State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is downplaying defeats in the just-ended legislative session where lawmakers voted to nix most of the Rauner vetoes they attempted to override.

Illinois will honor 200 veterans who've gone "above and beyond the call of duty" as part of the state's bicentennial celebration.

Attorneys for a Mexican immigrant suing a sheriff's office over alleged violations of Illinois' new immigration law are withdrawing a county lawsuit and pursing it in federal court. 

Illinois’ Democratic senators on Thursday blasted dueling Republican tax reform bills, saying tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy come at the expense of middle-class taxpayers.

During the more than two years that Illinois went without a state spending plan, hospitals, dentists and other health care providers waited months or even years to get paid for services to state employees and Medicaid patients.

Legislature Approves Teaching Cursive Writing In Schools

Nov 9, 2017

Penmanship disappeared from the curriculum in many schools because teachers are devoting more time to preparing students for standardized tests. A new state law approved Wednesday will bring it back to ensure elementary students get instruction in cursive writing.

State Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, filed the measure the same day lawmakers approved his resolution on zombie apocalypse preparedness. At the time, Welch wasn't sure anybody would care about cursive.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza says state government has begun paying off a significant chunk of overdue bills.

Illinois owes vendors more than $16.7 billion dollars as a result of significant growth during the two-year budget standoff. Mendoza said $4.5 billion in payments – more than a quarter of the total -- went out Wednesday night. 

“Two billion of that will be spent on group health insurance payments," she said. "These are folks like dentists, who have been waiting often more than two years to get paid for services already rendered."

Let's say you've got a student loan and you get laid off your job. Your loan servicer suggests something called "forebearance" — the chance to delay payments for a year or two. Sounds tempting, but it ends up costing you more money.

That's one of the many tricky facts loan servicers will have to disclose in Illinois, where lawmakers yesterday approved stringent regulations on student loan service companies.

Illinois state Treasurer Michael Frerichs has won approval of a law making it easier for survivors of deceased family members to claim life insurance benefits. 

Defense attorneys for a man accused of killing a University of Illinois scholar from China say they need more time to prepare their case.

The Illinois Senate has endorsed monthly reporting of incoming bills despite a veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Deere Returns to Cuba

Nov 8, 2017

John Deere "green" could soon start making an appearance in farm fields in Cuba. Last week, the company announced an agreement to sell tractors to the Cuban government. 

The Illinois General Assembly has enacted a new set of protections for people with student loan debt.

Gov. Bruce Rauner had vetoed the bill because, he said, it would encroach on the federal government’s responsibilities. But 32 Republicans in the House joined Democrats in voting Tuesday to override the governor's veto.

Bill sponsor Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, says the bill deserved bipartisan support.

Wikimedia Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - Former President Barack Obama is expected to appear for jury duty in downtown Chicago.

Whiskey Acres Distilling Co. / Facebook

There’s another  whiskey crop is coming in from the fields. In the past several years, micro-distilleries have appeared across the country as consumers seek out ‘craft made’ products. Just over an hour west of Chicago in DeKalb, Whiskey Acres combines farming and distilling and takes the idea of a ‘Craft Distillery’ to the next level. Illinois Public Radios's Brian O’Keefe has the story. 

            

Gov. Bruce Rauner is declaring victory after the House failed to override a key veto. The bill was a priority of organized labor.

With the final week of veto session underway, the Illinois General Assembly took action meant to address sexual harassment at the state Capitol. 

The Illinois attorney general has announced a settlement by the state and more than 20 other states in a lawsuit accusing a Rockford-based veterans nonprofit of scamming donations.

Democratic Governor Hopefuls Back More Help For Higher Education

Nov 7, 2017

Four of the seven Democrats running for governor took part in the gubernatorial candidate forum Monday night at the University of Illinois Gregory Hall auditorium. Three of the four said the answer to rising college tuition is to make state college and university tuition free.

An Illinois man is to be sentenced early next year after pleading guilty to making online threats against President Donald Trump.

A 55-year-old judge in southern Illinois is accused in charging documents of grabbing a client's genitals when he was a lawyer and offering to reduce the man's legal bill in exchange for sex.

U of I Lends Helping Hand in Opioid Epidemic

Nov 7, 2017

Opioid addiction is a growing problem in Illinois. And people have the chance to learn more during a free webinar on Thursday.

The House has unanimously adopted plans to explicitly bar sexual harassment in the state ethics code and require annual awareness training for all employees. 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield on Tuesday for the final days of its fall session after spending last week wrestling a sexual-harassment quandary. 

Illini Democrats / Facebook

A member of the Illini Democrats opened the candidates forum Monday night, with a line sure to please the party faithful: “Thank you all for coming out tonight, the date that marks one year out from the day that we take the state back from Bruce Rauner.”

 

The crowd at the U of I’s Gregory Hall auditorium erupted into cheers and applause. Whichever candidates those in attendance supported, they all hoped their choice would defeat Governor Rauner next November.  

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether women who are pregnant and in jail should have to give birth behind bars.

Illinois State Police officials have launched statewide training for officers in dealing with Alzheimer's disease patients who wander away and need to be found.

DuPage County

A 43-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of a suburban Chicago woman more than 20 years ago.

The Republican leader of the Illinois House wants to establish a hotline for helping victims of sexual harassment.

Maryland's attorney general opposes the proposed merger between Sinclair Broadcasting Group and rival TV station operator Tribune Media.

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