senate this week. In particular the part about adding slot machines to Chicago’s airports. IPR’s Tony Arnold reports. 

Close vote on IL toll measure

May 3, 2013

Illinois lawmakers are considering a measure intended to encourage big-time tollway violators to pay their debts. Anyone who owes more than a thousand dollars and has exhausted the appeal process could have their name listed online.  

Illinois' legislators have less than a month before they're scheduled to adjourn.  The Speaker of the Illinois House made some predictions about what may and may not happen before then. IPR’S Amanda Vinicky reports.

                                                                A measure to legalize same sex marriage in Illinois already got state Senators' approval. But the Speaker of the Illinois House says there's not enough support for it to pass in that chamber. Mike Madigan said in March that gay marriage was a dozen votes shy in the House. 

A new report identifies numerous reasons why honey bees are dying off across the U.S. Illinois Public Radio’s Jason Parrott reports.

Police officers from across Illinois gathered in Springfield Thursday to honor colleagues killed in the line of duty. As IPR’S Brian Mackey reports, one officer was killed in 2012.

On the Monday after Thanksgiving, Illinois State Police Trooper Kyle Deatherage was patrolling on his motorcycle on Interstate 55, about 30 miles south of Springfield.

IL House approves pension overhaul

May 2, 2013

A plan that will leave state employees and teachers with reduced retirement benefits made it out of the Illinois House Thursday, potentially paving the way for the pension overhaul that has thus far eluded lawmakers. But it also ignites a faceoff between two of the state's top Democrats with the potential to keep a pension overhaul as elusive as it's ever been. Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky explains.

IL lawmakers want wrestling reinstated

May 2, 2013

Illinois lawmakers are "weighing in" on Olympic organizers' decision to drop wrestling from the summer games. The Illinois House and Senate passed resolutions encouraging the International Olympic Committee to reinstate wrestling as an Olympic sport.  

Proposed refund for sick pet store animals

May 1, 2013

Senators in Illinois voted to give consumer protections to people who unknowingly buy a sick cat or dog from a pet shop.

Dueling pension plans in IL House, Senate

May 1, 2013

Illinois' top Democrats are going forward with competing pension proposals.  One of them is scheduled for a vote Thursday.  Despite unions' strong stance against it, House Speaker Michael Madigan says he expects the House will pass his plan.  It would require state employees stay on the job until they're 67 years old before they could draw a full pension.  It also reduces future pension payouts.  But even as that package was gaining steam, Madigan's fellow Democrat, Senate President John Cullerton, was cooking up a different proposal, this one the brainchild of labor leaders.

IL Senate approves gambling expansion

May 1, 2013

The Illinois Senate has once again approved an expansion of gambling. But it remains to be seen whether Governor Pat Quinn will go along with the plan. IPR's Brian Mackey has more. 

Il House could vote on Madigan pension proposal

May 1, 2013

The Illinois House could vote this week on a new pension proposal. Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan has come through on a promise of a comprehensive overhaul.

State AFSCME deal could be null and void

Apr 30, 2013

Illinois' largest public employees union will take a new vote on a contract deal it had ratified in late February.

IL State Rep. fights fraud charges

Apr 30, 2013

Attorneys are coming out with their defense for an indicted Illinois state representative charged with bank fraud. IPR’s Tony Arnold reports.

State Representative LaShawn Ford was indicted late last year on 17 counts of bank fraud and lying to the bank.

Ten old hotels, homes, and bridges all built at different times in Illinois' history.  The structures might be different, but for 2013, they have something in common. IPR’s Chris Slaby reports.

The sites span from the state's northern border to Madison County, outside St. Louis. They make up this year's "Ten Most Endangered Historic Places" list released by Landmarks Illinois, a state organization that promotes preserving sites.

State Farm secures naming rights for Assembly Hall

Apr 29, 2013

It’s not Champaign’s Assembly Hall any more.

Federal flood damage assessments in IL

Apr 29, 2013
Illinois Department of Transportation, District Four

Federal officials started to assess the damage to Illinois homes and businesses Monday from the recent floods.  The head of Illinois’ Emergency Management Agency says the state wants tens of millions of dollars from the federal government to help pay for flood damage.  Governor Pat Quinn says homeowners and businesses who suffered flood damage could qualify for loans to get back some of the money spent on clean-up. “It’s important that we assess all of the expenses and the damage that occurred because of the floods.

Kindergarten bill before IL House

Apr 29, 2013

Most Illinois school districts have all-day kindergarten classes.  A proposal before the Illinois House would require all districts to have such programs.  But funding issues are getting in the way.  The Illinois Federation of Teachers says nearly 90-percent of school districts have all-day kindergarten but that leaves 80 districts without. Representative Chris Welch, a Democrat from Hillside, says improving early education means students would be better-prepared for secondary education.

Last week, Congressman Aaron Schock announced that he will seek re-election rather than run for Governor. Expect more announcements in coming months. But first, incumbent officials have to make their decisions. IPR’s Amanda Vinicky reports.

Plenty of posturing and fundraising has gone on as candidates interested in being the states' chief executive look ahead to the 2014 elections. But it's like dominos. A lot of politicians' decisions are based on someone else's.

What Governor's tax returns say about him

Apr 29, 2013

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's latest tax returns give some insights beyond how much he paid in taxes. IPR’S Amanda Vinicky has more.

It may be that Illinois' executive in chief has a tendency to procrastination. His tax returns are signed and dated April 14th, a day before the filing deadline. Last year, he filed the day his taxes were due. And rather than filling out the forms online, he does it by hand.

Gov. Quinn's salary increases

Apr 26, 2013

Governor Pat Quinn's tax returns show he made more money last year but he gave less to charity than he did in 2011. IPR’s Amanda Vinicky reports.

State program helps flood victims

Apr 26, 2013

Flood victims who need extra financial help can use a state program to secure a better interest rate. In the Disaster Recovery Linked Deposit program, Illinois deposits money when a local bank approves a flood-related loan. The individual is then charged a lower, state interest rate and the bank gets to keep its charges and fees. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says it can help individuals while they're waiting to settle insurance claims. 

Gov. Quinn not ready to back raising the speed limit

Apr 26, 2013

This week, Senators gave their okay to raising the speed limit on Illinois highways, but Governor Pat Quinn isn't so sure. IPR’S Amanda Vinicky reports. 

Drivers could legally put the pedal to the metal a BIT more under a measure recently approved by the state Senate. Cars could go 70 miles an hour on most interstates and tollways, rather than 65.

Gov. Quinn says he's not worried about state's image

Apr 26, 2013

Governor Pat Quinn says other governors trying to poach Illinois companies are all just ``showboating.'' At least five governors, all Republicans, have recently tried to lure away Illinois businesses. But the Chicago Democrat says he's not worried about Illinois' image.

A group of addiction and drug specialists Thursday called on the Illinois Senate to reject the medical use of marijuana. IPR’S Brian Mackey has more.

Opponents of "medical marijuana" don't even like that phrase.

Five people murdered in Manchester

Apr 25, 2013

A longtime pastor in the small, west central Illinois community of Manchester says he’s trying to figure out what to tell parishioners on Sunday after five people were murdered Wednesday morning just blocks away from the church. The suspected gunman is also dead, following a chase and shootout with police. Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky has more.

Wildlife also impacted by flooding

Apr 25, 2013

Flooding in Illinois displaced thousands of people this spring. It also forced wildlife out of their habitat. That could lead to more animals roaming near roads. Tim Schweizer is a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

Flash mob measure passes IL Senate

Apr 24, 2013

Anyone convicted of using social media to plan or incite a mob attack could face tougher punishment under legislation approved by the Illinois Senate.

West Central IL towns fight rising waters

Apr 24, 2013

The Illinois river continues to rise as towns in west central Illinois fight off the water. IPR’s Rachel Otwell has more: 

New technology fights the flood

Apr 24, 2013

One of the most-used tools to combat flood water are sandbags. But in west central Illinois a relatively new technology is being utilized to stave off flood waters. And as IPR’s Bill Wheelhouse reports that technology has been used in military combat as well.

Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan sleep behind bulletproof barriers used as shields against attacks. Those same barriers are now being used as shields against the river.