State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

The board of trustees at Western Illinois University has voted to keep costs for the 2018-2019 school year at current levels.

With the American flag flying in the background, a group of about 30 Illinois State University students demonstrated Monday in front of the Hovey Hall administration building to press university officials to make ISU an official "welcoming campus."

After Illinois was targeted by Russian hackers prior to the 2016 elections and voter information leaked, securing future data has become a priority.  The state may now look to emerging technology for one possible solution.       

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CHICAGO - An Army veteran from Chicago who served two tours in Afghanistan and had been in the U.S. since age 8 has been deported to Mexico because of a 2008 drug-trafficking conviction.

A year ago, lawmakers decided to change school health examination requirements. They added screenings for social and emotional development, but the details are still being worked out.

Led by students, the "March for our Lives" effort made its way across the nation and here in Illinois over the weekend. Hundreds of people gathered outside the state capitol building in Springfield on Saturday before marching downtown.

For more than 30 years, kids with a certain streak of genius have found a home at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in suburban Chicago. It’s the rarest of gems in the educational landscape: a public, affordable, boarding school. One of just a handful of such schools nationwide, Wired magazine dubbed it “Hogwarts for Hackers.” But now, after the state’s two-year budget impasse, lawmakers are pondering a proposal that would welcome wizards from outside of Illinois — for a price.

The nation's oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP, and Illinois police officials announced Thursday an agreed upon resolution they say took years to hash out. The "affirmation of shared principles" was inspired in part by the death of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

Gov. Bruce Rauner won renomination by just three percentage points — a remarkable margin considering he raised more campaign cash than his opponent, Rep. Jeanne Ives, by a factor of 26 to one. Ives says she won't be endorsing the Republican governor for reelection.

Meanwhile, J.B. Pritzker bested each of his two main opponents for the Democratic nomination by 20 percentage points. But state Sen. Daniel Biss and Chris Kennedy both say they'll support Pritzker in his race against Rauner.

Governor Bruce Rauner has signed what education officials say is the final law needed to make major changes to the way Illinois funds public schools.

The big bipartisan overhaul was signed into law last summer. But as sometimes happens with major legislation, the government officials whose job is to implement it came back to lawmakers saying mistakes were made, and no new money would flow without a legislative fix.

State Senator Andy Manar, the central Illinois Democrat who sponsored the legislation, blames that partly on ...

A year ago, lawmakers decided to change school health examination requirements. They want to add screenings for social and emotional development.  But the details are still being worked out. 

The law leaves it up to the Illinois Department of Public Health to put together the rules regarding these screenings. As the law reads right now, it’s vague. How they’ll be done, who receives them, and the tools needed to do so isn’t spelled out… that’s what the stakeholders are trying to figure out.

People now can weigh in on what they think is the greatest invention to come out of Illinois.

The winner earns bragging rights as part of the state’s bicentennial celebration.

Chris Wills is a spokesman for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. He says the entries for the latest poll include a wide range of inventions and innovations from across the state -- from skyscrapers to the steel plow. And there are other items that people are familiar with:

An obscure, technical bit of legislation could make a big difference for some of the state’s youngest students. It’s meant to tie up all the loose ends on the massive school funding reform lawmakers approved last August. This cleanup bill contains more than a dozen changes, plus language that would fund bilingual education for students in pre-kindergarten classes. All it needs is the signature of Governor Bruce Rauner.

 

Without that?

A former campaign consultant for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is suing his political committee and the state Democratic Party, alleging that reporting a top lieutenant for sexual harassment hindered her from advancing in the speaker's organization.

Alaina Hampton filed the lawsuit Wednesday against the Democratic Party of Illinois, chaired by Madigan, and his political fund, Friends of Michael J. Madigan, alleging retaliation for "asserting her rights to be free from unlawful harassment and a sexually hostile work environment."

Gov. Bruce Rauner is seeking "common ground" with Republicans on divisive issues after barely surviving an insurgent challenge in Tuesday's election.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is preparing to unveil a new exhibit on four U.S. presidents with ties to Illinois.

Continuing last year's record-setting growth, Chicago set new tourism records in the first months of 2018.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker and Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner will square off this fall in the general election for Illinois governor.  Each pumped millions into their campaigns to win primary races. Their return on investment shows just how costly this race will be.  

Lincoln Land Community College received its largest-ever donation – an $18-million gift benefiting the school’s agriculture program. 

As big box stores continue to close, some worry Illinois isn't ready for the changing economy.

Ford County Bomb Suspects Appear in Federal Court

Mar 22, 2018
Matt Sepic / MPR

Three men from unincorporated Clarence, a town 35 miles north of Urbana, are accused of setting off a pipe bomb at a mosque just outside of Minneapolis last August. Matt Sepic attended a court appearance yesterday for Minnesota Public Radio. It featured two of the men, plus another who faces a gun charge in connection with the others.

IL Senate GOP / YouTube

Republican State Senator Jil Tracy of Quincy believes that gun bans won’t prevent school shootings and other acts of violence.

Tracy says knives, pipe bombs, and cars are also used to cause harm, so she questions the effectiveness of what she calls gun infringement bills. Tracy believes it makes more sense to focus on improving mental health care services in schools and throughout society. Tracy also says Hollywood and video game makers must accept some responsibility for de-sensitizing people to violence.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was in full campaign attack mode the day after he eked out a narrow win in the primary.  

Rauner didn’t take any time to savor his victory. Wednesday, he made factory stops in St. Charles, Rockford and Moline to press the flesh and make his case for re-election.  

A Southern Illinois University official says the school is considering having a satellite office for its law school in downtown Springfield or Edwardsville.

Turnout in Tuesday’s election fell slightly in McLean County from the last gubernatorial primary in 2014—though a much larger percentage of voters took Democratic ballots.

Illinois primary voters have spoken. This year’s race for governor will be a battle between two of the wealthiest men in the state.

But this outcome almost didn’t come to pass.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker won easily, but incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner barely escaped a humiliating defeat.

Erika Harold won the Republican nomination for Illinois attorney general, while state Sen. Kwame Raoul defeated a crowded race to win the Democratic nod. They'll face off in the general election in November.

Incumbent Attorney General Lisa Madigan set off a scramble last year when she made a surprise announcement she would not seek a fifth term. The race drew ten candidates in all.

With funding from the Republican Party and Governor Bruce Rauner, Harold beat former Burr Ridge mayor Gary Grasso, winning 60 percent of the vote.

After what’s thought to be one of the most expensive primaries in Illinois history, billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker is the Democratic nominee for governor.  Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner won the Republican primary, narrowly beating his only opponent, state Representative Jeanne Ives.

Peoria Council to Consider Waste Collection Options

Mar 21, 2018
IIP Photo Archive / CC BY-NC 2.0 / Flickr

The City of Peoria’s contract for garbage collection expires next year. There are proposals from three companies and one from the city itself for a new contract. Rather than considering a single proposal, city staff is recommending a hybrid approach. Staff is suggesting the current refuse collector, PDC Services, would continue to pick up garbage. But instead of PDC gathering yard waste and recyclables as it now does, the city would assume collection of those items.

A former University of Illinois student accused of sexual assault has filed a lawsuit alleging the school violated his constitution rights to due process.

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