State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

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The Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter at Northwestern University has been suspended by its national headquarters following allegations of sexual assault at the local fraternity house.

ANN & ROBERT H. LURIE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL OF CHICAGO

Yvonne Hardcastle was at her wit’s end. Her son, Alfredo Mejia, was 7 years old. He was angry all the time and had been diagnosed with behavior problems and ADHD, but that didn’t feel right. She didn’t know what was wrong, but her mother’s intuition kept pushing her to find help for her boy.

 

CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago-based physician has been appointed to a national panel that makes evidence-based recommendations on preventive health care.

Chicago police are hoping surveillance footage will help them solve separate Saturday shootings that seriously wounded two girls, aged 11 and 12.   Kanari Gentry Bowers and Takiya Holmes were both shot in the head on Saturday evening.  Now, both girls are on life support.

 


Donald Trump’s presidency has Illinois lawmakers weighing an issue not usually given as much attention in the General Assembly: abortion.

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Northwestern University and the University of Chicago have joined other leading universities in siding with civil liberties lawyers in opposing President Donald Trump's travel ban. The schools contend the order blocking travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries threatens their abilities to educate future leaders from nearly every continent. 

Six schools in central Illinois are participating in a pilot project to train teachers, administrators and other adults to help students who are affected by trauma.  The program began through a Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration grant to train school district personnel and community members. 

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Chicago-area students with attention deficit disorder are getting special attention when they learn to drive.  A Chicago-based group called Behind the Wheel with ADHD is training driving instructors, including those at Lombard-based Top Driver School.

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Two Illinois lawmakers have proposed a plan to offer tax credits to biotechnology businesses in hopes of boosting agricultural jobs in central Illinois.  The legislation, introduced by Republican state Sen. Chapin Rose of Mahomet and Democratic state Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, would provide incentives to produce and sell new renewable products made from biomass and other renewable sources.

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A southwest Illinois school official says he plans to seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018. Robert Daiber is the Madison County regional superintendent of schools.  He says the state faces a real financial crisis, including the ongoing budget impasse, and the governor's chief responsibility is to submit a spending plan. He says his candidacy will focus on compromising collaboration.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Department of Homeland Security)

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago's immigration court is one of the nation's busiest with long wait times and increasing caseload.  

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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is scheduled to make his third annual budget presentation this Wednesday. It comes as the top leaders in state government have gone 19 months without even trying to balance the budget. Gabe Petek monitors state finances for S&P Global Ratings. He says he’s not aware of any other state having gone this long without a spending plan.

The Civic Federation of Chicago has laid out a map to lead Illinois out of the fiscal abyss.

The non-partisan government research organization says Illinois’ biggest problem is state government’s failure to pass a budget for going on two years.

Laurence Msall, executive director of the Civic Federation, says the state needs a combination of spending limits and higher taxes to begin slowly restoring its finances.

Rauner Brings in Mediator to Help Strike a Deal

Feb 10, 2017

Bruce Rauner says an undisclosed third party tried to help strike a budget deal between the Illinois governor and his main political rival - House Speaker Michael Madigan.  Governor Rauner was asked this morning whether he’s tried a mediator with Democratic House Speaker Madigan.  Rauner says he did bring in someone who...

Chicago's Civic Federation has laid out a map to lead Illinois out of the fiscal abyss.  The non-partisan government research organization says Illinois’ biggest problem is state government’s failure to pass a budget for going on two years.

Neal Anderson wants to get rid of FOID cards in Illinois. The state senator from Moline has introduced a bill to repeal the Firearm Owners Identification Act.  Approved in 1968, he says the law is now out-dated and redundant thanks to new technology and changes in the law.  The goal of the law was to identify people eligible to own firearms and ammunition. 

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Eighteen Illinois women's health organizations have sued Gov. Bruce Rauner over a law requiring pregnancy centers to tell patients about the benefits of abortion despite conscience-based objections.  The measure requiring the dispensing of abortion information changed a 1977 law allowing health care professionals to refuse services they consider morally objectionable.  The law took effect Jan. 1.

Prosecutors say they won't charge a Chicago police officer who fatally shot a college student and his neighbor while responding to a domestic disturbance.  The Cook County State's Attorney's Office says there's insufficient evidence to prove Officer Robert Rialmo didn't act in self-defense when he shot 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, who Rialmo said charged at him with a baseball bat, and 55-year-old Bettie Jones, whose shooting the department has called an accident.

State legislators are making another attempt at bringing automatic voter registration to Illinois.  Democrats filed bills in the state House and Senate that would automatically register state residents to vote when they visit certain state agencies, unless they decide to opt out. The agencies include the Secretary of State's offices, where residents apply for driver's licenses, and four others.

Four black people charged with a hate crime in an attack on a white mentally disabled man that was shown live on Facebook have pleaded not guilty.  The assistant public defenders for each of the four entered the pleas on Friday. They have been in custody since early January. 

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A ban on panhandling in downtown Springfield that was ruled unconstitutional for infringing on First Amendment rights could soon be off the city's rulebooks.  An ordinance proposed this week would repeal panhandling regulations, including the ban on verbal requests for an immediate donation, which was ruled unconstitutional by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2015.

Chris Kennedy announced on Wednesday he will run for Illinois governor in 2018 in what's shaping up to be a crowded race for Democrats vying to take on Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. 

Legislation to keep Illinois government functioning without a full budget stalled Thursday. Democrats and Republicans have dueling proposals to keep paychecks flowing to state employees.

The Democratic plan would pay state workers through the end of the budget year — June 30th.

The Republicans responded with a plan to pay state workers forever, even if Illinois never adopts a full budget.

Shortly after that, Gov. Bruce Rauner came out with a video saying how terrible it was that Democrats put an end date on their bill.

A  Senate Democrat wants public money to aid Illinois political candidates reliant on small contributions. Democratic Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston is aiming to blunt the influence of wealthy donors in races from governor to legislative seats.

Legislation to keep Illinois government functioning without a full budget stalled today in Springfield. Democrats and Republicans have dueling proposals to keep paychecks flowing to state employees.  The Democratic plan would pay state workers through the end of the budget year, June 30th.  The Republicans responded with a plan to pay state workers forever, even if Illinois never adopts a full budget.

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees is expected to take up a proposed 3.9% increase in-state undergraduate tuition rate for the Carbondale campus.  The recommendation would bring annual tuition costs for an undergraduate SIU Carbondale student to $9,450.

A group of agencies and businesses that provides services to state government has opened a second front in the legal fight to get Illinois to pay billions in back-due bills. The Pay Now Illinois coalition filed a lawsuit in St. Clair County demanding state officials pay bills dating to July. 

Illinois Democrats are calling on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to propose legislation based on an education funding reform plan that a commission he convened released last week.  But Rauner's education secretary Beth Purvis indicated proposals should come from legislators.

Democratic lawmakers from Chicago have proposed bills to make former President Barack Obama's birthday a state holiday.  The three bills would all make Obama's birthday, Aug. 4, an official holiday.  Two House bills, proposed by Democratic Reps. Andre Thapedi and Sonya Harper would make Aug. 4 a "legal holiday," in which state government offices shut down, and schools and businesses have the option of closing.

Politicians of all parties often sidestep awkward questions.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner followed that tradition during a stop at Heartland Community College in Normal on Wednesday.

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