State News

State news stories and features from Illinois Public Radio.

A major credit-rating agency has put Illinois under review for a rating downgrade even if lawmakers override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a long-elusive budget deal.

Two key Republicans in the Illinois House say they will continue supporting an income-tax increase over their governor's veto.

Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights and Rep. Steven Andersson of Geneva were among 15 Republicans who bucked Gov. Bruce Rauner and helped provide a veto-proof majority for an income-tax increase of 1.2 cents per dollar. The hike is intended to help Illinois dig out of the nation's longest budget crisis since at least the Great Depression.

More than a dozen school superintendents gathered in the statehouse today to thank lawmakers who went out on a limb to raise taxes and send more money to schools.

That gratitude was also their way of nudging lawmakers not to change their votes Thursday, when the House of Representatives will try to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget veto.

Jeff Craig, superintendent of Aurora West schools, admonished lawmakers with something a teacher might tell students about their classroom or playground.

An Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman says the board will decide next month whether to provide some information about voters to President Donald Trump's voting commission. 

A southwest Illinois county is suing pharmaceutical companies, alleging the prescription painkiller epidemic is worse due to deceptive marketing.

Two commissioners have proposed creating an identification card for anyone living in Cook County, including those in the U.S. illegally.

Christian crisis pregnancy centers in some Chicago suburbs are challenging a change in an Illinois' law that now requires medical professionals to notify pregnant patients of all their available options, including abortion.

A day after Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois vetoed the state’s first budget plan in two years, the Democrats who control the legislature are plotting when they'll try to override him.

Eva K / Wikimedia Commons

Despite Illinois’ problems, economic growth continues at a slow but steady pace.

Brian Mackey (File Photo) / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner has vetoed Illinois’ first complete budget legislation in more than two years. The Illinois Senate already voted to override him. Now the question is when the Illinois House will try to do the same thing. Bond rating agencies have warned of “junk” status if Illinois doesn’t act soon, but state Representative Lou Lang says he believes the rating agencies will see Illinois is moving in the right direction.

The budget plan includes spending cuts, changes to the state pension systems, and a tax increase. Sixteen Republicans broke with Rauner to get it passed.

The Illinois Senate has voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes of a $36 billion budget plan and $5 billion income tax increase. 

An Illinois zoo is heading a program that breeds snow leopards as part of the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan, which was created after the leopard population began declining in the 1970s.

The University of Illinois will hold a conference focusing on the problem of hunger in college students.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed a $36 billion budget plan that includes a $5 billion income tax increase. 

 

Republican State Rep. Chad Hays, of Catlin, says he will not seek reelection for a fifth term in the Illinois House.

Two bond rating agencies say Illinois is on the right path with the budget plan passed Sunday in the state House of Representatives.

Illinois Senate to Vote on Budget Plan

Jul 4, 2017
Daniel Schwen / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The Illinois Senate is expected to vote on a full budget today. That’s after the House passed a spending plan and a tax increase over the weekend to try and end the two-year long impasse.

In the House, 15 Republicans went against Governor Bruce Rauner and voted yes. It’s not a given that the Senate has the votes to pass it. Senate Democrats already passed a budget that included more spending than the plan they’re set to consider today.

The Illinois Senate is expected to vote on a full budget today.

That’s after the House passed a spending plan and a tax increase over the weekend to try and end the two-year long impasse.

In the House, 15 Republicans went against Gov. Bruce Rauner and voted yes.

But it’s not a given that the Senate has the votes to pass it.

Senate Democrats already passed a budget. It included more spending than the plan they’re set to consider today.

Senate Republicans opposed that budget - and the question now is whether they’ll oppose this one too.

Two Positive Credit-Ratings Notices For Illinois

Jul 3, 2017

Two of three major bond-rating firms have chimed in with a positive note on the financial outlook for Illinois.

S&P Global Ratings issued a notice Monday that a House vote to raise $5 billion through an income-tax increase "represents a meaningful step toward the enactment of a comprehensive budget."

Illinois has been without a budget for two years. It has a $6.2 billion deficit and backlogged bills total $14.7 billion. The major credit agencies had warned of a downgrade to "junk" status without swift action.

Officials in La Salle say the community's 1928 fire truck will be moving into a new home this year. 

Decatur officials spent most of a $2 million grant for an affordable housing project, but the houses sat empty for months.

The man accused of kidnapping Yingying Zhang was ordered held without bond Monday on charges that he kidnapped a visiting Chinese scholar June 9 in Champaign.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric Long also scheduled Champaign resident Brendt Christensen, 28, to return to court Wednesday afternoon for a detention hearing.

Brendt was arrested Friday, three weeks after 26-year-old Zhang went missing. Although Zhang has not been found, the FBI says that “facts uncovered during the investigation” lead them to believe that she is dead.

Illinois lawmakers are back to work after a dramatic vote in the House to increase income taxes.

Attention turns Monday to the Senate, where lawmakers will consider the budget measures approved by the House a day earlier.

The Illinois House of Representatives approved an increase in the state income tax Sunday that will bring the personal tax rate to 4.95 percent. Corporations would pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent.

U of I Kidnapping Suspect to Appear in Federal Court

Jul 3, 2017
U of I Police / Facebook

The man accused of kidnapping Yingying Zhang is scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court this morning.

The Illinois House has approved a 1.2 percentage-point increase in the state income tax.

Last night, more than a dozen Republicans joined the majority Democrats to pass the legislation, despite the objections of Governor Bruce Rauner.

Ameren Illinois says because of a new state law its customers are saving on their electric bill.

The Future Energy Jobs Act went into effect on June 1st and is expected to reduce Ameren Illinois residential customers' future bills by an average of $1.69 per month over 10 years.

The FBI says it has arrested a Champaign man in the disappearance of a visiting University of Illinois scholar. It also says it believes the Chinese scholar, 26-year-old Yingying Zhang, is dead.

The FBI it arrested 27-year-old Brendt Christensen on Friday.

The criminal complaint provided by the FBI says Christensen is charged with kidnapping. He will make his first appearance in federal court on Monday.

The FBI did not say why it believes Zhang is dead, only that information discovered during the search led agents to that conclusion.

Illinois is beginning a third straight year without a real budget. Legislators say they're close to a deal and continue to negotiate — but is that for real or just for show?

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont announced she's resigning effective Saturday. She instigated the effort at bipartisan compromise that became known as the "grand bargain." Republicans have already selected Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, to succeed her.

The budget measure, Senate Bill 6, voted on in the Illinois House Friday, while not yet the final word, outlines funding for all aspects of state government operations, goods, services, grants, projects and more.

Friends are remembering an Illinois State Police trooper who died in a vehicle crash as a hard worker and good-hearted man.

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