State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

There are 9,469 students enrolled at Western Illinois University this spring semester. It's the first time this century Western's student body has dropped below 10,000.

Former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson has been transferred out of the Illinois prison system and is now in a federal prison in Indiana.  Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said Peterson had been transferred but declined to say why or where, citing security.  The federal Bureau of Prisons says Peterson is in the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

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Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs don't always see eye to eye.  But they can agree the rivalry is one of the best in sports. Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Crawford tells us it will be on display in Springfield.

The Cubs versus Cardinals Rivalry exhibit will start March 24 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.  It will run throughout the year.

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School personnel across Illinois are adapting to a new state law that requires districts to have an emergency protocol to deal with asthma emergencies.  Under the new law anyone who works with students must be trained to handle asthma emergencies. 

A group of Illinois legislators are pushing an agenda intended to help farmers who sell at local markets.

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Several hundred people have gathered near Trump Tower in Chicago to protest President Donald Trump.  Today's rally is one of several occurring across the U.S. dubbed "Not My President's Day."  Protesters are speaking out against White House policies on issues ranging from immigration to the environment and health care.

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The issue of how long injured pro athletes should be allowed to earn worker compensation benefits is being debated in Springfield.  The Chicago Bears are leading other Chicago sports franchises in backing a measure that would reduce a former player's ability to tap into workers compensation after a career-ending injury. 

Police say they seized nearly 130 explosives from a home in Normal Illinois.  McLean County Assistant State's Attorney Emily Young says police found 128 explosives devices each containing about a half-ounce of dynamite or explosive powder in the home of 32-year-old Gilbert Wilson.

Several months after first being mentioned as a possible candidate for governor of Illinois, Cheri Bustos has decided against it. Monday the congresswoman from East Moline and the 17th District said she will run for re-election next year instead.

More than 100,000 Illinois drivers were convicted for illegally using their cell phones. That’s since the law went into effect in 2014.

The law says drivers can use their cell phones only with the help of a hands-free device. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office says fewer than one percent of those convictions were from repeat offenders.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Work has started to remove asbestos from the long-abandoned former Pillsbury Mills plant in Springfield.

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MARION, Ill. (AP) - Williamson County officials are monitoring the use of a synthetic opioid they say was recently introduced in the area and poses a major threat of overdose.

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The Illinois House is set to return to Springfield this week. Policymakers are still puzzling through last week's budget proposal by Governor Bruce Rauner. That’s partly because the Rauner administration made a significant break with tradition.

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Municipalities nationwide including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Skokie, Illinois, are urging a federal judge to continue blocking President Donald Trump's travel ban.  New York City's chief lawyer Zachary Carter filed papers in federal court in Brooklyn on behalf of nearly three dozen cities. 

Illinois' 11 Democratic congressmen have signed a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner demanding that he restore funding to domestic violence shelters.  Rep. Cheri Bustos initiated the letter.  Domestic-violence program funding was omitted from a temporary budget last summer. The Department of Human Services waited nearly six months to alert providers. 

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Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Jane Lynch has received an honorary doctoral degree from her alma mater Illinois State University. Lynch is a native of the Chicago suburb of Dolton and a 1982 graduate of Illinois State's theatre program. 

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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says the lawmakers will consider a plan to sell the Thompson Center government office building in downtown Chicago.  Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has been interested in selling the large, glass-paned office building since he took office two years ago. The governor even mentioned the idea during his annual budget address.  Rauner has estimated the state could net $200 million selling the building.

This year at the Grammys - Chicago native Chance The Rapper took home multiple awards, including one for Best New Artist. But another Chicago based group took home its first win, though the category it took the Grammy for goes a little more under the radar.

Earnings fell but sales and revenue rose for Deere and Company during its first quarter. 

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CHICAGO (AP) - Family members of Navy pilot Edward "Butch" O'Hare are gathering at his namesake Chicago airport to mark the 75th anniversary of his heroic World War II mission.

Eric Zarnikow is in charge of Illinois’ program to help low-income students pay college tuition, known as MAP grants. He cheered yesterday when Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed increasing MAP funding by 10 percent, saying it could accommodate 12,000 more students, or increase the size of the grants.

But one thing the proposal does not do is pay for MAP students in school today.

 

Illinois' attorney general says she will appeal a judge ruling denying her request to stop paying state workers unless lawmakers resolve an ongoing budget impasse.  Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the Illinois Constitution requires an enacted appropriation for state spending.

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The Chicago Board of Ethics has voted to fine a former aide to President Barack Obama $90,000 for illegally lobbying Chicago's mayor on behalf of Uber.  The board found David Plouffe violated city ethics rules when he failed to register as a lobbyist after contacting Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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Hundreds of people in Chicago are rallying at a demonstration to mark "A Day Without Immigrants."  Similar demonstrations are planned nationwide. Numerous businesses in immigrant-heavy industries, like restaurants, are closing in solidarity.

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An Illinois House committee has cleared a proposal that would require public universities to admit first-time freshman applicants who finish with a GPA in the top 10% of their high school's graduating class.  The House Higher Education Committee passed the bill despite opposition from the University of Illinois and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Deere and Company releases its financial results for the first quarter of its fiscal year tomorrow. Recent analysts estimates place Deere first quarter results at 51 to 58 cents per share. That remains well below Deere’s 80 cents per share earnings at the same time last year.

A St. Clair County judge has denied Attorney General Lisa Madigan's motion to halt state employee pay in the absence of a complete state budget. Illinois has gone nearly 20 months without the governor and General Assembly coming together to create a full, balanced spending plan. It means state employees will continue to be paid as legislators and the governor continue their fight over how to pay for Illinois government.

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As part of his budget address, Governor Bruce Rauner called for a 10% funding increase to MAP Grants yesterday.  

SIU President Randy Dunn says Governor Rauner's Budget Address gives him hope that a compromise may be on the horizon when it comes to a state spending plan.

Former Lake County Coroner Indicted

Feb 15, 2017
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  WAUKEGAN, Ill. - Former Lake County coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd has been indicted on five counts of perjury alleging he lied on nominating petitions when seeking re-election in 2016.

The felony indictments were delivered Wednesday by a grand jury. A judge later issued an arrest warrant for the 70-year-old Lake Forest resident.

State's Attorney Mike Nerheim says an issue with Rudd's petitions was brought to his attention, and he turned it over to an independent prosecutor to investigate.

Rudd couldn't be reached for comment.

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