State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Illinois will get $1.7 million in federal grants for six anti-poverty programs.

There's a new plaque at the state capitol in Springfield commemorating President Barack Obama's 2016 speech to lawmakers in the Illinois House.

Gov. Bruce Rauner outlined his plans for the Illinois budget in a speech to lawmakers Wednesday afternoon.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered his budget address for Fiscal Year 2019, which begins July 1, at a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield.

He called for pension reforms, criminal-justice reform, and completion of a 200-bed veterans' home in Chicago -- in addition to adopting policies that will cut down on waste and unnecessary expense. He cited an example at the Governor's Mansion:

Illinois State Bar Association

CHICAGO - A judge has granted nine certificates of innocence and vacated the convictions of two defendants whose cases were connected to a corrupt Chicago police officer.

Cook County Circuit Judge LeRoy Martin on Tuesday issued the innocence certificates to men who claimed they were locked up for no other reason except they refused to pay a tactical team led by former Sgt. Ronald Watts.

Governor Bruce Rauner's budget address at noon Wednesday is expected to be a plan that would leave the state with a small surplus. But that doesn't mean he's going to get a good grade from math teachers. Or any other teachers.


Rauner listed school funding reform as his top accomplishment of 2017. But today, he will ask the General Assembly to shoot a sizeable hole in that plan.  


A group of Illinois state legislators want to lower check cashing rates at currency exchanges — while the industry is pushing to raise those rates.


Last summer, the industry told Illinois’ financial regulator it hadn’t been allowed to increase service fees since 2007, and the time had come for a raise. 

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has been campaigning relentlessly against last year’s income tax increase.

But in his annual budget address Wednesday, he'll call for spending the extra money that rate hike has generated.

Two More Legionnaires' Disease Cases Found At Veterans Home

Feb 13, 2018

Officials say there are two more laboratory-confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease among residents of a veterans' home in western Illinois. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Monday night that its engineering staff has removed faucets from the residents' rooms at the Illinois Veterans' Home in Quincy, collected water samples and taken other steps to ensure safe water.

The department says the two residents with the respiratory illness are doing well. The disease is caused by bacteria in water vapor that's inhaled.

Powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is dismissing calls to resign after a campaign worker for Illinois Democrats says it took party officials too long to respond after she reported sexual harassment by a male supervisor last year.

Senate President John Cullerton is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to propose a budget plan that's balanced.

An Illinois House committee has delayed voting on plans to change how hospitals receive Medicaid dollars as two Chicago hospitals say a revised formula could force them to close. 

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

NEW YORK (AP) - A coalition of state attorneys general is urging the U.S. Department of Commerce to not add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, saying it could lower participation among immigrants and cause a population undercount.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is urging minority students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate teaching program to apply for available scholarship money.

Survivors of domestic violence who want to change their name might get additional protections under a new Illinois proposal.  

A federal judge has set an April 2019 trial date for a former physics student accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China.

Courts across Illinois have had about a month to adjust to the requirements of the new bail reform law that took effect Jan. 1.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has dismissed a long-time political consultant after an investigation found he sent inappropriate text messages to a colleague. 

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport will receive a $640,000 grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to buy zero emissions ground support equipment.

Opioid deaths nearly doubled in Sangamon County last year, with heroin as the leading cause in 20 of the 42 opioid-related deaths, according to data retrieved from the county coroner’s office.

  CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois lawmakers and the state's hospitals have reached a tentative agreement on a new method of spreading billions of dollars in federal Medicaid money to hospitals across the state.


But some of Illinois' 22 so-called "safety net" hospitals that serve a high volume of Medicaid patients could lose money under the new program. That's prompting concerns hospitals may have to cut services, lay off staff or even close. / Creative Commons

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - University of Illinois researchers are using a $4 million grant to study how information moves across social media, affecting people's beliefs and shaping events.


Computer Science Professor Tarek Abdelzaher is leading a team that received a five-year grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The team has been modeling information spread on Instagram and Twitter and will study other platforms.


   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Attorneys for Southern Illinois University School of Medicine indicate they will ask a judge to dismiss part of a lawsuit alleging wage discrimination because few female doctors have joined the litigation.


Three current and former faculty members at the school have joined the federal lawsuit filed in 2015.


Illinois State Board of Education / Facebook

For the past year or two, public school funding has been a topic of news stories, yard signs and even campaign ads culminating in Illinois lawmakers approving a historic overhaul of the way the state pays for education. But as it turns out, getting the reform signed into law was only half the battle. The nitty-gritty of actually implementing the changes has sparked a series of legislative skirmishes pitting the State Board of Education against some unexpected opponents. Our Education Desk reporter Dusty Rhodes explains.



Seven Settlement Houses (University of Illinois at Chicago) / Special Collections and University Archives

A new exhibit opening next month at the Illinois State Museum will feature three "unsung heroes." Museum officials say they're focusing on "ordinary people who did extraordinary things." They are nurse Anna Heistad, who worked in Chicago in the early 19th century during a flu pandemic, missionary worker Minnie Vautrin of Secor, who helped shelter thousands of women and children, and Thomas Jones, a Navy medic.

The display relies on photos and personal objects to tell their stories.


Watchdog Group Suggests Taxing Retirement Income

Feb 12, 2018
Gov. Bruce Rauner / Facebook

Governor Bruce Rauner is set to propose his state budget plan this week. It comes as a watchdog group suggests the state’s finances are so bad, Illinois should start taxing retirement income. Taxing retirement income is an age-old debate in Illinois that has a lot of political pitfalls. But Laurence Msall with the Civic Federation, a group that monitors the state’s budget, says the 2-year-long budget impasse did so much long-term damage that everyone will now have to make some sacrifices.


The controversial standardized tests known as PARCC could be on their way out after this spring. The Illinois State Board of Education plans to request sealed proposals for a new statewide exam next week. That’s in response to concerns from teachers and parents about the hours-long reading and math assessment that most third- and eighth-graders failed.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has appealed a decision adding severe pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

The paperwork filed Thursday in Cook County comes weeks after a judge ordered “intractable pain,'' or severe and constant pain with no cure, be added to over 40 qualifying medical conditions.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit from 58-year-old Ann Mednick of Rolling Meadows. She argues medical marijuana would help treat pain related to osteoarthritis without her having to use opioids for treatment. 

Mike Licht / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Some members of Congress want a one-year deadline for completing a federal study on keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes by strengthening defenses on a crucial Illinois waterway.

In a letter Thursday to heads of House spending committees, 26 lawmakers from Great Lakes states say the next federal budget should order the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finish its Brandon Road Lock and Dam study by February 2019.


The polls have opened for Illinois’ primary election, as voters were allowed to start casting early ballots Thursday. But the state’s election technology needs to be overhauled, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.