State News

State News
7:22 am
Wed May 29, 2013

State budget passes out of the House

The bulk of a new state budget passed out of the Illinois House Tuesday, and now heads to the Senate.  It's far less harsh than lawmakers had been predicting at the start of the legislative session.  IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports.

When he presented his budget back in March, Governor Pat Quinn referred to it as his most difficult.He warned that pension costs were eating up money for other causes. But higher-than-expected revenues came into state coffers last month, freeing up enough money to the point that Democratic Rep. Greg Harris says while many human service programs will be cut, it's only by one-percent.  Others won't be at all.

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State News
7:13 am
Wed May 29, 2013

U of I grad makes it easier to follow state capitol bills

More than six thousand bills are before the Illinois General Assembly this spring session. Legislators have until Friday to get through them. And with some of the biggest policy issues facing the state still outstanding, measures will move, change and die rapidly. Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky spoke with a recent University of Illinois Urbana Champaign graduate who has founded a company that aims to make it easier to follow what's happening at the capitol.  

                                                                                

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State News
7:06 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Debate on use of drones in non-combat situations

Drones have been a controversial military weapon in the last decade, and just last week President Obama set tighter standards and oversight over their use. As debate over military drones continues, there’s another debate going on about the use of drones in non-combat situations within the U.S. Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Powers reports from Urbana.

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State News
1:34 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Il Senate approves Medicaid measure

A measure that would implement a key part of “Obamacare” in Illinois is on its way to the governor’s desk, after it was approved by the Senate Tuesday.

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Government
1:30 am
Wed May 29, 2013

IL House approves cellphone driving ban

A mix of tourists and lobbyists milled about the rotunda of the Illinois Statehouse on Tuesday.
Credit (Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio)

It's now up to Governor Pat Quinn whether "hang up and drive" will become law in Illinois. The House gave final approval Tuesday to a measure that would make it illegal to talk on a hand-held phone while driving. Representative John D'Amico, a Democrat from Chicago, says talking on the phone while driving has been linked to traffic accidents.

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Government
5:02 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

IL House pushes for its pension overhaul

Reps. Darlene Senger (left) and Elaine Nekritz discuss pensions in a Statehouse conference room.
Credit (Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio)

Members of the Illinois House continued pushing for their version of a pension overhaul Tuesday. The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate remain deadlocked over the best approach to fixing Illinois $100 billion pension problem. The latest twist could affect how public school teachers' pensions are funded. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more.
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State News
7:58 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Il House approves Medicaid expansion

Low-income adults who do not have children would for the first time be eligible for state-backed health care coverage under a measure approved Monday in the Illinois House. The Medicaid expansion is a signature plank of the federal Affordable Care Act.

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State News
7:55 am
Tue May 28, 2013

With Days To Go, Crunch Time In Springfield

While many people across Illinois had Monday off from work for Memorial Day, the members of the Illinois General Assembly were meeting in Springfield. Just four days remain until lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the summer. 

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State News
7:43 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Il has option of spending more money than realized

The state of Illinois' budget has been under pressure for years, forcing lawmakers to make difficult decisions to cut spending. But as IPR’S Brian Mackey reports, they learned about an entirely different kind of problem on Monday.

Even people who closely follow state government can lose track of all the billions and millions that get tossed around during budget-making season. But lawmakers were paying attention when financial experts reported Illinois would have the option of spending $200 million more dollars than they previously realized. It's because of the "April surprise."

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State News
7:22 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Sen. Durbin says vets should receive disability payments sooner

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says the way American veterans receive disability claims has “got to change.”His comments come as the federal Department of Veterans Affairs is working on a new digital, paper-less way of handling the claims. The V.A. is working to get that done by September.

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