State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board has approved plans for a 100-bed psychiatric hospital to address a substance abuse crisis in two of the state's counties.

The volume of applications in Illinois for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is down about 14 percent from last year, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

The decrease in filings follows the Department of Education's recent changes to encourage more people to submit them; the filing window is open earlier, and the application does not require people to update it with 2016 tax information.

Eric Zarnikow is the executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

It's a project more than 17 years in the making. On Monday, a ground-breaking ceremony signaled the next chapter for the new I-74 bridge between Bettendorf and Moline.

George Washington Gale is one of Galesburg's most important historical figures. He founded the city and Knox College in 1837. And one year before that, Gale founded the location that would be his final resting place, Hope Cemetery.

Democrats and Republicans are continuing to negotiate in Springfield as Illinois is approaching two years without a budget. Both sides are narrowing their focus.

On Sunday, House Speaker Michael Madigan issued three demands for budget negotiations, and one of them was for Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign Senate Bill 1 — a massive overhaul to the state’s school funding structure. But he also said he was open to changes in that bill. Education Desk reporter Dusty Rhodes gives us a refresher course on what those changes might be.

 

The Illinois State Board of Education is proposing a new timeline for a federal law that aims to help students pass state exams as well as be proficient in math and reading.

Illinois health officials say they're seeing an increase in tick-borne illness among residents in the state.

Visitors to this year's Illinois State Fair will be able to buy tickets and parking passes online and have the tickets scanned at the gate on their mobile phone.

The city of Champaign has extended its moratorium on new video-gambling machines until Jan. 23.

Illinois officials are asking the public to let trained and licensed experts handle fireworks as the Fourth of July holiday approaches.

An exhibit on the Harlem Renaissance has opened at the African-American Cultural and Genealogical Society Museum of Illinois in Decatur.

Groups are working with the city of Springfield to expand youth programs this summer.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Democrats are finalizing a proposed state budget plan and could present it to minority Republicans as soon as Tuesday.

Madigan and fellow Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg Harris would not discuss details but said they're devising a spending plan and revenue to pay for it. It might be ready for discussion at Tuesday's meeting of the four legislative leaders. 

The state's budget impasse may soon affect more than just overall funding for higher education.


Illinois’ top fiscal officer the state budget crisis could soon go from bad to worse.

As Illinois closes in on a second full year without a budget, the top leaders of the General Assembly met Sunday for the first time this year. There are some signs of progress.

Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington may be one of the smaller accredited zoos in the nation. It's a leader, however, when it comes to preserving several species of animals that are threatened or endangered.

The zoo currently is helping some 20 species survive, including the snow leopard, the red wolf, and San Clemente Island goat. It is a breeder for about 50 kinds of animals to insure they don't become endangered. Among them are: the sumatran tiger, tammar wallaby, the red-ruffed lemur and the kookaburra, a long-bill bird.

Judges will be encouraged to prescribe longer sentences for repeat gun offenders under a plan signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

 

Gov. Bruce Rauner has threatened to reject a plan extending the funding mechanism for the state's 911 call centers, saying proposed fee increases are too high and the plan is loaded with other things. 

Senate President John Cullerton says his chamber has previously accomplished everything Gov. Bruce Rauner has outlined on a special session agenda called to force a budget deal. 

Illinois residents are being warned to beware of rabid animals after more than two dozen rabid bats have been reported in the state this year.

Across Illinois - social service providers are having to make cuts. The head of one shelter says without a state budget, its future is bleak.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White seems to be having second thoughts about stepping down from office.

White announced two years ago that he would not run again.

The 82-year-old White sent a surrogate Thursday to address a room full of Cook County Democratic Party officials.

Chicago Alderman Walter Burnett read a letter from White.

“There have been calls, emails, resolutions urging him to run,” he said. “He asked me to tell you today that he has heard the calls and is taking those requests very seriously, although he has not yet finalized a decision.”

An Illinois man has been charged after posting online several times that he wants to assassinate President Donald Trump.

An Illinois bill that would require private companies to disclose when they would collect or sell mobile phone user data may be voted on in this special state legislative session. 

The Geolocation Privacy Protection Act would regulate entities that want to collect location data from someone’s phone. The user would have to give consent for data to be collected.

Former President Barack Obama's presidential center could include a playground, performance lawn and a sledding hill. 

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - Representatives of University of Illinois police and a campus counseling center will meet with students to discuss the search for a visiting scholar from China.

WIU / Facebook

Summer music camps are a staple at universities and institutes across the country. Most of them focus on large ensembles playing large works. But Western Illinois Univeristy’s School of Music is trying something different and going small. Illinois Public Radio's Jonathan Ahl explains.

The Illinois General Assembly was back in Springfield Wednesday for the first of 10 special sessions on the budget and other priorities of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

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