State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Illinois Man Gets 11 Life Terms

Jul 18, 2017

GENEVA, Ill. (AP) - A northern Illinois man has been given 11 life sentences after he was convicted of sexually assaulting three children under age 13.

 

49-year-old Robert E. Craig of Hampshire was sentenced last week in Kane County. Judge John Barsanti ordered him to serve the life term concurrently along with six three-year terms. The former Carpentersville man was convicted in February of 11 counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and six counts of criminal sexual abuse. He is not eligible for parole.

 

Paul Paul Valade / AP Photo

   

ALGONQUIN, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has added Cook County to a state disaster proclamation amid flooding in the northern portion of the state and warned that evacuations could take place this week.

A tax increase is not the only change coming for some Illinois residents as the new budget package is rolled out.  

U of I College of ACES and College of LAS at IL / Twitter

Researchers with the University of Illinois’ crop research project - Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency, or RIPE for short – recently invited the media and the public to a field day. They showed off some of their research on increasing photosynthesis in plants, which they believe will in turn increase plant bio-mass, and crop yields. Don Ort is the associate director of the RIPE project and a crop science professor at the U of I.

The shakeup in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office seems to signal a tougher stance on school funding. The state spending plan passed by the General Assembly requires adoption of a new funding formula, but Rauner has promised to veto the only school formula plan that got legislative approval. This standoff might make the lawsuit filed by 21 school superintendents more relevant.

 

The lawsuit, filed in April, demands that Illinois honor its constitutional obligation to provide a high quality education for all students.

Crain’s Chicago Business is reporting that four more advisers to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner are out Friday.

It marks the end of a week in which there’s been big turnover in Rauner’s office.

Rauner has a new chief of staff and a few other top advisory positions in his office who come from the hard-line advocacy group Illinois Policy Institute, which has a legal arm that’s sued over same day voter registration and union work rules.

Family of Yingying Zhang Increases Monetary Reward

Jul 14, 2017

The family of missing Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang has increased the amount of reward money for information about her location. 

Moody's Questions Illinois's Ability To Pay Bills

Jul 14, 2017

A major bond-rating agency says the state's fiscal challenges linger despite approval of the first state budget in two years.

Moody's Investors Service issued a report Friday. It notes that an income tax increase approved this month will generate nearly $5 billion more a year.

It says the new revenue will ease the Prairie State's cash crunch. The political squabbling since 2015 between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly has contributed to a backlog of bills of nearly $15 billion.

The son of billionaire Warren Buffett is helping a rural Illinois city halt its declining population.

Forecasters say flooding in north-suburban Chicago could worsen over the weekend as water flows down rivers into the state from Wisconsin.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is replacing several top aides with employees of the Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian-conservative advocacy organization. It comes days after a bipartisan group of legislators ended Illinois' two-year budget impasse by overriding Rauner's veto. 

Change is coming to the state agency that oversees historic sites and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  

A faster response to reports of sexual assault and more sensitive treatment of victims are the goals of new Illinois guidelines for law-enforcement agencies issued this month.

It follows the state's Sexual Assault Incident Procedure Act, which requires specialized training and new polices to improve law enforcement to these incidents. 

Illinois lawmakers have an ironic strategy for digging out of debt: taking on more of it.

Southern Illinois University trustees have appointed a University of Alberta nanotechnology scientist as chancellor of the Carbondale campus.

National security was the focus for some members of Congress during a week-long trip to the Middle East. The group, including Cheri Bustos from East Moline and Illinois' 17th District, traveled to Israel and Jordan.

The issue pits business interests against privacy concerns.

For Carolyn Parrish, a privacy professional based in Evanston, data privacy is just as important in her personal, everyday life, as it is to keeping her business running.

The Justice Department says a federal grand jury has indicted Brendt Christensen of Champaign with the kidnapping of visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang from the University of Illinois’s Urbana campus.

Zhang has not been seen since June 9, when a campus surveillance camera spotted her getting into Christensen’s vehicle. Authorities assume she is dead.

Christensen was arrested June 30, and has been held since then in connection with Zhang’s disappearance.

Due to the grand jury’s indictment, a hearing for Christensen set for Friday in Urbana has been canceled.

The Governor failed to get a lot of what he wanted in the recent legislative session.   Now, there's fallout in the top ranks of Bruce Rauner's administration.  

A credit ratings agency has removed Illinois from a credit watch since legislators approved a budget and ended a more than two-year impasse. 

Investigators say surveillance cameras at the University of Illinois helped find a suspect in the disappearance of a Chinese scholar. 

The state of Illinois has officially given human resources departments the information they need to start deducting more from workers' paychecks.

The Illinois attorney general has issued guidance for law enforcement agencies in the state on a law to improve response to sexual assault and abuse. 

The budget approved by Illinois lawmakers provides Western Illinois University with funding for last fiscal year and the current fiscal year. Now university leaders will decide how to proceed.

The city-owned arena in downtown Bloomington has new managers and a new name. Does it deserve a new chance to win over its critics?

The fight isn't over for the East Moline School District after Illinois ended its two-year budget impasse last week. 

Nineteen aquariums across the U.S. are partnering in an effort to reduce plastic pollution in the Great Lakes, rivers and oceans.

A proposed football performance center at the University of Illinois is expected to cost about $79.2 million to build.

Southern Illinois University System President Randy Dunn has recommended that trustees appoint a University of Alberta nanotechnology scientist as chancellor of the Carbondale campus.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth said the Republican effort to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act could devastate drug treatment clinics by making deep cuts to Medicaid, the government-run insurance program for low-income Americans.

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