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Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation to overhaul a Chicago public employee pension program.  He says it creates a fiscal cliff that will boost taxes beginning in 2023. 

Illinois lawmakers are working on legislation intended to help youth programs struggling under the state budget impasse.  Youth services do things like help kids avoid time in jail; one helps school kids after a classmate is murdered. 

Yet another plan to address the state’s lopsided school funding structure has been filed. This measure would freeze funding at current levels for all districts including Chicago Public Schools.  When new revenue becomes available, it would be handed out based on each district’s demographics and needs, giving more to districts struggling financially. 

Lawmakers Relieved to Know They Will Get Paychecks

Mar 24, 2017

Some Illinois lawmakers who had their paychecks delayed by 9 months are expressing relief they’ll finally get their salaries.  There was a popular slogan during last year’s campaign for Comptroller.  No budget, no pay.

Flickr Creative Commons/Ren Rebadomia

A Chicago father and his twin sons have been sentenced for running a sex trafficking business with underage girls.  Nathan Nicholson is sentenced to 16 and a half years in prison, and his sons, Tyrelle and Myrelle Lockett, are sentenced to 17 and a half years in prison each. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Eric Allix Rogers

A smartphone manufacture wants to make the phones at the Motorola campus in the Harvard plant that's been vacant for more than a decade. Motorola built the $100 million campus in 1997, but shut down operations five years later.

The governor's office says about 1.4 million Illinois job seekers are affected after one of the state's employment security agency vendors was hacked.  Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's office says the Illinois Department of Employment Security notified the Illinois General Assembly about the hack. 

A study of the Chicago Police Department's stop-and-frisk procedures reveals a dramatic decrease in the number of stops.  The drop is since the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois found officers were targeting blacks and other racial minorities in hundreds of thousands of the stops.

This week, we're talking with Andrew Driscoll from the Peoria Cabaret Theatre, about "The Irish... And How They Got That Way." Written by Frank McCourt, the show celebrates the history of Irish immigrants to America. Driscoll talks about the show itself, and how it lends itself to a cabaret style presentation in his particular venue. He also talks about how it fits in among the other events presented in the Broadway Lounge, and an upcoming performance which spotlights the music of Peoria-born songwriter Richard A. Whiting.

LeBlanc Construction Photos 2012 / Wikimedia Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state's unemployment rate fell below six percent in February. 

Legalizing recreational marijuana could be one way Illinois tries to chip away at its deficit.  The idea is being floated around Springfield.  Democratic State Representative Kelly Cassidy and Senator Heather Steans are pushing to legalize recreational marijuana.

A hospital system's study of Chicago neighborhoods finds wide health disparities, including with post-traumatic stress disorder.  The Sinai Urban Health Institute released a survey drawing upon responses from roughly 2,000 residents in nine Chicago neighborhoods.  

Flickr Creative Commons/frankieleon

A Cook County judge ruled Illinois’ comptroller cannot delay paying the salaries of state lawmakers during the budget impasse.  

A grand jury added 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm to the first-degree murder charges against a white Chicago police officer accused in the fatal shooting of a black 17-year-old.  Former Officer Jason Van Dyke shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Mark Goebel

State officials are offering training to people who want to volunteer at the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site. The site is looking for people who want to participate in living history, serve as tour guides, work in the visitor center or gift shop, and contribute behind the scenes. 

Advocates to Undocumented Immigrants: 'Know Your Rights'

Mar 23, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

President Donald Trump’s order to deport immigrants living in the US illegally left many undocumented people and their families feeling unsettled.

TonyTheTiger / Wikimedia Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - Newly released Census Bureau estimates show the Chicago-area's population has declined two years in a row.

Illinois State Geological Survey

The Illinois State Geological Survey is using airborne electronic technology to map the coastal sands in Lake Michigan. A helicopter started making low altitude passes from the Wisconsin state line to the Illinois-Indiana border with a six-sided antenna hanging below it. Illinois Public Radio’s Brian O’Keefe spoke with ISGS researcher Ethan Theuerkauf. He says the goal is to create a very detailed 3D image of the lake bed.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to replace guards in prison watchtowers with security cameras. It's an effort to cut down on overtime costs for the cash-strapped state.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson says officials expect to save $4 million annually. She says no security officers will be laid off.

Rauner spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis says savings will come from reduced overtime and "more efficient management."

The nursing home industry is fighting legislation that would require them to have higher staffing levels — and greater penalties if they don’t meet them.

Illinois’ long-term care ombudsman tracks complaints and looks out for residents of nursing homes. But the ombudsman has her own complaint. She says state agencies that regulate nursing homes are ignoring her.

New legislation would deal with two problems she keeps hearing about: low staffing levels, and discharging residents to hospitals. That second practice, known as “dumping,” also blocks patients from coming back.

Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs says he’s frustrated with the Trump Administration’s lack of transparency on medical marijuana.

Frerichs says he’s written the president twice since US Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the drug ‘dangerous’… but didn’t further explain if he was referring to medicinal, or recreational use. He says he’s still waiting for a response … and that’s hurting financial institutions, which federal law currently bans from processing money used in the medical cannabis industry:

Michael Rivera / Flickr/Creative Commons

A US District judge has ordered the former owner of four Peoria-area gas stations to pay $1.5 million and serve 21 months in prison.

AP Photo / Richard Sitler

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois native who flew planes in Southeast Asia more than 75 years ago has been buried alongside his parents in Carbondale.

The Department of Justice has taken the rare step of trying to strip a convicted terrorist of U.S. citizenship in what some critics say could mark a new, tougher line under President Donald Trump.  

Chicago Police are searching for five or six men or boys suspected of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl on Facebook Live.  Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says detectives found the girl and reunited her with her family. She went missing on Sunday. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has unveiled a broad-based cybersecurity plan. He says cybersecurity is one of the most pressing issues facing the nation and Illinois. The plan outlines goals to protect state information systems. 

Two state workers who joined Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's lawsuit arguing labor unions shouldn't be allowed to collect fees from non-members say they're appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling that allowed unions to collect the "fair share" fees from workers covered by collective bargaining agreements. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration says it plans to lay off state prison nurses to streamline medical services and coordinate them with the current health care vendor.  Rauner's office informed the Illinois Nurses Association that in June it will lay off 124 nurses at 12 prisons. Their jobs would be privatized. 

Federal prosecutors are asking that a woman who stole nearly $1 million from Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History should spend four years in prison.  Caryn Benson pleaded guilty to embezzlement in January 2016 for stealing money prosecutors say she used to buy expensive clothing, watches, handbags and luxury cars.

Blogtrepreneur / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has unveiled a broad-based cybersecurity plan that would cost $1 billion to implement.

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