State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

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.

Two graduates of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business have made a $75 million gift to the school.

The alleged fraud scheme at the former U.S. Cellular Coliseum took advantage of a known blind spot in the City of Bloomington’s oversight of arena finances, exploiting a decade-long contract that many city leaders disliked from the very beginning, GLT has learned.

University of Illinois Police

A federal grand jury now accuses the alleged kidnapper of Yingying Zhang of murdering her as well.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, a new indictment returned by the grand jury on Tuesday accuses 28-year-old Brendt A. Christensen of the kidnapping resulting in the death of Zhang on June 9th. That’s the day the 26-year-old visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois Urbana campus was last seen. The FBI has said they assume Zhang is dead, but her body has yet to be found. 

Ed Brambley / Flickr

Millions of people have fled Syria since the start of the nation’s civil war.  An Illinois-based author fears the West has turned its attention to other concerns…so she’s trying to keep the crisis in the spotlight. Protesters took to the nation’s streets in 2011 to demonstrate against what they called the repressive regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. 

A majority of the Democratic candidates running for Illinois governor took the stage during a forum Tuesday at Northern Illinois University. The five Democrats had a common target for much of the evening: incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.


Illinois politicians continue reacting to Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. Their responses are often falling along party lines.

Stories are emerging from Las Vegas of tourists running for their lives, trying to escape a hail of gunfire in what’s become the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

State Farm’s plans to realign its IT operations include a voluntary buyout for some employees.

Illinois politicians continue reacting to Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, but responses are falling down party lines.

As happens with just about every mass shooting, and the more routine violence that plagues parts of cities like Chicago, Democrats say it shows the need for tighter gun laws.

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says military-grade weapons should not be considered normal.

But Republicans prefer to set aside those conversation, which is what Gov. Bruce Rauner did when asked whether he would support a so-called assault weapons ban.

Chicago officials say they're constantly evaluating security before the city's annual marathon, but no changes have been made following the deadly shooting in Las Vegas. 

An investigation shows that the Chicago Police Department has failed to closely monitor the way it handles officer overtime.

Movie-related memorabilia collected during late film critic Roger Ebert's tenure at the Chicago Sun-Times will become part of a University of Illinois collection.

A housing report shows that more than 1,300 health and safety issues remain at two public housing complexes in southern Illinois.

A suburban Chicago school district has reinstated a high school football team after determining alleged hazing by team members wasn't criminal in nature.

One of the defense attorneys for former Governor Rod Blagojevich is running for Illinois attorney general.

File FAFSA ASAP!

Oct 3, 2017

Parents of college students and high school seniors headed that way should be busy filling out financial aid paperwork — if they haven’t already.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (better known as the FAFSA) determines eligibility for all financial aid, including Illinois’ grants for lower-income students.

The old FAFSA application period opened on Jan. 1, and you couldn't complete the form until you'd filed your taxes. But as of last year, the federal government decided to accept “prior prior” year’s taxes,

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is talking about building a movement to improve the state’s political and economic climate.

But he still wouldn’t say whether he will run for re-election.

Several Republican lawmakers say Rauner lost their support after the governor signed a bill last week that allows state money to help pay for abortions.

One said a primary challenger is inevitable, though nobody has yet stepped forward.

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