State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

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While Illinois has mental health parity laws on the books, some say those in need are still being denied proper coverage. A new proposal would require the state’s Department of Insurance communicate policy coverage for those in need of mental health or addiction treatments.

Brianna Lantz is a spokes-person for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. She says she's concerned about a part of the bill that would remove prior authorization requirements for medication.

Every Sunday, a group of women meets in the basement of a church in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood to sort and package boxes of books. The boxes are sent to women in prisons in Illinois and beyond the state’s borders. In total, the group, Chicago Books to Women in Prison (BWP), has sent nearly 20,000 books to incarcerated women in the last five years, and tens of thousands since the organization was founded in 2002.


LGBTQ rights advocates have been pushing a measure they say would amend school code in a way that would be beneficial when it comes to noting the community's role in state and national history. Last week those representing groups like Equality Illinois urged lawmakers to pass the proposal, which has yet to reach a vote outside of committee.

An advertising group in Illinois is providing free advertising space statewide to help promote a new helpline for those struggling with opioids and other substance abuse.

The University of Illinois is hoping to strengthen its connections with Africa through new partnerships, research exchanges and student enrollment.

Starved Rock State Park is struggling to keep up with the more than 10 million visitors that have come to the Illinois park in the last four years.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear an appeal by imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of his corruption convictions, the second time in two years it has declined to take up his case.

The nation's highest court offered no explanation for its decision, letting stand the Chicago Democrat's convictions. They included seeking to trade an appointment to the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated to become president for campaign cash.

Blagojevich, 61, began serving his 14-year prison sentence in 2012. His scheduled release date is 2024.

Illinois lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation that would harshen penalties for texting and driving. The bill will allow law enforcement to issue a moving violation on a first offense. That  carries a fine of $75 for the first violation. Current law only allows a ticket to be issued on the second or subsequent stops.

Starting this week, the Quad Cities becomes the first area in Illinois to offer electric-powered buses through its public transit system.

Save a Star Drug Awareness Foundation / Facebook

The opioid epidemic continues to hurt communities across the state. But for Illinois’ youth, it’s not the illicit drugs, it’s the prescription pain pills that can too often be easily accessed from their home medicine cabinet. The Illinois State Police will now house receptacles for people to safely dispose of unused pills. That's something Lieutenant Matt Boerwinkle says is greatly needed.

 

steeleman204 / Flickr/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Groups are working to complete restoration of a century-old landmark known as the Black Hawk statue in northern Illinois. The 48-foot-tall, 270-ton statue in Lowden State Park has been covered in black protective sheets since a restoration effort that started five years ago came to a halt. A lack of state funding and a dispute on the restoration team stopped work.

 

萨德入韩有变? 美官员:若韩不愿部署可撤回 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says while President Trump made the right call to attack the Assad regime last Friday, he suggests the Commander-in-Chief use more precaution moving forward.

Trump last Wednesday tweeted about Russia with a heads-up on a possible U.S. missile attack on Syria. Durbin says the use of social media could have dire consequences.

 

With summer fast approaching, one Illinois lawmaker wants to let people break into cars to rescue animals trapped inside. But some argue that might do more harm than good.
 

Gov. Bruce Rauner made a rare request for a meeting with the four legislative leaders of the General Assembly — House and Senate, Democratic and Republican. In a show of how once-ordinary tasks can be touted as achievements in the current toxic political climate, Republicans left the meeting saying they were pleased Democrats agreed to appoint budget negotiators.

They also apparently agreed to set a "revenue estimate" — the amount of  money Illinois government expects to collect, and thus to spend, in the next budget year.

Illinois farmers are getting nervous that the long, cold and wet spring will delay the planting season.

Charges were dismissed this week for one of the defendants in the Coliseum fraud case, with a judge saying the indictments were too vague and did not fall within the statute of limitations.

Gary Lerude / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Thursday signed legislation that will bring so-called 5G wireless technology to the state. Some cities are worried about the unintended consequences. 

Wireless providers can now install small devices on utility poles. These will increase cell phone or internet signal, promising faster connections.

But opponents say cities will lose authority over how much they can charge private companies for using their public infrastructure. Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder says this opens the door for other proposals that overstep local authority.

Members of the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) Local 4100 will hold a strike authorization vote on the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses as contract talks with the administration drag on. The union represents faculty, advisors, admissions counselors, and other counselors, according to Chapter President Bill Thompson.

There was a rare meeting Thursday among Gov. Bruce Rauner and the top leaders of the Illinois General Assembly.

Passing a state budget is arguably the most important thing the Illinois General Assembly does every year — or at least should do every year.

After last year's drama — when a two-year standoff ended with a Republican revolt against Governor Bruce Rauner — it's an open question about how things will go this year.

So I set out to answer a simple question: Will there be another impasse?

The Illinois Senate is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to reject a presidential call to send National Guard troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexican border.

Illinois prisons officials have told state lawmakers that they need an extra $420 million to get through the rest of the budget year.

A proposal has failed that would have reallocated state funding from Southern Illinois University's Carbondale campus to the Edwardsville campus to reflect enrollment changes.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner agrees that Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens should resign.

The $15 million renovation of the Illinois Executive Mansion is continuing as its July reopening approaches.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he's traveling to Germany and Poland next week to try to draw more companies to Illinois.

The state of Illinois is asking the federal government to help residents in three counties who are recovering from flooding during February.

The annual statewide Holocaust Remembrance service was held  in Springfield on Thursday. Each year, the scores of Jews and political targets killed by the Nazis are remembered in a service called Yom HaShoah.
 

Solidarity and somberness echoed through the Old State Capitol hall, where those gathered recalled the six million Jews and millions of others killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. 

Illinois’ bicentennial commission finds ways to commemorate the state’s 200th with little time and limited budget.

Illinois will celebrate its 200th birthday with statewide events, building projects, specialty Pepsi cans, stamps, rosé, apparel and even an officials brew, "1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale."

IDOC Funding Shortage Reaches Critical Level

Apr 12, 2018
WBEZ / Flickr / CC by-nc 2.0

The Illinois Department of Corrections says a major cash crunch has it struggling to keep its facilities running. The warning came Wednesday at a Senate budget hearing. But some Democratic lawmakers say that was the first time they were hearing the situation was so dire. Illinois Public Radio's Mary Hansen explains.

Story Source: NPR Illinois

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