State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

School funding problems, including disparities between districts, have grabbed the headlines in Illinois the last couple of years.  But a website recently ranked Illinois schools among the best in the country for teachers.

Personal finance website WalletHub said it looked at two broad areas when ranking the states:

One -- Opportunity and Competition -- included average starting salaries, income growth potential, pensions and tenure protections.

The Democratic candidates for Illinois Governor convened at a progressive forum yesterday to stake out the distinctions in their campaigns.

Evanston state Sen. Daniel Biss started with a question.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has been taking a victory lap for the new school funding formula at schools across the state. Such visits can be a low-stakes way for the state’s top politicians to interact with their youngest constituents.

Last month, Rauner took questions from several inquisitive students at Galapagos Charter School in Rockford.

Rauner: So do you have any questions for me?

Student: How much do you get paid?

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - The airport in Peoria is set to receive nearly $2 million in federal money to pay for a runway lighting rehabilitation project.

Fallout continues from Gov. Bruce Rauner's decision to sign a pro-abortion bill, with some Republicans calling him a liar and others courting primary challengers. How will this affect his bid for reelection?

There’s been a lot of finger-pointing since prosecutors announced that five former managers at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum were facing 111 criminal counts of theft, fraud, and money laundering.

Rodger Heaton, Illinois Director of Public Safety since January 2015,  will become chief of staff for Gov. Bruce Rauner, effective Monday.

Heaton succeeds Kristina Rasmussen, the former CEO of the conservative-leaning Illinois Policy Institute, who has headed the governor’s staff since July 2017.

Rauner made the announcement Friday.

The University of Illinois is leading a $25 million initiative to develop an "internet of battlefield things."

DeKalb County Judge Robbin Stuckert denied a petition requesting to void a guilty plea for the man convicted of killing Northern Illinois University student Toni Keller.

Judge Stuckert ruled in her 11-page opinion there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that William Curl’s rights were infringed upon throughout the case.

A northern Illinois judge has set bond at $1 million for a former LaSalle County sheriff's deputy who surrendered after a multi-day manhunt.

A Cook County commissioner says a deal has been reached to repeal a Chicago-area tax on sweetened beverages. 

The mayors of Chicago and Washington are making a friendly wager on the outcome of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and the Nationals.

Law enforcement in Sangamon County is gearing up for Luke Bryan’s concert on Friday after a late venue change due to rain. The concert was originally scheduled to be held at the Ayers Family Farm in Edinburg, Illinois, a small town in Christian County. It is now moved to the Illinois State Fairgrounds. 

UPDATE   12:15 p.m.

A local juvenile, described as a person of interest, has been detained, according to local authorities.  Schools are being given the all clear signal.  District officials say they take each threat seriously.  

Police Chief Kenny Winslow says it's "not a joke, not a prank."  He says those responsible will be held accountable.

State and federal legislators from Illinois are proposing new laws in response to Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

There is a growing bipartisan chorus of calls to take a step in the direction of regulating guns in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, including two lawmakers from Central Illinois.

Police say they're increasing security for Sunday's Chicago Marathon after a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas earlier this week, killing 59 people.

Authorities in north central Illinois say they've captured a former LaSalle County sheriff's deputy wanted for contacting the mother of the teenage girl he's accused of holding against her will.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett's son Howard Buffett will build a $4.2 million regional dispatch center south of Decatur in central Illinois.

The Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois has closed one of its roads to ensure the safety of snake species that cross it on their way to hibernate.

Trump's Immigration Policy Not Affecting U of I

Oct 5, 2017

The Chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says so far, the Trump Administration immigration and visa policies have not hurt the university in recruiting students and employees. 

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Ameya Pawar wants Illinois to move towards free tuition for state universities. And the Chicago alderman says one way to do it is to spend more on capitol development at state college campuses.

A television commercial​ now airing for Gov. Bruce Rauner touts the school funding reform legislation he signed into law in August. But the campaign spot is somewhat misleading.

The ad begins: “It's been called nothing short of a miracle.”

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Psychologists in Illinois talk of fears they have for young recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Luis Gomez says his anxiety has been exacerbated by the ongoing debate over whether to end DACA.

Last month, the Trump administration announced it was terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — also known as DACA. Created by President Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential order, DACA grants undocumented youth who entered the country as children temporary protection against deportation, as well as the right to work.

State Rep. David Harris is the latest in a growing list of Illinois lawmakers who say they’re not running for reelection.

The small, white dilapidated building at 221 E. Jackson St. has sat empty for more than  a decade. The building formerly operated as a Maid Rite restaurant. It is described as a 720 square foot tool shed in McDonough County's property records.

Will the Cook County Soda Tax Trickle Downstate?

Oct 4, 2017

State Senator Chapin Rose says downstate Illinoisans should be concerned about Cook County’s controversial sales tax on sweetened beverages --- even though they don’t have to pay it.

As the Illinois Lottery gets closer to finalizing a deal with a new private manager, some lawmakers are frustrated with the lack of details being provided to the public.

Another new lawsuit wants to ensure issues related to people with disabilities are addressed in any plan to reform Chicago police.

The Chicago Transit Authority is encouraging people to use public transportation to get to this weekend's Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

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