State News

State News
7:10 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Advocates for disabled fight special education rule

Teacher Carrie Howell with student George Farnsworth

The State of Illinois caps the number of high needs learners who share the attention of a single special education teacher.

For the past decade, there has also been a limit on how many children with disabilities can be placed in what are known as “general education” public school classrooms. But those rules could soon be repealed.

As Illinois Public Radio’s Peter Gray reports, the mother of a young man with autism has joined advocates for the disabled who say the proposed change has to do more with cost-savings than with properly educating kids.

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State News
4:33 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

IL Senate approves Medical Marijuana

The Illinois Senate approved legislation FRIDAY that would legalize the medical use of marijuana. Brian Mackey has more.

In the end, the vote was not that close -- 35 senators voted yes, 21 no.
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State News
4:20 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Concealed-carry snags in IL Senate

  The sponsor of a concealed-carry plan in the Illinois Senate says he's not giving up, despite the fact that his legislation was not called for a vote FRIDAY.

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State News
7:22 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Senate committee approves concealed-carry legislation

An Illinois Senate committee has approved legislation that would pave the way for concealed-carry of firearms in Illinois. But gun-rights advocates say it's too restrictive, and the measure faces an uphill climb. IPR’S Brian Mackey has more:

State Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Democrat from Chicago, was trying to negotiate a compromise with gun-rights supporters. But ultimately he went his own way. 

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State News
7:13 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Universities agree to pick up cost of employee retirement benefits

Glenn Poshard (L), Robert Easter (center)

Illinois universities and community colleges have signed on to a deal that would have them pick up the cost of their employees' retirement benefits.  It's part of lawmakers' ongoing efforts to reduce how much the state is spending on pensions. IPR’S Amanda Vinicky reports.

Illinois has cut its spending on universities for years, and even more reductions are expected next year. School administrators say it's forced them to hike tuition, and to leave positions unfilled. And yet they've agreed to a plan that could collectively cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.

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State News
7:05 am
Fri May 17, 2013

ISBE Chairman says there's still time to fight against cuts to education funding

The chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education says the next two weeks represent a “critical period” for public schools. Two weeks is the amount of time lawmakers have to finish a state budget before they’re scheduled to leave the capitol for the summer. Chairman Gery Chico says while he isn’t sure cuts can be avoided, there’s still time to make a case against them.

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State News
6:58 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Actor asks for lawmakers to expand film production tax credit

Actor Billy Zane was in the Illinois Capitol Thursday, asking lawmakers to expand the state's film production tax credit. Zane, a Chicago native, has had more than a hundred movie and T.V. roles including a lead part in 1997's "Titanic."

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State News
6:54 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Chicago officials looking to boost tourism

Chicago officials want to boost the city’s tourism and convention business. They’re rolling out a sweeping plan that calls for a new sports arena and an overhaul for Navy Pier. IPR’S Alex Keefe reports.

The proposal calls for nearly 170-million dollars’ worth of changes to Navy Pier including a bigger children’s museum and a makeover to make the Pier feel a bit less like a carnival.

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State News
7:37 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Sandack removes name from consideration to become next Il GOP Chairman

A Republican Illinois lawmaker who supports gay marriage is taking his name out of the running to be the next state GOP chairman. IPR’S Alex Keefe reports.

State Representative Ron Sandack  was one of nine candidates looking to replace the party’s former chairman. Pat Brady resigned last week following a controversy stemming from his public support of gay marriage.

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State News
7:23 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Tempers flare in Illinois House

Just over two weeks remain before the Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn for the summer, on May 31st. They still have a lot to deal with in that time like pensions, concealed carry, same-sex marriage, and next year's budget. But as IPR’S Brian Mackey reports, an incident in the Illinois House Wednesday shows tempers are already starting to flare.

The trouble began with a simple piece of legislation to ban lion meat -- yes, the slaughter and sale of lion meat. As it dawned on the sponsor that his legislation was heading for defeat, he withdrew it.

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