State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Airbnb.com

  ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - Chicago is the most popular destination in Illinois for Airbnb, but the top 10 list includes a mix of communities statewide. The top cities include Rockford, Evanston, Champaign and Carbondale.

Veterans Group Looks for Pictures

Jan 2, 2018
Hu Totya / Wikimedia Commons

  ELMHURST, Ill. - Volunteers are coordinating a statewide effort to track down photos of Illinois natives killed during the Vietnam War as part of a national project by a veterans group.

 

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund started the "Wall of Faces" project about a decade ago to find photos for the more than 58,300 names listed on the monument in Washington, D.C. The group is working to create a digital database of the photos.

 

New Trio of Laws Aim to Protect Illinois Cyclists

Jan 2, 2018
Sean Freese / Flickr

Bicyclists in downstate Illinois can now do what those in Chicago and eight other states have done for years. A new state law permits them to put a red tail light on the rear of their bike, instead of, or in addition to the traditional red reflector.

Tania Sebastian with the group Ride Illinois says the new law is recognition of changing technology.

A new law will give some Illinois truck drivers a break when it comes to safety inspections. It sounds like an idea that could make roads less safe.  But Don Schaefer with the Midwest Truckers Association says that's not the case.  

Many blind parents say they have fallen prey to preconceived biases involving their children and their parenting capabilities. A new law in Illinois aims to address these concerns.

Twenty-seventeen was a wild year in Illinois government and politics: it began without a budget and ended with the Republican governor facing a primary challenge.

Along the way there was a tax hike, a once-in-a-generation overhaul of education funding, hot-button bills relating to abortion and immigration, and accusations of a culture of sexual harassment in the Statehouse.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Conservative activists and legislators pressing a lawsuit against publicly funded abortions in Illinois are seeking an emergency injunction to prevent the law from taking effect Monday. 

University of Illinois Police

The family of Yingying Zhang is hoping that 2018 will be the year they get answers about her disappearance. That’s when Brendt Christensen, the man accused of kidnapping and causing the death of the young visiting scholar from China, is to go on trial. 

When a police officer is injured, getting them medical help is expected.  But what about when that officer is a K-9?  A new Illinois law allows E-M-T's to transport the dog to a veterinarian for treatment. 

The Southern Illinoisan/AP

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois panel is expected to hear a case against a troubled public housing authority facing allegations of unfair labor.

Wikimedia Commons

If you thought 2017 was an interesting year politically, 2018 is forecast to be intense. 

A recent update to the Illinois Department of Transportation website aims to make winter road condition information more convenient and accessible for drivers.

A redesign of the “Getting Around Illinois” website features more detailed reports on snow coverage, as well as the ability to zoom in to a specific location or travel route.

The redesign also introduces a new color scheme to match seamlessly with those from surrounding states.

WIU Contact Talks Continue

Dec 26, 2017
Judd McCullum / Flickr

Western Illinois University teachers and staff are still in mediation with the administration regarding a new contract.  They’re working under terms of the previous contract, which expired over the summer. 

Western’s president said he hopes the two sides “will arrive at an equitable and mutually beneficial resolution.” That statement sparked some teachers and administrators to offer up a few comments to Western’s Board of Trustees. Illinois Public Radio’s Rich Egger reports.

 

Advocates say progress was made this year when it comes to rights of Illinois residents who are LGBTQ+.

While across the country hate crime rates rose after the presidential election, Illinois has passed some laws addressing the issue. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center and FBI statistics - the last quarter of 2016 saw hate crimes go up more than 25% in the U.S.

New Law Will Force Insurers To Pay Death Benefits

Dec 26, 2017

Beginning in 2018, insurance companies must become more diligent in notifying beneficiaries of life insurance policies

A law taking effect January first is meant to force Illinois government to be more honest about its money problems.

Gov. Bruce Rauner requested a sit-down with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, and covered a range of grievances in his hour-long conversation.

He blamed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for not supporting the governor's agenda, he said House Republicans were not principled enough, and he seemed disappointed that Illinois no longer had a crisis he could leverage to pass his business-friendly, union-weakening agenda.

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is again criticizing Governor Bruce Rauner’s handling of Legionnaires’ disease at a veterans home, saying “We need solutions, not cover-ups.”

An Illinois lawmaker says a casino proposed for southern Wisconsin would deal an economic blow to an adjacent Illinois town.

A federal judge has ordered the city of Springfield to pay more than $330,000 to civil rights attorneys who represented two panhandlers in the legal fight over anti-panhandling laws in the city.

Apple iPhone owners from several states are suing the tech giant for not disclosing sooner that it had issued software updates deliberately slowing older-model phones so aging batteries lasted longer.

Suburban Chicago's Brookfield Zoo says a polar bear that was the species' oldest male at an accredited North American zoo has died at age 32.

Illinois public schools face a teacher shortage, and officials increasingly are turning to substitutes when full-time educators are unavailable. But what effects does this have on education, particularly when substitutes themselves are becoming harder to find? In this week’s Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Chase Cavanaugh looks for some of the answers.

The owners of the Castle Theatre in downtown Bloomington will soon have a second music venue in central Illinois.

Many of us enjoy a party on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, but for a few wealthy Illinois residents, Jan. 2 will be the day to celebrate. Beginning at 8 a.m., on a first-come, first-served basis, they can reserve a hefty tax credit in return for their donation to a private school.

Firearms are so synonymous with American culture that gun control—even after a barrage of mass shootings—remains a political nonstarter. But what if the real problem was something even harder to disentangle from modern life?

If you’re hitting the road for holiday travel, be ready to pay more at the gas pump. 

As Bloomington’s new civilian police advisory board gets to work, a similar group in the Town of Normal will also be taking shape in 2018.

Effective immediately, the fees for a popular form of small business in Illinois are significantly lower.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation Wednesday that substantially reduces startup, annual filing and other fees for limited liability companies (LLCs).

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