State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

Allen McGregor, /

CHICAGO - An appeals court will hear arguments on a Trump administration request to reverse a lower-court ruling temporarily freezing its policy of withholding public-safety grants from sanctuary cities that don't fully enforce immigration laws.

Both of Illinois’ U-S Senators are asking Governor Bruce Rauner to show them his plan to address the series of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at a state-run veterans’ home.

regan76 / (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

Many so-called Dreamers have spent most of their lives in the U.S.. They’ve grown up, attended school, held jobs, and some have started families of their own. They’ve also lived in constant fear of deportation until former President Barack Obama implemented the DACA program in 2012.


Now, those fears have returned with President Donald Trump threatening to end DACA unless Congress comes up with a bill to replace it and address immigration reform.


Rep. Shimkus Talks Budget as Possible Shutdown Looms

Jan 19, 2018
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

Without a new spending bill the federal government will partially shut down at midnight tonight. The House yesterday passed a stopgap to keep the government funded until February 16th, but it doesn’t look like that bill has enough votes to pass the Senate.

Republican John Shimkus represents Illinois’ 15th Congressional District, which is made up of all or parts of 33 counties in central and southern Illinois. He spoke with Illinois Public Media's Niala Boodhoo , host of the daily talk show The 21st before yesterday’s House vote.

New data from the University of Illinois' expanded background-checks policy show that the school withdrew 35 job offers across three campuses last year.

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will air campaign ads featuring 11 minutes of conversations between a top Democratic rival and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich captured on FBI wiretaps.

Lawsuit: State Withheld Medical Services to Children

Jan 18, 2018

A lawsuit against Illinois’ Department of Healthcare and Family Services claims the state illegally withholds medically necessary services from children with severe mental health disorders. The case was settled in federal court this week.

The flu season in Illinois is especially rough this year. And physicians think they know why.

The flu struck early and hard this year. Brian Curtis is the Director of Physician Practice at OSF Medical Group in Peoria, and he says the flu peaked right around Christmas, instead of the usual peak time in late January.

CURTIS: “It was kind of an inopportune time with the holidays and gatherings that people have which gave a prime opportunity to share it.”

University of Illinois trustees have voted to freeze the school's base tuition for incoming, in-state freshmen for a fourth consecutive year.
University President Timothy Killeen made the recommendation to the board of trustees in an effort to stop an exodus of Illinois high school graduates to colleges in other states. The board voted Thursday, approving the freeze for the university system's three campuses.

Hospitals in Illinois are warning of dire federal funding cuts without quick action from the state legislature.

Time is running out for the “hospital assessment program,” which provides money to treat low-income patients on Medicaid.

Danny Chun is spokesman for the Illinois Hospital Association.

"This is a 3 and a half billion dollar program. The state can’t do without 3 and a half billion dollars in Medicaid funding."

Doug Bowman / / Flickr

The public will not get to see certain documents and testimony obtained in an Illinois lawsuit related to the hush-money deal involving former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Jim Meadows / Jeanne Ives / Brian Mackey


The November election race for Illinois governor cost $28 million just for the last three months of 2017. Campaign finance disclosure reports filed this week show that $9 of every $10 was spent by two candidates - Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker.

Illinois lawmakers are warning the state is at risk of losing millions of dollars meant to bring fast internet to remote schools.

The federal government will help pay for fiber optic cables — if Illinois comes up with 16 million dollars in matching funds.

State Senator Sam McCann, a Republican from Plainview, is among lawmakers asking Governor Bruce Rauner to include the funds in next year’s budget.

Illinois public health officials are reporting a second case of measles in a person who was at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday said this case is unrelated to a case reported last week at the airport. The department says there isn't a measles outbreak at O'Hare.

The Illinois State Board of Education today voted unanimously to ask the general assembly to double state funding for public schools.

Last summer, the legislature voted to change the way Illinois funds schools by adopting what's called an evidence-based model. That model weighs what each district needs against its local resources. As it turns out, some districts can't achieve even 50 percent of adequate funding, while others can get close to tripling what they need.

Neeta Lind / Flickr /

A judge has ordered the state of Illinois to expand the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use to include intractable pain.

 The order issued Tuesday by Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Mitchell seeks to overturn a decision by the Illinois Department of Public Health rejecting pain that's resistant to treatment as a qualifier for medical marijuana use. 

JanetandPhil / Flickr /

After fumbling the answer to a question about whether a former Ku Klux Klan leader is a racist, the campaign of Republican Bruce Rauner clarified the governor's opinion of David Duke.

Recently Retired US Judge Dies At 93

Jan 17, 2018
Vimeo /

CHICAGO - One of the nation's longest-serving federal judges has died just three days after relinquishing the last case on his docket.


A statement Tuesday from U.S. District Court in Chicago where he served for nearly 40 years said 93-year-old Milton Shadur died Monday.


Shadur announced only last summer he was retiring. His daughter, Beth Shadur says he spent months wrapping up lingering cases. She says he reluctantly gave up his last case Friday.


A solar power developer has filed applications for what would be the first three solar farms in McLean County.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation to change the climate for women in Illinois prisons.

Attorneys for a man accused of killing a University of Illinois scholar from China are asking a judge to dismiss a main charge against him and change the location of his trial.

Illinois will postpone submitting fresh voter data to a controversial multi-state voter registration database because the Kansas-based program hasn't offered an updated security plan. 

The ground may be frozen in parts of Illinois, but it’s not too early to start thinking about this year's garden.

National Seed Swap Day is held the last Saturday of January.

These gatherings are a way for new and veteran green thumbs to expand their collections by sharing a variety of open-pollinated seeds. Pam Stock, with the Boone County Conservation District, is also an avid seed saver.

Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

Drivers in Illinois might soon have their auto insurance electronically verified in an effort to make sure every vehicle on the road is covered. But that requires a database the state doesn’t have yet. Jaclyn Driscoll reports:

Illinois Govs Race Takes Up Legionnaires' Issue

Jan 16, 2018
Illinois General Assembly

Governor Bruce Rauner’s Republican primary opponent is criticizing his handling of a series of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at a state-run veterans’ home.

Rauner lived in the Quincy facility for nearly a week - and he defends his administration’s handling of the outbreaks even though he’s now considering replacing the plumbing.

Thirteen people there have died from the water-borne bacteria.

The Knox College Democrats student group is encouraging residents of western Illinois to use an online portal to submit questions which will be considered for a gubernatorial candidates’ forum on Tuesday night at Knox College in Galesburg.

Few candidates for public office have been more personally affected by gun violence than Chris Kennedy.

Four central Illinois communities will share more than $400,000 in federal housing money to help families with job-training, education and more. 

State health officials are advising anyone who was at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport last Wednesday and hasn't been vaccinated for measles to get tested for the highly contagious disease.

Prosecutors in a northern Illinois county are increasingly taking their battle against illegal drugs and the national opioid epidemic to the people who've supplied them to overdose victims.