State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

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Under federal and state law, anyone convicted of domestic violence loses their right to legally own a gun, but there’s a push to also see that penalty extended to anyone convicted of animal abuse.

The Illinois State Crime Commission is behind the proposal. They say it would be an irrevocable, lifetime penalty for all offenders who would lose their ability to receive a Firearm Owner Identification card, eliminating their ability to purchase or own a gun in Illinois.  

Rep. Jeanne Ives continues her campaign to deny Gov. Bruce Rauner renomination as the Republican candidate for governor — a race in which Congressman John Shimkus, the Illinois delegation's senior Republican, is declining to endorse.

Then, do voters care whether candidates release detailed tax returns — or any tax returns — and should they?

Finally, a name from Illinois politics past surfaces as a potential challenger for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Bradley Adcock / Facebook

There may be hope for the doomed replica of a historic McDonald's hamburger restaurant after all.

Upon hearing that McDonald's plans to demolish its museum in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines next month, the Volo Auto Museum in Lake County is exploring the possibility of picking up the entire structure and parking it at the auto museum.

Macon County Sheriff Inducted in Decatur Hall of Fame

Nov 24, 2017
Macon Co. Sheriff's Department / Facebook

Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett has become the latest inductee into Decatur, Illinois' Wall of Fame. Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe announced Buffett's selection. She calls Buffett "a man of purpose" whose contributions to the community go beyond simply writing checks.

 

The 62-year-old son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett was named sheriff Sept. 15 after Thomas Schneider retired. Buffett will serve until the end of the term in November 2018. He says he won't seek election to the office.

 

The Tire Zoo / Flickr

Police will be patrolling the parking lots of Illinois shopping malls this holiday weekend to ticket people illegally parking in spaces reserved for people with disabilities.

 

Secretary of State Jesse White says the patrols start today, the busy post-Thanksgiving shopping day known as Black Friday. Secretary of State Police will target malls in Peoria and Rockford as well as Chicago the suburbs.

 

The severance package for former Northern Illinois University president Doug Baker is now null and void, according to a court ruling Wednesday.

A DeKalb County judge ruled that the NIU Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act. Judge Bradley Waller said in his decision that the board did not adequately notify the public of the terms of Baker’s more than $600,000 severance package.

Illinois’ senior Republican Congressman has declined to endorse Governor Bruce Rauner in next year's primary election.

AT&T and other mobile phone providers are pushing legislation they say will ease congestion on their networks. But some towns and cities across Illinois are worried it’s really a power grab.

Big Rebound for Deere

Nov 22, 2017

Deere and Company is recovering from three years of a global farm recession and weak construction markets. Wednesday the company reported higher sales and profits for its just-completed fiscal year.

Dozens of state employee union members and Northern Illinois University employees protested Monday on the DeKalb campus.

They came in support of a fair initial contract between AFSCME and NIU. Protestors marched in the turn-around outside Altgeld Hall on campus.

AFSCME members have been negotiating with NIU officials since February 2016. Since then, union members filed unfair labor practice charges against NIU and recently won a case regarding parking pass rate increases.

The Executive Inspector General has found that an Illinois Department of Transportation administrator violated conflict-of-interest and merit-hiring rules in the hiring of her next-door neighbor as fleet manager in 2014. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has granted five petitions for clemency and denied 97 others.

A wide-ranging Great Lakes cleanup program would receive $300 million next year under a spending bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Supporters of President Donald Trump held a rally and expo in Rockford Tuesday to celebrate the first year of his presidency.

CAFNR / Flickr

Wireless phone companies are pushing legislation they say will enable the next generation of cellular technology. The proposal would standardize rules, letting AT&T and other carriers install “small cell" towers on streetlight poles. But Doug Brown, the chief utility engineer with Springfield’s City, Water, Light and Power, says there should be exceptions for bigger cities.

“You know, our customers own our power poles, our street lights, our infrastructure. And we want to be fairly compensated for the use of our infrastructure, our right-of-ways."

Lily Gicker / Flickr

The Illinois state fire marshal is urging people to be safe in the kitchen this week. Thanksgiving is the peak day for when the most home cooking fires occur. In 2015, fire departments nationwide responded to over 1,700 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving. That's according to the National Fire Protection Association.

 

The family of a man who died in northern Illinois last month after an apparent altercation during a traffic stop has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

The Chicago City Council has overwhelmingly approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget for 2018.

When Al Bowman was president of Illinois State University, he liked the freedom and flexibility that he had to run his campus. Now that tables have turned.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood is praising the House version of the GOP tax plan he voted for last week.

The opioid epidemic continues to sweep across Illinois and the rest of the nation. The Trump administration recently declared it a public health emergency. But some believe medical marijuana could be the solution.

A Chicago Bears and Fighting Illini legend will be immortalized in bronze at the University of Illinois. 

After being battered for three years in a row by a global farm recession and weak construction markets, this year should be a welcome improvement for John Deere. The maker of farm and construction equipment based in Moline is scheduled to release its report Wednesday for the fiscal year that ended October 31st.

Jerry Huddleston / Flickr

McDonald's Corp. has announced it will demolish a suburban Chicago museum that's a replica of Ray Kroc's first restaurant.

Mayor Mike Inman said businesswoman Kay Ruggles brought the idea for Flags of Love to Macomb after seeing a similar display in southeast Iowa.  Inman said the original goal was to fly 100 American flags in Chandler Park.

Immigration Battle Fuels Higher Ed Uncertainty

Nov 20, 2017
University of Illinois International Student and Scholar Services / Facebook

The ongoing rule changes and legal battles over immigration are affecting international students at the state’s colleges and universities.

Martin McFarland is the Director of International Students and Scholar Services at the University of Illinois. Speaking on the Illinois Public Radio talk show  The 21st, McFarland says the people he works with are getting frustrated with all the uncertainty.

The University of Illinois board has approved bonuses totaling $175,000 for the president of the university's system and the chancellor of the University of Illinois-Chicago campus for the second straight year.

Records have been provided to a psychiatrist preparing the mental evaluation of an Illinois student accused of shooting a classmate in the high school cafeteria.

A southern Illinois congressman says his chamber's passage of legislation addressing floodplains is overdue - and needs to be sent to the president's desk.

Representative Mike Bost says the bill, which reforms FEMA's floodplain insurance program, is a much-needed update. He says numerous property owners in his district would benefit from it.

It’s been nearly two years since Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner formed the State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform to resolve prison over-population in Illinois. Rauner calls the plan “25 by 2025” – which aims to reduce prison populations by a quarter by the year 2025. On this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Jessie Schlacks looks into northern Illinois efforts working toward this goal.

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