State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

The House has approved a measure aimed at making it easier to claim life insurance benefits when a policyholder dies. 

In 1857, when Illinois State Normal University was founded, it was none other than Abraham Lincoln who drew up the legal documents to help establish the school.

The standard of living for African-American children in Illinois is worse than most other states. That’s according to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Illinois is 34th in the nation in the terms of the living conditions of African- American children, according to the report.

“You see that African-American children in particular are lagging far behind when you look at this composite score,” says Anna Rowan of Voices for Illinois Children.

Illinois House Democrats endorsed a ban on firearm trigger-modifications - including bump stocks like those used in the Las Vegas mass shooting. 

Illinois Lawmakers to Combat Sexual Harassment

Oct 24, 2017

Illinois lawmakers will consider a measure that mandates legislators, their staff, and lobbyists complete yearly sexual harassment training.

A federal judge in central Illinois has tossed two counts in a 24-count indictment of former Rep. Aaron Schock, including a wire fraud allegation, but he still faces serious charges.

The Illinois Senate has voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of legislation that prohibits local governments from establishing "right to work" zones.

The Illinois attorney general is suing a Chicago gas company over an underground natural-gas leak that has affected water wells near the central part of the state.

The Illinois Capitol was briefly evacuated following a small furnace fire shortly before lawmakers were expected to gather for a veto session.

Aldermen seeking more information about the use of city credit cards were told about an unintentional “oversight” related to the booking of Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner’s trip to Japan, newly released emails show.

Mayor Tari Renner conceded Tuesday he has “serious communication issues” to work out with the Bloomington aldermen who publicly admonished him, even as he called one of them a “bully” and said that some don’t understand the city’s form of government.

43-year-old man previously accused of attempting to cash forged checks belonging to a suburban Chicago woman who died in 1994 has been charged with murder.

Both Illinois and Wisconsin made the top third in a recent ranking of states on energy efficiency.

For National Energy Awareness Month this month, WalletHub gleaned data from several federal sources to calculate Home Energy Efficiency and Auto Energy Efficiency among the 48 contiguous states. Alaska and Hawaii were excluded because of a lack of data.

A federal judge in central Illinois is standing by one of his findings in the theft-of-government-funds case against former Rep. Aaron Schock.

Illinois state lawmakers are on their way back to Springfield.

OSF HealthCare has broken ground on its new medical center in north Normal.

Ghoulish Gourds on Display in Northern Illinois

Oct 23, 2017
Gourdheadz.com

It’s not unusual for complete strangers to stop by Joe Adkins front yard in Wheaton at this time of year. You could say he encourages it. He has several giant pumpkins on display. Two of them totalling nearly three thousand pounds. Illinois Public Radio’s Brian O’Keefe stopped at Joe’s house, and has this audio postcard. 

     

Bruce Rauner / YouTube

Governor Bruce Rauner has made his long awaited announcement that he is seeking re-election.  The first term Republican issued a video today that features him riding his motorcycle through Illinois.  It focuses on the agenda he has pushed since taking office, including property tax relief. In the video, he talks about battles waged with the General Assembly, adding that that he has won some and lost some.

Credit: YouTube

The head of a national group meant to help elect Democratic governors around the country says he expects President Trump to be a big factor for Illinois voters next year.

An Illinois lawmaker is calling on Facebook to ensure political ads are fundamentally factual, after learning the social media giant has no such guidelines.

Chicago and Illinois submit their joint bid for Amazon's "HQ2" — a second headquarters for the web retailer. We'll talk about the incentives arms race, Illinois' strengths and weaknesses, and the secret bid.

Congressman Davis Ready for Tax Cuts

Oct 20, 2017

A central Illinois congressman is ready to vote for tax cuts.

Illinois teachers who buy classroom supplies with their own money may now receive a state tax credit of up to $250.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has outlined more than $200 million in cuts it wants to make to Illinois' new budget, including to human services, agriculture programs and transportation.

An organization is working to reopen a Civil War museum in Illinois that has been closed since August.

University of Chicago graduate students, who both teach and do research in earning advanced degrees, have voted to unionize.

Rep. Davis Hosts Cybersecurity Talk In Bloomington

Oct 20, 2017

Facing cybersecurity issues on multiple fronts, local officials and IT experts briefed U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis on Thursday about what they're doing to keep pace with hackers and other online threats.

The Trump administration earlier this month rolled back birth control provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  The new rules let almost any employer with religious or moral objections to skip rule that contraception coverage had to be provided without co-pays.  

The State of Illinois already passed a law to offer even greater protections than the ACA.  But with the new Trump guidelines not all women in the state can be sure they're covered.  

Five DeKalb-area panelists took part in an Illinois Issues discussion earlier this week about the effects of the two-year Illinois budget impasse and the state’s financial future. That’s the subject of this week's WNIJ Friday Forum.

Illinois was without a state budget for two years. That ended in early July when lawmakers overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto.  It was a huge relief to schools, social service agencies, and programs that rely on state funding. But celebrations were tempered by the reality of the state’s fiscal situation.

Kennedy's Campaign Criticizes Democratic Party

Oct 19, 2017

A Democratic candidate for Illinois governor is making criticisms of his own party a hallmark of his campaign.

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