State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Charges were dismissed this week for one of the defendants in the Coliseum fraud case, with a judge saying the indictments were too vague and did not fall within the statute of limitations.

Gary Lerude / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Thursday signed legislation that will bring so-called 5G wireless technology to the state. Some cities are worried about the unintended consequences. 

Wireless providers can now install small devices on utility poles. These will increase cell phone or internet signal, promising faster connections.

But opponents say cities will lose authority over how much they can charge private companies for using their public infrastructure. Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder says this opens the door for other proposals that overstep local authority.

Members of the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) Local 4100 will hold a strike authorization vote on the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses as contract talks with the administration drag on. The union represents faculty, advisors, admissions counselors, and other counselors, according to Chapter President Bill Thompson.

There was a rare meeting Thursday among Gov. Bruce Rauner and the top leaders of the Illinois General Assembly.

Passing a state budget is arguably the most important thing the Illinois General Assembly does every year — or at least should do every year.

After last year's drama — when a two-year standoff ended with a Republican revolt against Governor Bruce Rauner — it's an open question about how things will go this year.

So I set out to answer a simple question: Will there be another impasse?

The Illinois Senate is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to reject a presidential call to send National Guard troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexican border.

Illinois prisons officials have told state lawmakers that they need an extra $420 million to get through the rest of the budget year.

A proposal has failed that would have reallocated state funding from Southern Illinois University's Carbondale campus to the Edwardsville campus to reflect enrollment changes.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner agrees that Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens should resign.

The $15 million renovation of the Illinois Executive Mansion is continuing as its July reopening approaches.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he's traveling to Germany and Poland next week to try to draw more companies to Illinois.

The state of Illinois is asking the federal government to help residents in three counties who are recovering from flooding during February.

The annual statewide Holocaust Remembrance service was held  in Springfield on Thursday. Each year, the scores of Jews and political targets killed by the Nazis are remembered in a service called Yom HaShoah.
 

Solidarity and somberness echoed through the Old State Capitol hall, where those gathered recalled the six million Jews and millions of others killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. 

Illinois’ bicentennial commission finds ways to commemorate the state’s 200th with little time and limited budget.

Illinois will celebrate its 200th birthday with statewide events, building projects, specialty Pepsi cans, stamps, rosé, apparel and even an officials brew, "1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale."

IDOC Funding Shortage Reaches Critical Level

Apr 12, 2018
WBEZ / Flickr / CC by-nc 2.0

The Illinois Department of Corrections says a major cash crunch has it struggling to keep its facilities running. The warning came Wednesday at a Senate budget hearing. But some Democratic lawmakers say that was the first time they were hearing the situation was so dire. Illinois Public Radio's Mary Hansen explains.

Story Source: NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers Wednesday took a step closer to establishing state net neutrality rules before the federal regulations expire later this month. The Illinois proposal advanced out of a House committee and will be discussed by the General Assembly. But — there’s still confusion about consumer protections and the legality of legislation.

Recipes for Re-enactors

Apr 11, 2018

Dave Flowers has turned his two hobbies into a book. The resident of Aledo is a Civil War re-enactor who likes to cook, and he's just published "Voices from the Kitchen: A Collection of Antebellum and Civil War Era Recipes from Period Recipe Books."

Wikimedia Commons/Stojak1 / CC0 1.0

The owner of the shuttered Vermilion Power Station says it’s looking at additional measures to prevent toxic coal ash stored at the site from leaking into the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River in east-central Illinois.

Dynegy had previously proposed capping the coal ash pits at the site. But Andrew Rehn with the Prairie Rivers Network says that’s not enough, in part, because the pits are unlined and could leak toxic heavy metals from the bottom.

The Illinois Senate has advanced a plan requiring public schools teach a unit on the role and contributions of gays, lesbians and other LGBT individuals in society.

Illinois House Republicans are lashing out at a Democratic suggestion that the state should adopt a graduated income tax.

The Illinois state comptroller is releasing $350 million to public school districts statewide as part of the newly approved education-funding overhaul. 

Illinois is joining several states scrambling to keep net neutrality protections before the federal repeal date of April 23.  Some Illinois legislators say they still have time to act with a plan before that deadline.

Bill Aims To End License Suspension For Parking Tickets

Apr 10, 2018

An Illinois House committee meets today to vote on a bill that would end driver’s license suspensions for unpaid parking tickets.

For many people, a suspended license could mean the loss of job opportunities, since some employers require a license not only to have a job, but even to apply.

State Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, says license suspensions for unpaid fines disproportionately affect poor and minority residents.

“Black drivers are three times more likely to be stopped by the police than any other drivers in our city,” Ammons said.

Those in favor of a measure they say would help get an amendment closer to being added to the U.S. Constitution will head to the Statehouse to lobby for it on Tuesday.

The Board of Trustees at Western Illinois University said it will stand by the administration despite last month's "no confidence" vote by faculty.  65% of faculty members who returned their ballot stated they do not have confidence in the administration.  

Daryl Scott / Peoria Public Radio

Illinois climate experts say the state saw the fourth wettest February and March on record this year. Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey says the statewide average precipitation for the two months was nearly 8.7 inches.

 

The wettest February-March period was in 1898 with nearly 9 inches.

Quinn Dombrowski / CC by-SA 2.0 / Flickr

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is set to release $5 million to fund the state's soil and water conservation districts for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

 

The money is much less than the $13.5 million which lawmakers appropriated for the 96 county-based offices. But Rauner spokeswoman Rachel Bold said the Republican governor is trying to manage spending because the budget the Legislature adopted has a deficit.

Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Media

The old-fashioned town meeting, where local citizens vote directly on the affairs of town government, may seem like a thing of the past. But they are an annual affair, right here in Illinois, and the state’s township governments will be holding them Tuesday evening. Jim Meadows reports on how they work. 

  Story Source: Illinois Public Media

FRANKIELEON / FLICKR- 2.0 GENERIC (CC BY 2.0)

As the opioid epidemic continues across the nation, the number of babies being born with opioid withdrawal symptoms is rising. Crain's Chicago Business health care reporter Kristen Schorsch looked into the difficulties it's causing, not only for families, but for Illinois finances, in her article titled "In Withdrawal: Treating the babies of Illinois' opioid crisis."

The Illinois General Assembly is considering whether people should be allowed to sue to block regulatory decisions of state government. The state’s business community says that’s dangerous for the economy.

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